Probationary Constable Peter Grant wants to become a murder cop but seems far more likely to become a paper pusher. That all changes after he speaks to a ghostly witness at a crime scene and his abilities and willingness to keep an open mind bring him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the only member of the London Metropolitan Police who is also a magician. Peter becomes Nightingale's apprentice and tries to get a handle on magic and its rules, even as he investigates brutal murders and attempts to keep the peace between feuding river gods.
I bought this during an Audible sale because I enjoyed the book when I first read it several years ago and because I mostly liked the narrator's voice. The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, was wonderful as both Peter and Nightingale, but he had an unfortunate tendency to sound out to breath. It wasn't so bad as to affect my enjoyment of the book, but it was noticeable. It was worst at the beginning but thankfully got better later on, only cropping up again during the action scenes. I was left wondering if maybe he had been a little sick when he first started recording.
At any rate, the things I enjoyed about his narration outweighed the things I didn't. Most of his character voices were decent. The only one I came close to disliking was his voice for Lesley. He was great as Peter, but it was his voice for Nightingale that truly won me over. It felt like he was imitating an actor I'd seen/heard before, but I couldn't place who it was.
As far as the story went, it was about as good as I remembered, although a bit gorier than I recalled. Faces falling off and all that. Also, as a warning for those who need it, there was one instance of an infant being killed – unlike some of the book's other deaths, that one wasn't particularly detailed, but it was on-page.
Peter irked me a bit more this time around. I don't know if it was just me or the audio format making it more obvious or what, but it seemed like sex was always on his mind. He didn't act as though anyone owed it to him, and Aaronovitch didn't use it as an excuse for Lesley and Beverley to act catty with each other, but it was still a bit tiresome.
Although I own a paper copy of Whispers Under Ground (the next book in the series that I haven't yet read), I'm leaning towards getting it in audio form and listening to it instead. The narration really grew on me. Plus, I have an Audible credit that needs to be used soon.
(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)