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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell (#2)

The Severed Streets (Shadow Police, #2)The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  Desperate to find a case to justify the team’s existence, with budget cuts and a police strike on the horizon, Quill thinks he’s struck gold when a cabinet minister is murdered by an assailant who wasn’t seen getting in or out of his limo. A second murder, that of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, presents a crime scene with a message… identical to that left by the original Jack the Ripper.

The new Ripper seems to have changed the MO of the old completely: he’s only killing rich white men. The inquiry into just what this supernatural menace is takes Quill and his team into the corridors of power at Whitehall, to meetings with MI5, or ‘the funny people’ as the Met call them, and into the London occult underworld. They go undercover to a pub with a regular evening that caters to that clientele, and to an auction of objects of power at the Tate Modern.

Meanwhile, the Ripper keeps on killing and finally the pattern of those killings gives Quill’s team clues towards who’s really doing this…

July's book group book.

London's special investigative team is back in action.  The city's emotions are running high as flash mobs don masks and take to the streets in protest of the current political situation.  Within these mobs and unlikely figure emerges - Jack the Ripper.  Only this time he's incorporeal and streaming silver goo.  With a viciousness that belies him being dead, he disembowels his victim's, then simply vanishes.   While Londoners are blaming the mobs, James Quill and his team know better, but they have no idea how to stop the Ripper from striking again.

Even a week after reading this book, I'm still struggling to formulate my thoughts into a review.  Did I like it?  Yes, I think.  Well, had some issues.  I'm not entirely certain, actually if I liked it. 

Okay, lets start with, I finished the book.  I did not find this an engrossing read in the sense that I couldn't put the book down.  I found myself reading a handful of pages a night, kinda suspecting where the plot might be going and wanting confirmation in the resolution.

The plot.  The plot came across as a lot of frenetic activity, with three of our four team members hiding hidden agendas from everyone else and trying to do research on the sly.  This had what I dubbed the classic "hamster wheel syndrome" (ie, running in circles) till big traumatic event kicked everyone off the wheel and they could solve the mystery.   Not my favorite plot devise. 

And, unfortunately, one of the more prominent team members turned into a disagreeable git.  I'm not going to say which one, because I don't want to overly influence your enjoyment of the book if you so choose to read it, but um, yeah.  Disagreeable to the point where it was affecting my enjoyment of the book and I just wanted to finish the story that confirmation of what I thought was going to happen.

Ultimately, an interesting premise in urban fantasy, but execution got hung up somewhere in character development and bogged down the whole plot.

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