I was really impressed with Ben Aaronovitch's first book, Rivers of London, but not so much by the second offering, Moon Over Soho. However, I was prepared to forgive a 'sophmore slump' and hoped that Whispers Under Ground would be a return to form.
It's December, and Peter Gant is investigating the death of a young American artist who was found at Baker Street tube station. With Inspector Nightingale busy, the case leads Peter to into the hidden depths of the London Underground, with an FBI agent hot on his heels.
As always, Aaronovitch's knowledge of London is impressive, as is the way he weaves said knowledge into the story seamlessly. However, I didn't feel that much happened or engaged with Peter's investigation until the last hundred pages. In some instances it felt that Aaronovitch was shunning the magic aspect of the series for a more conventional set up. I had been told by another reader that more was revealed about the faceless man, but this was not the case. Or at least not in a substantial way that would make me eager for the next instalment. Perhaps when Aaronovitch has a plan for the series and knows where it will end the stories will improve and he will exploit their full potential. Nonetheless, Whispers Under Ground is a very well written, witty and informative piece of fiction and well worth a read.