Adrienne Martini Reviews Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch

Lies Sleeping, Ben Aaronovitch (DAW 978-0-7564-1513-6, $26.00, 304 pp, hc) November 2018.

Ben Aaronovitch’s Lies Sleeping is not the book to start with if you’re looking to get up to speed on his Rivers of London oeuvre. In Lies Sleep­ing, the media is way beyond res and there is too much to catch up on, which Aaronovitch’s main character Peter Grant acknowledges near this book’s start.

[FSW] stands for Fellow of the Society of the Wise, otherwise known as The Folly – the of­ficial home of British wizardry since 1775. And if this is coming as a shock you might want to consider doing some background reading before you continue.

Detective Constable Grant, Nightingale, and the rest of the Folly’s crew identified the main antagonist, The Faceless Man, in 2017’s The Hanging Tree. While that was a huge step towards the good when it comes to protecting London from malevolent magic, they have no idea where he is or what he is planning. The rest of the Force – at least the rest of the Force that is aware of magic – is lending aid to Grant and Guleed as they poke the demimonde in the hopes of getting an action­able response.

As with the previous titles, what makes the series work so well is Aaronovitch’s voice. From the chapter titles – “I am Curious (Batman)” is my favorite – to Grant’s sardonic narration, the story capers along amusingly. Aaronovitch’s clear love of the city’s history gives even the scene-setting bits their own life. Plus, Grant continues to grow, as does the passel of people around him. The Folly-adjacent crew keeps getting bigger in interesting ways, and it feels like Aaronovitch is scaling up to something big and series ending. But not too soon, please, because getting there is so delightful.

Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.

This review and more like it in the December 2018 issue of Locus.

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