Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot 

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Reason for Reading: Real-life Book Club

Peter Grant is a bumbling, easily distracted constable on the fast-track for a paper-pushing job. His luck unexpectedly turns when a ghost approaches him at a murder scene. Apparently Grant does have a talent – he can see dead people. Suddenly, he is adopted as the sole apprentice of Detective Chief Inspector Nightengale, who heads the supernatural division of the police. Grant is up to his ears in weirdness as he tries to solve the murder while learning the ropes in the unexpectedly supernatural world. I mostly enjoyed Midnight Riot for its interesting world-building and a lot of dry humor. The character of Grant was likable enough – even if he was bumbling – and I suspect I’d grow attached to him after a few books in the series. The plot tended to stray a bit more than I prefer, though. Nothing too bad, mind you, but there were a few moments where I wondered if we were still trying to catch the murderer or just enjoy the scenery. I prefer a little more focus. But these passages were never very long, and the book was, for the most part, quite enjoyable. I’m sure I’ll pick up the next in the series some day.

As for the narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith…I think his cadence, tone, and delivery was done perfectly for our character. He was so dead-pan with the dry humor that I sometimes only caught the humor by delayed reaction. Which made it funnier. 🙂 On the other hand, he was a rather loud (and wet) breather. I figured at first that this was put on for the character effect – but then I realized that such breathing would be difficult to fake unless he narrator was really congested. So…the loud breathing wasn’t enough to put me off, but it might be enough to put SOME people off. 

10 thoughts on “Midnight Riot, by Ben Aaronovitch

  1. This book sounds neat. There have been a lot of stories about psychic police, some even set world where psychic abilities are common and an entire police division is psychic. This idea seems a little different.

    Of course the ability to communicate with the dead might make a homicide detective's job too easy 🙂


  2. Yeah, there are a lot of books about psychic police, and to be honest I haven't read any of them! (At least, not that I can think of.) It's not that I'm not interested, but I've got so many series going on right now that I try to limit myself on new ones. So I can't really say whether it's unique or not, but it was unique to me. 🙂

    It WOULD have been easy if A)He could speak to the exact ghost he wanted, whenever he wanted AND/OR B) The murderer himself was not a supernatural creature. Unfortunately for him, he had limitations. 😉


  3. Sounds like Grant could be an endearing character if written write. Thanks for posting a review for ROtB! It makes sense about the dry humour if it was originally released in the UK – I love British authors!


  4. Hehe, I can completely imagine this book making an mildly entertaining TV show a decade ago 😉 I would be quite surprised if I was investigating a murder and found a ghost, but it sounds like the character handled it better than I would (read: run away screaming) 😉 It's too bad it wandered since it sounds like it would have been a solid book otherwise, gotta love the British humor!


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