Wednesday 14 December 2016

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree is the 6th in the 'Peter Grant' series and follows on from Foxglove Summer. Whilst very much in the same vein as the previous 5 books (crime is committed, turns out to be magic related, PG gets out of his depth but wins through) it shows no sign of becoming tired (or of winding down any time soon)

This time around a young woman dies from an overdose at a party in one of the wealthier areas of London, which just happened to be attended by the daughter of Lady Ty and said daughter is claiming she supplied the pills. Lady Ty (one of the many Gods and Goddesses of the London rivers) asks Grant to prove her daughter is lying and clear her name. Throw into the mix a magical work by Sir Isaac Newton, an appearance by shady American 'special ops' types and the return (as expected) of Grant's nemesis The Faceless Man and his ex colleague Lesley and you have what could, in other hands, be a very 'busy' book.

And that is the one thing that always surprises me with these books - the pace always feels steady, even with the action scenes (and there are a good few of these), never seeming to get above a gentle trot.

Where did The Hanging Tree succeed? - well, in bringing Peter Grant back to The Capitol after 'Foxglove Summer' had taken him out into the wilds of the British countryside there was more vibrancy to the story for me. I enjoy seeing more of the mystical side of London, the supernatural folk and the history too.

The story kept me guessing for a good while and the supernatural elements seemed plausible and the story itself moved Grant's development as a character along nicely.

Where did it not succeed? - for me The Faceless Man thing needs either tying up or putting on the backburner for a while. He is starting to get like The Master in 70s Doctor Who, where you know he is going to make an appearance whatever the story event is and will outwit our hero enough to be back again in the next episode. I'm always hoping for resolution with the Lesley angle as well - I still can't believe she has gone over to Team Faceless but again The Hanging Tree hasn't really resolved anything there.

So, I guess the question is, did I enjoy The Hanging Tree?

Easy answer that one - YES!

Would I recommend it to others?

Most certainly, but I would advise reading the series in order.

3.9/5 stars

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