I was my dad’s vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around, and that’s how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it’s why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognized the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in Soho.
He wasn’t the first. No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn’t trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus’ ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens’ portrait, but I needed her help. There were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune, taking beauty and leaving behind sickness, failure and broken lives. And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – my father – who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That’s the thing about policing: most of the time you’re doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you’re doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you’re doing it for revenge.
2nd book in the Peter Grant series, where jazz is the music of life…or death!
If you like Jim Butcher or Simon R. Green…you will like Ben Aaronovitch.
5 stars *****