Wednesday, April 24, 2013

London Falling by Paul Cornell

London police officers Kevin Sefton, Tony Costain, and DI James Quill are running out of time. Operation Goodfellow, set to take down the king of London himself, mob boss Rob Toshak, has failed to turn up evidence and the big bosses are only willing to allow one last shot. Sefton and Costain have been working undercover within Toshak's organization and even they have nothing they can use. It all comes to a head on New Year's Eve when Toshak and his crew are arrested, but when Toshak dies under gruesome and mysterious circumstances - while in police custody and just moments after agreeing to confess - the team finds themselves with a new assignment. Convinced there's a mole within their station, Quill, Sefton, and Costain, along with analyst Lisa Ross, who has her own reasons for wanting to see Toshak go down, are given a new task: find the mole and solve Toshak's murder. What they find is beyond explanation. A witch - and serial killer - with the power to disguise herself as anyone and go anywhere she pleases, is their only suspect. And when all four are mysteriously gifted with the "sight" their job becomes that much weirder. 

This first in Cornell's new series is a bit hard to sum up in a coherent synopsis. There's a lot going on. Essentially, though, it's a paranormal mystery/horror set in London. It's also a wonderfully creative tale.

London Falling is a bit of a rough ride at the beginning, however. The reader is dropped into an already in progress story and bits of information are spread out as you go along. Toshak's crimes, Costain and Sefton's roles as undercovers, and the tension between Costain and Quill and Costain and Sefton are all clearly there but the background comes later.

Once the story gets rolling, though, it really is (and trust me, I'm not the only one saying it) impossible to put this book down. I stumbled through the first 150 pages in short spurts but beyond that it was essentially one sitting through to the end.

And the true revelations about the team and the sight become clear as you near the end of the story, setting us all up nicely for whatever will come in the next installment. I only wish I didn't have to wait! I would have liked to dive right into book two after the end of London Falling.

I find it interesting that a variation of this concept was initially meant to be a tv show. It would have been super cool to see, but Cornell's obviously able to do so much more with it in book form considering some of the limits involved in tv.

So there you have it, finally! I'd been anxiously awaiting the book and it definitely lived up to expectations. I can't wait to read more from Cornell! Check out last week's interview with the author and be sure to enter to win a copy of London Falling of your very own - you want it, you know you do!

Rating: 5/5

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