In the first part of Broken Homes, various parts are starting to feel more like a whole. Naturally, I don’t expect it to last…
Spoilers for chapters 1 to 5.
A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil – an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common garden serial killer?
Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case, a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.
So far so London.
But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on an housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.
Is there a connection?
And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?
Something interesting happened with the opening chapters of this book, and I don’t mean with the plot. Well, not only with the plot. Aaronovitch comes at it in a roundabout way that reminds me of Sir Terry Pratchett’s style a little, and that’s absolutely a good thing! The book opens with the description of a crime scene, but it doesn’t seem to be connected to anything bigger or murkier, though it is certainly a curiosity. So while we get on to the apparent, actual mystery that leads us into the plot, I’m still thinking about that first scene and what it might mean later…
At the same time, the more I think about it the more I feel like there’s something less tangible at work here that’s also hooked my interest. With the general story up until now, I felt like there was some kind of an emotional disconnect between me as a reader and Peter Grant as a main character, and with the series plot in general. With the beginning of Broken Homes, though, I’m starting to feel much more settled, more invested in what’s going on, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. All of the same disparate elements are there, but I think it feels like it’s moving forward with more confidence in itself now. Maybe? Instead of the parts themselves being merely enjoyable, the whole feels more solid, more engaging now. I feel like I’m reading the kind of book that the previous ones were trying to be…?
I’m also feeling that sense of more confidence, more solidity, in the dynamics between Peter, Lesley and Nightingale, as a team and also as friends. It’s entirely possible that this is what the previous books needed, and didn’t have yet. But now we’re getting there, so maybe that’s the ticket to my full investment?
If so, I am definitely here for it, and since I’m still here for the story, it’s altogether encouraging. That said, I am also wondering when and how it’s all going to go horribly wrong…
I admit I also perked up a little in terms of my eagerness for this book when Somebody let slip that Beverley would be reappearing, and that a lot of the book would involve her. This is all I know at this point, but it’s definitely intriguing to think that we might be coming back around to at least one of the points the story started from, and I’d really like to see where Peter and Beverley might go from here, given all that’s transpired since the last time they saw each other – and the reason why they haven’t seen each other in a while…
But that’s for later. For now, we’re getting properly back into the Faceless Man mystery, and I am nervous about that. Ol’ Faceless is the series boogeyman, after all (at least thus far), and apparently the tactic of There’s So Much We Don’t Know is hard at work on my feelings. BE CAREFUL, PETER.
He won’t be, will he? He’s going to do something daft, isn’t he? He is, isn’t he? Argh.
So. I don’t know much of anything, but for once it’s not frustrating me! I want to see where this is going. I want to see Beverley again – and I definitely want to see her role treated with a bit more respect than I think it was, previously. I want more teamwork between Peter, Lesley and Nightingale. And I really want to know what the heck is up with Car Accident Guy from that opening scene.
Here we go. Finally.
EDIT: I have been informed that this book is not the Beverley book. I was thinking (wishfully?) of the next book.