I’m a big Ben Aaronovitch fan, not the least because he does things I can’t do, like work with actual locations and incredible detail and deep history. But mostly I like his characters, especially his protagonist, Peter Grant, who is almost a young Sam Vines without the alcohol problem. He’s easy-going but dedicated, loyal and brave, with a dry wit and a worldview that’s fun to follow. Another thing I like about Aaronovitch is that his books are actually better on rereading. There’s so much stuff in there that I miss some of it searching for story–the first person narrator loves his info dump–but the story is there and it’s always fascinating (okay, he lost me with the unicorn and the train into faerieland, but everything else is excellent). So when I saw he had something new out, The October Man, I bought it even though it wasn’t a Peter Grant, and instead of being London-based was set in Germany. It’s not one I’ll re-read, although I applaud him extending his world outside the UK, and it was fun to see Grant’s German counterpart talk about him and his boss, Nightingale, as distant competitors. The big problem is that the protagonist is bland. I just now finished the book and I can’t remember his name, although his partner’s name is Vanessa and the river goddess in this book is Kelly. I think the problem is that it feels like a shadow of the Peter Grant books: he’s Grant’s opposite number, the female cop he works with becomes a new apprentice at the end of the book, he has a contentious relationship with a river goddess that foreshadows a love affair, there’s even a baby river goddess as a counterpart to Nicky from the Grant books. It feels like Grant Lite. None of which means that I don’t already have the next Grant book on pre-order (out in November). Grant’s been kicked out of the Force and he’s about to become a father, and his ex-partner, now a rogue magician is on the loose and dangerous, and I can’t wait to read what happens next.
So what did you read that was good this week?