A Review of London Falling by Paul Cornell

14 02 2013

London_Falling3

Paul Cornell is an author I have always been rather fond of as a comics writer. Marvel’s Captain Britain and MI13 is one of my all time favorite comic book series and his handling of British characters coupled with a keen grasp of culture and cultural phenomena  leads to some wonderfully interesting storytelling. This is the reason I wanted to read his novel. As a fan of his previous work in other media I was curious to see how his writing came across without the support given by the visuals you find in TV and comics. And so the book was read.

I must admit that to start with I was a little taken aback by just how British the characters are. And not just British but London British. I thought at some points that if I hadn’t known certain words and phrased before reading this book I might not have had the faintest idea what was going on. However, after a relatively short period of time I found that the “London” feel to the book and the writing was perfect for the story being told. This is a story about London after all. And not just London as a place but as an entity in it’s own right. With an identity which is perfectly captured and portrayed through the writing style.

That isn’t to say that the writing is perfect however as at points it was very hard for me to quite “get” what was going on. Especially in the earlier parts of the book when the supernatural elements were being establish. At these points I found that the descriptions (or lack there of) didn’t give me a good idea of what it was that a character was seeing or experiencing. There were clear emotional reactions from the characters but the thing that was causing the emotions alluded me at times. It made me think that, yes, I can see that this is a book written by someone who is used to working with a visual artist to establish clear visuals.

However, once I got through the beginning of the book and into the meat and potatoes of the story I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. The sense of place is superb and the feeling of weight that lays on the shoulders of our 4 police officers making up the covert unit on the trail of a serial killer who has been operating for longer than anyone could possibly imagine is huge. The story offers a wonderful combination of crime thriller and  the supernatural with so many twists and turns you won’t know where the next surprise might come from. Well worth sticking with to get the end.

The result…

“Great”Well worth sticking with what is a brilliant crime novel infused with a supernatural mythology that only London can offer.

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