London Falling : Shadow Police

  • by Paul Cornell
  • Narrated by Damian Lynch
  • Series: Shadow Police
  • 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The dark is rising....
Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect, Rob Toshack, is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal.
Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law - until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.
As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment, and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.
Paul Cornell has written some of Doctor Who's best-loved episodes for the BBC. He has also written on a number of comic book series for Marvel and DC, including X-Men and Batman and Robin. He has been Hugo Award nominated for his work in TV, comics, and prose, and won the BSFA award for his short fiction. London Falling is his first urban fantasy novel.

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What the Critics Say

"He's gone and written a novel too! I suspect it will be just as good as everything else he's written, and that's not fair at all." (George R R Martin)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Team Quill

I was a little hesitant to pick up one more urban noir fantasy set in London having already read Peter Grant, Alex Verus, Felix Castor, and Courts of Feyre - all UNF series set in or around London. However, London is 2000 years old and packed with history so I finally decided the city could probably support one more. Good decision, me! After listening to London Falling, I decided that London actually could support several more UNF series if there are more writers like Paul Cornell.

The Publisher's Summary is quite sufficient to give you a flavor of this tale and get you started, however, I will note an explanation of one thing that confused me at the outset in case it might help someone else. The story begins with two detectives, Costain and Sefton, undercover attempting to bust a mob boss, Rob Toshack. DI James Quill (Costain's and Sefton's boss) has a brief meeting with Costain in a men's room to give him instructions. The very beginning of the book was a bit confusing to me because I didn't quite understand who were the bad guys, who were the police, and how they were interacting. Part of this is because Damian Lynch uses a very authentic accent for the seedier types of London, which nicely sets the tone of the book, but makes for a challenge for American ears. You have to get the rhythm of that accent before you can really understand what is being said and who is saying it. I would encourage you to stay with it, because once you get clear (it only takes about 15 minutes), this gritty, history-soaked tale really takes off.

There are several things in this series that make it unique and bear special mention:

1. I like urban noir fantasy, especially when the dark stories are offset a bit with humor and good characters. London Falling has both - no LOL, but lots of wry, ironic moments and believable, fleshed out characters.

2. Unlike most UNF, there is no one central wizard, mage, or necromancer. If fact, in the beginning, there are no magic-wielders on the protagonist side at all. Each of the four central protagonists has a backstory that draws him/her into the mystery and each has certain talents that are enhanced and informed by one moment that the four share while trying to solve the case. From that point, although Quill is "in charge", the four members of the team are equal and essential to the resolution of the mystery. So, this is a "team" series rather than another "lone wolf" escapade.

3. London Falling is very dark and truly gritty. Unlike several authors I have read recently, Cornell seems to understand that gritty and vulgar are not synonyms. There isn't much coarse language or lewdness in London Falling, but there is a deep creepiness that makes London Falling read more like some horror mysteries than like other UNF novels.

I have continued this series with the next book, The Severed Streets, and there were lots more surprises and another story utilizing the loooooong, crazy history of London. And, once you adjust your ears to Damian Lynch, I think you'll enjoy this narrator, too.
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- Tango "Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres."

One of the best books I've heard!

What did you love best about London Falling?

The character development of our four "heroes" was just wonderful. I felt like I really understood what made them tick, even in the bizarre supernatural world that they discovered. In the middle of incredible and incomprehensible events, I cared and cheered for these people.


What did you like best about this story?

Somehow this impossible world became plausible. I think it's very, very difficult for an author to maintain any credibility while writing about the supernatural - but this book does it. The plot held water in a way that built suspense and was immensely satisfying at the end.


What about Damian Lynch’s performance did you like?

He has a sort of halting style that was a little distracting at first, but quickly it became just right for the story because it gave me a bit of time to think between phrases. This can be a tough story to follow but the narrator helped make it work. Plus, of course, his accent is brilliant!


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Its British-ness was wonderful to hear! I am one of the countless American anglo-philes out there; this book was written for Brits alone so I had to work to understand some of the language that was used. A labor of love!


Any additional comments?

Can't WAIT to listen to the sequel.

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- Michael Hall "mtbikermike"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-24-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios