The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant, #6)

By Ben Aaronovitch

Rating: 5 stars

Peter Grant is back in London and back on form. When Tyburn calls him up to call in a favour by keeping her daughter out of any fallout from a drug death, Peter is forced to encounter another alien species: the rich. Investigating the death, involving wealth, power and poor taste in furnishings Peter, along with his usual backup crew, and some new additions, expand the world of the river goddesses with flair, pizazz and the appropriate forms, to be filled out in triplicate.

I’d forgotten just how much I missed Peter’s narrative voice. He’s a brilliant narrator; the combination of sarcasm, intelligence and geekery makes him a joy to read. Much kudos to Aaronovitch for keeping that voice just right. After the slightly disappointing, rushed ending to [book: Foxglove Summer], I was glad to see better pacing here, with an ending that doesn’t make me feel cheated. Yes, the ongoing plot involving the Faceless Man is still ongoing; and yes we only get tantalising glimpses of wider British magic, involving Lady Helena, but the plot of this book is still tied up and the Faceless Man plot has moved on, with promises of more revelations to come. One of the few disappointments in the book, actually, is that now that the Faceless Man has been identified, he turns out to be just another common, or garden, kipper. Just an old racist in the Nigel Farage mould, dreaming of a time while Britannia ruled the waves.

I did find it difficult to keep track of the various rich teenagers and their Responsible Adults, although that might have been part of the point. Police work, as Peter keeps telling us, is mostly about banging on and on and getting right into the detail. Still, with the involvement of her daughter, we do get to see a different side to Lady Ty, and her last scene with Peter is actually quite touching, as she tries to do the Big Sister thing for Beverly.

The supporting cast are all present and correct, complete with extended cameo from Lesley May. Peter’s new partner, Sahra Guleed is an interesting character in her own right, and, unlike May, happily avoiding handling actual magic, although as the one who’s been involved more of the Weird Stuff than anyone else outside the Folly, she’s now the unofficial third in command and has had some nice character development of her own.

So Aaronovitch is back on form and this book was worth the wait. Still huge amounts of fun with brilliant characters, I’ve already ordered the next graphic novel to help tide me over until the next full novel.

Book details

ISBN: 9780575132559
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 2016

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