Reviews for London Falling

Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
Four London coppers form a special task force when the linchpin of their undercover operation--a preternaturally successful Mob boss--explodes in a shower of blood before betraying any useful information. The investigation into his death becomes a quagmire of occult crimes, especially once the team discovers an artifact that allows them to see more of London's dark side than they ever wanted. With their new Sight, they connect the murder to a powerful witch in the service of the "smiling man," who may be trying to bring hell to London. Cornell's noir-tinged London has a deep, devilish occult mythology, though the particulars of this case, involving Anne Boleyn, the history of the West Ham football team, and child sacrifice, can be difficult to follow. The narrative switches frequently among the four officers, and they occasionally become indistinguishable, but each has a compelling stake in the investigation. Although less funny, this "Old Bill versus Old Nick" story will appeal to readers of Ben Aaronovitch's paranormal police procedural series, Rivers of London. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
Oddball yarn that begins, adequately, as a police procedural and morphs, more or less successfully, into an urban fantasy thriller, from the author of DC and Marvel comics, Doctor Who novels and scripts, and other scripts for popular U.K. TV series. For years, detectives Tony Costain and Kev Sefton have been working undercover in London crime kingpin Rob Toshack's organization, though the inner workings of Toshack's remarkably successful operation elude them. Finally, the Met bosses decide to arrest the gangster despite the lack of hard evidence. As if forewarned, Toshack has Costain and Sefton drive him all over London, where he ransacks abandoned houses in a desperate search for--something. Still, DI James Quill nabs Toshack, who inexplicably, begins to confess--until he dies gruesomely while the astounded officers look helplessly on. The mystery only deepens when poison and other agents are ruled out. To continue the investigation, a new unit is formed, including Quill, Costain, Sefton and police intelligence analyst Lisa Ross. Things get even weirder when Toshack's secret protector turns out to be a mass child murderer, seemingly with occult powers--and a fanatical West Ham soccer supporter! Even worse, the four touch evidence imbued with their quarry's evil energies, only to discover that they can now detect the supernatural horrors that lurk inside London's darkest dreams--an ability they heartily wish they hadn't acquired. What with the flabby narrative, characters that develop so-o slo-owly, and a tone that vacillates between jocular horror and all-out macabre thrills, this unusual hybrid takes a while to heat up--but heat up it does. As soccer fans might say, Cornell's first touch lets him down, but as the game progresses, his play grows in confidence and stature. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 March #2

During their investigation of a crime lord's murder, London police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross interact with a magical artifact that gives them the Sight. Suddenly, they can see ghosts, monsters, and other evil forces inhabiting London's streets and causing many of the crimes they would normally ascribe to "natural" occurrences. Their current case leads the four officers down a strange path involving an ancient witch with a fondness for sacrificing children to gain power, a curse involving the rivals of the West Ham football team, and the famous story of Henry VIII's doomed second wife, Anne Boleyn. VERDICT The Hugo Award-nominated Cornell (Saucer Country; Demon Knights) has also written episodes of Dr. Who and Primeval. With his first foray into urban fantasy, he has created a group of four very different protagonists who must learn to play well with each other in order to survive London's supernatural shadow world. Despite a slow start, this blend of urban fantasy and crime fiction should find a group of welcoming readers.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #1

Cornell, a Hugo-nominated writer for Doctor Who and various comic books, embarks on a detailed police procedural-style exploration of the darkest parts of London's magical underbelly. This is not a lighthearted or playful romp through a sexy urban fantasy setting; instead it explores elements of real horror, such as kidnapping, rape, and gruesome murder. Though the story can get a bit bogged down by tedious descriptions of procedure or wordy ponderings on the nature of magic, the unusual plot--which follows officers using police techniques to learn, without a guide, about an entire world of magic, superstition, and darkness--will keep readers hooked. Stumbling in the dark is a slow process, but when the lights come on they reveal an interesting and very gritty new fantasy world with ample room for sequel stories. (Apr.)

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