Rivers of London: Body Work

By Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Lee Sullivan & Luis Guerrero (Titan Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-78276-187-7

Ben Aaronovitch has been delighting fantasy fans for years, mostly through his television work on others people’s creations (Dr. Who: Remembrance of the Daleks and Battlefield, Jupiter Moon, Casualty and numerous licensed novels and audio-books), but really came into his own in 2011 when the Rivers of London (Midnight Riot in the USA) novel was released.

A supernatural police procedural saga with its sixth volume eagerly anticipated any moment now, it features the adventures of Peter Grant; the first Metropolitan Police officer in 70 years to transfer to the Special Assessment Unit, more commonly known as “Falcon” or the “weird shit” department. This well-known secret squad deals with all the magic and spooky stuff no sensible copper will admit occurs…

Grant’s boss there is the exceptionally dapper and imperturbable Inspector Nightingale who is far older than he looks and knows an awful lot about magic. As previously stated, Grant is his first Wizard’s Apprentice in decades…

The stories authentically resonate within the actual environs and legends of the big city, and amongst the pantheon of paranormal characters most prominent are the living spirits of the rivers which run through, beneath and between the boroughs of the macabre metropolis and the Thames Valley it lurks in…

This all-new yet canonical sequentially-illustrated tale sits between the fourth and fifth prose novels; written by Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel, with art by the splendid Lee Sullivan and colourist Luis Guerrero.

The eponymous ‘Body Work’ started life as a 4-part monthly miniseries in July 2015 and opens, as so many police stories do, with an attention-grabbing death. What looks like a simple drowning gets dead scary dead quick when Peter Grant ambles into the SOCO clean-up, his indefinable instincts calling him to a situation which, although still unclear, is clearly unnatural…

Soon he’s on the trail of a haunted car which should have been destroyed but has instead been broken up for parts, scattering a lethal compulsion amongst an assortment of owners all now unwitting receptacles for a pitiless centuries-old force craving death and somehow connected to water.

Before long Grant and Nightingale (with his inimitable hound familiar Toby) are tracking down leads and the eldritch elder soon uncovers links to his own greatest failure and dereliction of duty…

Fast paced, funny-&-thrilling by turn and packed with intriguing, individualistic supporting characters, Body Work is above all a solid mystery which both curious neophytes and dedicated devotees of the prose iteration will delight in solving along with our quirky cast.

Cheekily augmenting the main case are a series of blackly comedic and often surreal vignettes starring the supporting cast beginning with Tales from the Thames starring Beverley Brook in ‘Off their Trolley’ with the cheeky Naiad teaching some drunken upper-class sods a lesson about dumping trash, whilst sinister serving wench Molly stars in ‘Red Mist’ – a gory Tale from The Folly – followed by another seeing astounding canine wonder Toby triumphing over a zombie apocalypse on the ‘Night of the Living Dog’.

Aaronovitch, Cartmel, Alan Quah & Guerrero then offer a chilling and silent extended Halloween diversion in ‘Sleep No More’ and the extra duties close with a final brace of Tales from The Folly as Toby submits to his sodden fate in ‘Pursuit’ before Nightingale gets the gang together for a festive emergency in ‘Urgent Summons’.

Including a large covers and variants gallery and whimsical page of Creator Biographies, this is a splendid genre-blending yarn for lovers of cops-&-wizards fans who also love playing Dungeons and Dragnets.
Rivers of London ™ and © 2016 Ben Aaronovitch. All rights reserved.

Rivers of London: Body Work will be released on March 18th 2016