At first glance Midnight Riot is a murder mystery or perhaps a police procedural, however by page five Nicholas Wallpenny (ghost) is introduced and shortly thereafter the police are seeking traces of magic. Our protagonist, probationary Constable Peter Grant, is unusual in the realm of supernatural mysteries; he’s working within the policing establishment. While many police departments in the genre may employ wizards, witches, and the like as consultants, in this first of the Rivers of London series a lone Detective Chief Inspector leads a specialist unit all his own. That is until he meets Constable Grant and sees in him the potential for an apprentice.
So why with so much to choose from in this genre should you give your time to this book (and series)? For starters, Peter Grant is a thoroughly likeable while imperfect character. Easily distracted he does not fit the criteria to become a detective as he desires, but his interest in everything around him is exactly what draws the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. Peter’s colleague Leslie May sums it up best saying that Peter doesn’t “see the world the way a copper needs to see the world – it’s like [he’s] seeing stuff that isn’t there.” It turns out that noticing the stuff that isn’t there is exactly what is needed in supernatural policing. Nightingale is fascinating in his own right and we are slowly given insight into his character over the course of the series. These two very different men each bring different skills to the table (only of the two really understands technology) to solve cases the Metropolitan Police couldn’t dream of solving on their own.
If you’re looking for an entertaining read over the holiday season with a good dose of humour I cannot recommend this highly enough.