cover image Broken Homes

Broken Homes

Ben Aaronovitch. DAW, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0960-9

With irreverent humor and a fast-paced plot, Aaronovitch cheekily marries the ancient Arts with the Internet age in the fourth installment (after 2012's Whispers Underground) of an excellent series featuring modern-day Constable Peter Grant on the trail of a new magical mystery. Two grisly murders, an apparent suicide, a stolen book from the Bodleian Library's secret collection, and a militant Russian Night Witch lead Peter inexplicably to Skygarden, a threatened housing project built by an eccentric 1970s architect. He and Lesley, his partner-in-solving-crime, must go undercover to discover what exactly is happening at Skygarden, and what%E2%80%94if anything%E2%80%94it has to do with the twisted, dangerous and ever-elusive Faceless Man. The case comes to an explosive conclusion just as Peter pieces it together; but as with the previous books, though he solves the mystery he does not necessarily win in the end. Leaving the reader with more questions than answers, every plot revelation brings with it the realization that the reader has only begun to scratch the surface of backstory in this deeply-layered, richly imagined London. Smart and gritty, twisted and whimsical, Aaronovitch has proved yet again that secrets are his specialty. Agent: John Parker, Zeno Agency. (Feb.)