London Falling by Paul Cornell

2017 Limelight Reviews
Mystery and Crime

London Falling is the first book in a series, to date, of three (the other two being The Severed Streets and Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?).  I had never before read any of Paul Cornell’s works, and was enthralled from the first page.  The genre is Urban Fantasy, which is defined as fantasy set in an urban population, in this case present day London.  Cornell has written some of the scariest Doctor Who scripts in the past few years (The Family of Blood, the Weeping Angels) and his experience with inventing and writing engrossing, appallingly scary stories is genuine.

This new series is called The Shadow Police and centers around a team of three London policemen, and their female police analyst, a civilian with a terrifying family which she tries to keep hidden.  The first murder is graphic and messy, the succeeding murders likewise.  The thread that binds all of the victims is that they all scored hat tricks against the West Ham football team on West Ham’s home ground.  The novel is deeply riveting, pulling ancient history into the present day to help the police catch the killer.  Along the way, the team gain ‘The Sight’ which allows them to see the real ugliness of modern day London, yet remain entirely human.  The four characters are well rounded, with dark back stories that are utterly credible. The author’s website discloses that he originally created the story line for the basis of a new TV series, which was, alas, shelved, but one can clearly see and believe that the novel would easily translate to TV.

Seriously recommended for readers of fantasy/paranormal crime.

Find London Falling by Paul Cornell in the SMSA Library Catalogue


Belinda Coombs
Member of the SMSA Mystery & Crime Reading Group