Broken Homes (Peter Grant Series #4)

Broken Homes (Peter Grant Series #4)

4.2 7
by Ben Aaronovitch, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
     
 

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My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable

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Overview

My name is Peter Grant, and I am a keeper of the secret flame — whatever that is.

Truth be told, there's a lot I still don't know. My superior Nightingale, previously the last of England's wizardly governmental force, is trying to teach me proper schooling for a magician's apprentice. But even he doesn't have all the answers. Mostly I'm just a constable sworn to enforce the Queen’s Peace, with the occasional help from some unusual friends and a well-placed fire blast. With the new year, I have three main objectives, a) pass the detective exam so I can officially become a DC, b) work out what the hell my relationship with Lesley Mai, an old friend from the force and now fellow apprentice, is supposed to be, and most importantly, c) get through the year without destroying a major landmark.

Two out of three isn’t bad, right?

A mutilated body in Crawley means another murderer is on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, who may either be a common serial killer or an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man — a man whose previous encounters I've barely survived. I've also got a case about a town planner going under a tube train and another about a stolen grimoire.

But then I get word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. If there's a connection to the Crawley case, I'll be entering some tricky waters of juristiction with the local river spirits. We have a prickly history, to say the least.

Just the typical day for a magician constable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's witty, fun, and full of vivid characters, and the plot twists will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing." —Publishers Weekly

"The most satisfying fantasy thriller to hit bookshelves in quite some time." —SFX Magazine

“The perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter.” —io9

"The most entertaining book that I have read in such a long time.... It's very funny, it's very clever, it's very nicely written.... It's such a treat." —Nancy Pearl

"Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.” —SF Revu
"The prose is witty, the plot clever, and the characters incredibly likeable." —Time Out
"This book is, at its heart, a police procedural with an overlay of urban fantasy elements. The voice is persuasive and funny as all get-out, and the reader is engaged with the narrative from the very first page. Aaronovitch has written a diverse cast of characters who all feel like real people with their own specific motivations. This book is simply wonderful." —Romantic Times (top pick)

"This fast, engrossing novel is enjoyable, cheerful, and accessible to new readers." —Publisher's Weekly (for Whispers Under Ground)

 

Library Journal - Audio
05/15/2014
The rogue magician known as the Faceless Man reappears as the antagonist in Aaronovitch's latest book (after Whispers Under Ground) featuring police constable and apprentice magician Peter Grant. The Folly, London's paranormal investigation unit, has assigned Grant to find the person responsible for a couple of bizarre murders and a missing grimoire. Assisted by a colleague and another magician in training and aided by his mentor, DCI Nightingale, Grant explores the magical side of London's housing developments, which hold dangerous surprises. Fortunately, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith continues as narrator. He does a first-rate job reading Peter and the other characters with believable accents that convey class nuances. VERDICT Highly recommended for listeners who enjoy quirky fantasy characters along the lines of Harry Dresden and Felix Castor. ["This fourth volume meanders a bit, and one could wish for a little more character growth from the wisecracking Peter, but once the action picks up, it races to an exciting finish," read the review of the DAW hc, LJ 2/15/14.]—Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
Publishers Weekly
02/10/2014
With irreverent humor and a fast-paced plot, Aaronovitch cheekily marries the ancient Arts with the Internet age in the fourth installment (after 2012's Whispers Underground) of an excellent series featuring modern-day Constable Peter Grant on the trail of a new magical mystery. Two grisly murders, an apparent suicide, a stolen book from the Bodleian Library's secret collection, and a militant Russian Night Witch lead Peter inexplicably to Skygarden, a threatened housing project built by an eccentric 1970s architect. He and Lesley, his partner-in-solving-crime, must go undercover to discover what exactly is happening at Skygarden, and what—if anything—it has to do with the twisted, dangerous and ever-elusive Faceless Man. The case comes to an explosive conclusion just as Peter pieces it together; but as with the previous books, though he solves the mystery he does not necessarily win in the end. Leaving the reader with more questions than answers, every plot revelation brings with it the realization that the reader has only begun to scratch the surface of backstory in this deeply-layered, richly imagined London. Smart and gritty, twisted and whimsical, Aaronovitch has proved yet again that secrets are his specialty. Agent: John Parker, Zeno Agency. (Feb.)
Library Journal
02/15/2014
Peter Grant is still learning the ropes as both a police constable and as an apprentice to England's last official practicing wizard, DCI Thomas Nightingale. Their department, the Folly, catches all the cases in London that have a whiff of the supernatural about them, and one recent case seems to point Peter and Nightingale to the trail of the rogue magician they have been chasing, known only as the Faceless Man. VERDICT The minutia of police work combines with a unique take on a secretly magical London for one of the more original urban fantasy series around. This fourth volume (after 2013's Whispers Underground) meanders a bit, and one could wish for a little more character growth from the wisecracking Peter, but once the action picks up, it races to an exciting finish.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-15
Another entry in the Rivers of London urban fantasy series (Whispers Under Ground, 2012, etc.). In a city with a thriving supernatural community, including river gods, dryads and fairies, narrator and PC Peter Grant works for the London Metropolitan Police. He's also an apprentice wizard and he, along with PC Lesley May and DCI Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, comprises the Folly, the Met's supernatural department--they're known as Isaacs after their founder, Sir Isaac Newton. The case begins with a murder in Sussex that may have magical associations, followed by a suicide that may have been magically coerced. And when a valuable stolen book of magic is recovered, the thief turns up burned to a crisp--from the inside. The book, it seems, was owned by expatriate German architect Erik Stromberg, whose masterpiece, an eccentric tower block called the Skygarden Estate, in Elephant and Castle, clearly is magically inspired--but is the development itself some sort of magical artifact? Are these seemingly unassociated elements related to the Faceless Man, a powerful rogue wizard with whom the Folly has crossed swords in the past? To find out what's really going on in Skygarden, Peter and Lesley must go undercover. All this is even more shapeless than the summary indicates--a phenomenon mystery fans will be familiar with--and it's only in the last 50 pages or so that the plot coheres and the title's significance becomes apparent. Still, you've got to like a book where the city itself is the main character--literally. And there are plenty of surprises for alert readers. Worth a try for series fans, although, since Aaronovitch provides no catch-up help, newcomers are best advised to begin at the beginning.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756409920
Publisher:
DAW
Publication date:
02/04/2014
Series:
Peter Grant Series, #4
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Charlaine Harris
A low-income housing tower gone awry, an old enemy with a bone to pick . . . and a shocker of an ending – Broken Homes is a delight.
From the Publisher
"It's witty, fun, and full of vivid characters, and the plot twists will keep even seasoned mystery fans guessing." —Publishers Weekly

"The most satisfying fantasy thriller to hit bookshelves in quite some time." —SFX Magazine

“The perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter.” —io9

"The most entertaining book that I have read in such a long time.... It's very funny, it's very clever, it's very nicely written.... It's such a treat." —Nancy Pearl

"Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.” —SF Revu

"The prose is witty, the plot clever, and the characters incredibly likeable." —Time Out

"This book is, at its heart, a police procedural with an overlay of urban fantasy elements. The voice is persuasive and funny as all get-out, and the reader is engaged with the narrative from the very first page. Aaronovitch has written a diverse cast of characters who all feel like real people with their own specific motivations. This book is simply wonderful." —Romantic Times (top pick)

"This fast, engrossing novel is enjoyable, cheerful, and accessible to new readers." —Publisher's Weekly (for Whispers Under Ground)

 

RT Book Reviews
Aaronovitch has a very witty, casual voice, with a tendency toward sarcasm and humor, which is threaded throughout Broken Homes. And a few crazy plot twists will devastate and delight fans in equal measure.

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