Sometimes I forget to discuss things here after I’ve mentioned them on Twitter. Sorry about that. Here’s a good one: you might want to check out Ben Aaronovitch’s books, Midnight Riot (or Rivers of London if you’re in the UK) and Moon Over Soho. They’re excellent. The premise is kind of a Dresden Files / Harry Potter mashup, but the books have their own funky vibe. They’re set in London, and the mixed-race protagonist doesn’t know yet when Midnight Riot opens that magic exists. He’s a police officer angling for a promotion, but when he gets an eyewitness account of a crime from a ghost, he gets shuffled into the magical division of the Metropolitan Police… which consists of one guy, Thomas Nightingale. And he needs an apprentice.
Here’s an interview with the author:
Whereas Harry Dresden was a lone hero in the noir mould Peter Grant was going to be a policeman, part of a wider system, with rules and bureaucracies and procedures. This was going to be a Police procedural in the British mode.
That was going to be the other big difference – this was London, not Chicago, fewer guns more sarcasm and the stories were going to be spun out of the city’s long history.
The US editions, for a wonder, make no attempt to water down the London slang. I really appreciate that! Thanks, Del Rey.
I mentioned Peter’s race above for a reason. When I picked up the first book at the store, I looked at the cover and thought, “Huh. They went with a silhouette to skirt the race issue. Cowardly, but okay….”
But I hadn’t seen the original covers until yesterday, when someone sent me to this SF Review forum thread. They weren’t just cowards; they actually changed the artwork. Take a look:
As one person on LiveJournal said, “Blackwashing! That’s new.”
Dear readers of the world: go check out the books. They’re lots of fun. And then tell Del Rey how much you do not appreciate their assumption that you’re a racist prick who wouldn’t have picked up the books if they’d kept the original covers!
(Sorry that’s a Twitter link. The website doesn’t provide any other way to contact the publisher, which is a whole ‘nother level of fail.)