Monday 12 December 2016

POISON CITY by Paul Crilley

Rivers of London meets Zoo City in this breathtaking crime thriller, perfect for grown-up fans of Harry Potter.

The name's Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things - finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I'm going to do to the bastard when I catch him. 

 I have two friends. The first is my boss, Armitage, a fifty-something DCI from Yorkshire who looks more like someone's mother than a cop. Don't let that fool you. The second is the dog, my magical spirit guide. He talks, he watches TV all day, and he's a mean drunk. 

 Life is pretty routine - I solve crimes, I search for my daughter's killer. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the day I'm called out to the murder of a ramanga - a low-key vampire - basically, the tabloid journalist of the vampire world. It looks like an open and shut case. There's even CCTV footage of the killer. 

Except... the face on the CCTV footage? It's the face of the man who killed my daughter. I'm about to face a tough choice. Catch her killer or save the world? 

I can't do both. It's not looking good for the world.

As soon as I read the blurb for this book and saw the very cool cover, I was very interested in checking it out. It sounded just like my kind of urban fantasy book: a broken protagonist, a loudmouthed animal and total hijinks.

So I picked it up the other day and was instantly hooked.

Gideon Tau, though everyone calls him London, works for the Delphic Division. He investigates occult crime for the South African Police Service. He has a demonic animal guide who loves to drink almost as much as he does. He's also haunted by the kidnapping and death of his daughter several years ago.

When he gets stuck with the case of a murdered ramanga, a routine investigation turns into a nightmare of conspiracy cover-ups, violent vampires, vengeful angels and a lot of bad news. But all of this insanity might somehow be linked to what happened to his daughter, so he's determined to follow it through.

The further London investigates, the worse things get, the more the body count rises, the violence surges, and the number of enemies increases. If he holds on and follows the clues and trail of corruption, he and his boss might crack the case of a lifetime. If he survives that long...

Yikes! I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy books because they encompass all the darkest and best features of the horror, thriller, police procedural and occult genres. Then twists them into a messy bundle that never fails to capture my imagination. And when the world building is this good and well-thought out and presented, I was bound to love my stay. The location of South Africa is unique and totally becomes a character in itself.

The characterisation is also brilliant. A haunted cop who's damaged enough not to care about who he pisses off to get answers, is guaranteed to keep me glued to the page. Add a very cool demonic dog and a bunch of kick-ass women, and I'm totally there! Armitage is tough as nails and so interesting. Parker is clever and somewhat mysterious. Jaeger and Maddoc are both frightening and fresh.

Not to mention that because of all of my personal research and writing, the supernatural beings featured in this story are both very familiar and different. I really liked the author's own clever twists.

Poison City is a fast-paced, action-packed exciting, gritty supernatural ride through the full extent of human immorality. It introduces the reader to a very dark occult world. One where the creatures aren't necessarily the monsters, the depravity knows no bounds, and the surprises don't stop coming.

I enjoyed this SO MUCH, I can't wait to catch up with London and the dog again!

Poison City, August 2016, ISBN 9781473631595, Hodder & Stoughton

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