Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)

By Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 5 stars

Book four of Peter Grant’s ongoing adventures see him, fellow PC (and apprentice) Lesley May and their guv’nor Nightingale try and put together clues linking an apparent suicide of a town planner, the crowning glory of a somewhat mad German architect, a stolen grimoire and a rather grisly murder. Somewhere in there he has to provide protection for a spring celebration given by the God and Goddess of the Thames, try and figure out his feelings for Beverly Brook and continue his work in bringing science to the craft of magic.

Phew, that’s a lot to fit in to a book that’s just over 350 pages long, but it does it admirably. I don’t often sit and read books cover to cover in a single afternoon these days, but I did it for this one. The prose is light and easy to read, the characters likeable and PC Grant is still the everyman science geek who wants to know the ‘why’ of magic as much as the ‘how’. Throwing in pop culture references like hand grenades, making the book fizzle with energy.

It’s nice to see the gods and goddesses of the river make an appearance again in this book, although they’re mostly an extended cameo (although I suspect that the scenes with Beverly Brook are setting more up for the future). We learn a little more about the magical background of the world in this volume as well, including the fact that there are possibly equivalents to the Folly in other countries. The Faceless Man makes another appearance, retaining all his charm and menace. He remains a formidable opponent, one you you get the feeling may actually be a match for Nightingale.

The edition I read also had a short story set in the world of the Folly at the end called ‘The Cockpit’. This must take place sometime before the events of the main book and sees Peter and Lesley staking out a bookshop where weird things have been happening. Fairly slight but fun.

Roll on the next book!

Book details

Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2013

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