For those not familiar with the series, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a cross between police procedural and urban fantasy. Peter Grant is an officer in the Metropolitan Police. He is also an apprentice magician and a member of the now two-person task force detailed to deal with magical happenings—”the weird stuff–” that ends up involving the police. In Body Work the weirdness is cars that have started killing people. By this issue, Rivers of London: Body Work #4, he and his colleagues have traced the first incident to a specific car whose parts were then used in the other rogue cars. Now, they have to find out what started that car off, and how it relates to a haunted church in the past.
Aaronovitch blends solid police work—both detection and paperwork—with a well-thought-out magical system and peoples to create suspenseful mystery cases. In Body Work the mystery only deepens as different pieces are solved, and each book in the series ends with a cliffhanger; Body Work #4 has the biggest one yet. The pieces may be coming together, but so are the dangers.
One of the good things about Rivers of London is the diversity of the world Aaronovitch presents: There is no defaulting to white male here. Body Work, with its art, makes that clearer than ever. Peter’s mother from Sierra Leone, the police force includes several high-ranking women, and his partner in Body Works is Muslim. The diversity becomes something no reader can overlook once it is drawn on the page.
As with any work that is part of a series, there is the question of introducing newcomers to the world without boring long-term readers with repeated explanations. Aaronovitch keeps the balance well here; all characters are introduced with a quick line or two about who they are, lines which fit perfectly with Peter’s first-person, narrative style. It gets everyone up to speed without dragging the story back.
Body Work is an accomplished mystery and a well-created urban fantasy. Readers who are already hooked on the books will enjoy this series; readers who haven’t yet discovered Rivers of London will find this a good introduction. Just don’t be surprised if the comic book leads you out to the bookstore or nearest library for the series (You could buy the Rivers of London
/strong> series on Amazon, but then you would have to wait for them to deliver the books).