The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell

Severed StreetsMichael Spatley, MP, is being driven home before the protests on the streets of London boils over into something violent. His chauffeur takes a wrong turn, and the car finds itself gridlocked by protestors. Hoping that the mob doesn’t realise who he is, Spatley stays in his car until he can be rescued – until a shadowy figure pulls itself through the door of the car (without opening it) and brutally murders him…

Enter DI James Quill and his team of specialists – all cursed, since the previous book, London Falling, to see the other, hidden side of London. The side of darkness, memory and violence. But can they cope with the seeming re-appearance of Jack The Ripper himself?

I loved the first book of this series. It married the police procedural with the supernatural side extremely well and had a truly terrifying villain at its heart. So when I realised the third book, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, was coming soon, I realised that it was time to catch up.

I’m still a bit undecided on this one, though. I certainly enjoyed London Calling more – there’s a second plot here that doesn’t really tie in to the main story that is only partly resolved, and takes up a fair bit of page-count and I was never particularly convinced by the characters’ behaviour in it.

The main tale takes a while to come into focus – longer than in the first book – but it’s only then that the book begins to shine for me. The final section is well done, although the villain was pretty obvious, and some parts could have been explained a little more clearly for thickies like me. Other reviews have praised a “shocking” twist about 2/3 of the way through, but while it’s a surprise, yes, given the sub-plot, the resolution isn’t going to stun anyone.

Oh, and the use of Neil Gaiman as a character is just odd…

I’d definitely read London Calling first as there’s a fair bit of backstory to catch up on, and, if you enjoy that, then give this one a try. Worth A Look if this is your sort of thing, and I’ll be back with a review of Book Three before the end of the month.



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