I really enjoyed this urban fantasy. A big part of that is due to the setting of London. It's a vibrant part of the story and place names and historical and cultural references abound. There's even a Blackadder mention which I loved (can't do without a cunning plan!).
The other great thing about this book is the main protagonist Peter Grant. He is a perfect example of the axiom, 'Still waters run deep'. On the surface an easy-going, eager to please young constable. But underneath a frustrated scientist, the resentful son of an English musician father with a drug addiction and a West African mother. A half black, half white man with all the confused loyalties and influences that implies. I love that he is easily distracted from his police work by his surroundings. The idea that he has magic abilities is totally believable because he has a kind of other-worldly nature. But he's still brave and takes being a police officer very seriously.
His youth really comes through too. Especially in his tentative affection for Leslie and his inability to look away from the beautiful river women.
What I didn't enjoy so much was the plot. There were two different strands, the killings and the river dispute between the Old Man and Lady Thames. They were too separate. It would have been better if they had been tied together in some way at the end of the story. Also I found from about 80% to 95% in the final denouement of the story that the explanations just go too convoluted and weighty. I'm still not really sure what went on. I thought Punch and Harry Pyke were the same? And Really?? THAT person was the host for the evil Pyke? It makes me question everything I liked about them.
Despite my reservations I'm moving straight on to book 2.
Oh and just because I had trouble picturing Peter I found this photo to fix him in my mind (although I don't know where his shirt went??)