Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant / Rivers of London #6)

Book Review

Review of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

I was so lucky to receive an advance copy of the latest Peter Grant novel, The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch.

Total jammy git, in fact.

I've only recently got into the Peter Grant series, having read The Rivers of London earlier this year. I loved it so much I quickly read the rest of the series and have been waiting impatiently on this one.

The Hanging Tree sees Peter Grant, copper and trainee wizard, back in London and still on the trail of the Faceless Man.

Here's the blurb:

Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of PC Peter Grant or the Folly, even when they happen at an exclusive party at one of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But Lady Ty's daughter was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favour.
Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the house and dangerous, arcane items are bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. But this is Peter Grant we're talking about.
He's been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week.

This is Peter Grant at his best. Now on the sixth novel and still not finished, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Rivers series might be getting a little tired, but it's not at all; in the latest book the story of the Faceless Man is developed, favourite characters pop up and Peter's love life seems as complex as ever.

As usual, I found the book to be an excellent blend of mystical, comedy and action; a sort of Lord of the Rings, meets the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, meets Die Hard.

I feel Aaronovitch may have overdone the Die Hardesque action scenes in The Hanging Tree though; does Peter need to get almost blown up so much? Then again, he has been buried underground, fallen from a high rise and driven an ambulance into the Thames, so Aaronovitch has to outdo himself. In The Hanging Tree Grant almost gets himself killed several more times and in increasingly dramatic and daft situations. I'll forgive Aaronovitch though as he's entirely aware of Peter's 'damsel in distress' syndrome.

"'Does this happen a lot?" asked Caroline.
'Nope," I said. 'Sometimes Beverly rescues me, sometimes Lady Ty, occasionally Molly - I think there's a rota.'"

Aaronovitch is also brilliant at keeping the pace going and engaging the reader's interest. He has a way of hinting at the action or tension to come, usually early in a chapter, so that you have to keep reading.

As usual, London is not just the setting but practically another character in the book (in fact, the rivers are characters). There are occasions when Aaronovitch seems to slip into history textbook mode but he usually rescues it with a Peter Grant quip.

London landmarks are included, Aaronovitch managed to get Harrods into this one, and as the title suggests, the Tyburn gallows play an important role in the lives of the living, the dead and the undecided in this novel.

Though this is the sixth book in the series, Aaronovitch has released a number of Peter Grant comics too. They're designed to fit between the books and, I don't think they interrupt the novels, but occasionally events are mentioned in The Hanging Tree that must have happened in the comics. I'll have to give them a try, maybe they'll stave off some Peter Grant craving until number seven comes out.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers of London #6

I received an advance copy of The Hanging Tree via NetGalley. My thanks to Ben Aaronovitch and Orion Publishing Group.

The Hanging Tree will be released on November 3rd 2016.

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  1. Great review! I am awaiting my review copy but it is awesome to know it is worth a read :)

    1. Thanks, it's great, I'd definitely recommend it.