The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) by Ben Aaronovitch

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The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London 6) by Ben Aaronovitch

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: London-based supernatural police officer Peter Grant returns for a 6th book without a glimmer of plot exhaustion. The breath-taking action and the dry humour definitely make this a must read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Gollancz
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0575132559

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When Lady Tyburn rescued Police Officer Peter Grant she put him in her debt. Now it's payback time as her daughter is implicated in a murder. Is this just another drug related killing? No, Peter is only involved in crime related to the supernatural side of life and since both Lady Ty and daughter are river goddesses, there's much to investigate.

Ben Aaronovitch has built a writing career on magic-infused Met policeman Peter Grant and people like me are incredibly glad he did.

If you're new to the world of Peter, Ben makes it easy for you to dip into the series at any stage and feel thoroughly at home in The Folly: his residence and centre of supernatural crime study for centuries. He lives there with is apprentice master Nightingale; a man older than he looks, having been around a century or two himself. The good news is that his power, assistance and a wonderfully dry wit season this episode too.

Back at Peter, we find him still living happily with water deity Beverley which causes complications over and above the usual relationship stuff. As well as the usual drawbacks of living with a water goddess (needing to live close to running water, never knowing if you're talking to yourself or if she is actually in the river you're conversing with, etc) there's an added complication this time. Those under investigation for the murder include members of her family… Awkward!

Ben's expertise in character development ensures we don't get bored. The characters aren't just multi-faceted, they all feel authentically linked to our world and experience despite the urban fantasy scenarios that give us a clue this won't happen down the road. A case in point is the wonderful Harrods fight scene.

Despite the types of weaponry and skills used, there's ripples of police procedure running through it providing logic and reality. Peter also has a strong vein of police humour that people drawn to people like real-world comedy stand-up/police officer Alfie Moore will recognise and warm to. (They're similar in style, not content, in case anyone misunderstands and thinks I'm suggesting that one or the other have been copying!)

As we'd expect there's much to entice fans as there is newbies. We meet the nastily urbane Reynard once again and learn more of his origins. Ben also treats us to more of the Faceless Man who has been lurking in the series for a while.

The Hanging Tree is definitely one of the best in the Grant/Aaronovitch pantheon. There again, so have most of the previous books in the series and the odds are the next one probably will be too.

(Thank you Gollancz for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If you're new to Peter Grant and are ready for more after this one, then Foxglove Summer or Broken Homes are just as highly recommended. If you're already a fan and would like a good drop of urban fantasy from someone else between books, try Moon Called (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs. You might also enjoy Strange Practice: A Dr Greta Helsing Novel by Vivian Shaw.

Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London Novels in Chronological Order

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