The Hanging Tree

(Rivers of London #6)

by Ben Aaronovitch

4.5 stars, actually.

Don’t read these books out of order. This is the 6th one, and you really really need to know the backhistory of the Mr. Punch, the Faceless Man, and Lesley May to appreciate everything. Also…why deprive yourself of the pleasure of seeing Peter Grant grow up as a policeman assigned to The Folly–London’s magic-wielding police department. This is one my all time favorite UF series and it doesn’t disappoint.

Peter Grant is one of those “invisible” POV’s, meaning he is mostly observing and telling you things about the history of his current location, does not wax on about emotions or dwell on things except in the context of conjectures about crimes and the main magical players at work (The embodiments of the Rivers of London, his governor/boss Nightingale, and the various magical-bad guys). However, despite this transparent, action-based POV we somehow get a clear sense of his emotional depth especially when it comes to danger around his ex-partner Lesley or his current paramour Bev. He’s just so…likeable.

But get your Brit-police-jargon dictionary out (I’m from the USA) because these books are full of almost-incomprehensible jargon at times. I have to reread sentences or be content with guessing form context, but its all good fun and the pace of the action and the investigations keep you moving along anyway.

In this one, Lady Tyburn’s daughter is involved in a death and Peter Grant is called into handle things with care. Other criminal activities are involved that lead Peter and Nightingale along the path towards stuff Lesley an the Faceless Man are involved with. We get several glimpses of Lesley, but part of the half star I took away is because…bad guys keep escaping. I would like to see Peter actually be able to arrest one and make it stick!

Still lots of fun. I just hope the author doesn’t keep stringing us along forever in terms of a reckoning for Peter and Lesley.