Figures. I mention, in my review of 'Midnight Riot', that I went straight from that book to the next...then I misplace the bloody thing for a few months. Way of the world, I suppose.
But I did find it, and I did finish it, and I have to tell you that it's also magnificent. It's the second in Ben Aaronovitch's series of police procedurals set in a London where magic is (dimly) understood and (barely) tolerated by the Met, and in which a young policeman named Peter Grant realizes that the same qualities that have hindered him so far in his fledgling career are actually assets in his role as supernatural detective and wizard's apprentice. This one focuses on two interlocking plots, one involving the wizarding world and the gradually-dawning realization that magic isn't quite as dead as Peter's mentor once assumed, and the other involving the deaths of several up-and-coming jazz musicians in a manner that involves black magic. The plots work as stories in their own right, which is nice, but they also help to establish tantalizing hints of a world and a backstory that can serve as a backdrop to countless other stories. Aaronovitch is building a series with legs, which is always nice.
If I had a complaint, it would be that the ending does leave some untidy loose ends in a way that 'Midnight Riot' didn't...without spoiling things too much, we get hints of a lurking storm on the horizon involving sinister and unethical wizards (beautifully, the mixed-race lead character strongly objects to "black magic" and prefers "ethically challenged magical practicioners".) This means some of the threads aren't wrapped up quite as tightly as they were in the first book. That said, this is a lot more forgivable now that the third book is out and I'm reading it.
But it's once again filled with awesome prose (my favorite bit has to be when Peter and Nightingale are discussing the relative power of magic vs. modern weapons, and Peter finds out that Nightingale's "tiger hunting" with fireballs refers not to the animal but the German tank) and crisp plotting and fun characters and yes, I know, I say this about Ben Aaronovitch all the time. But trust me, this one is great.