Read The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell Online


Summer in London: a city in turmoil. The vicious murder of a well-known MP is like a match to tinder but Detective Inspector James Quill and his team know that it's not a run-of-the-mill homicide. Still coming to terms with their new-found second sight, they soon discover that what is invisible to others - the killer - is visible to them. Even if they have no idea who it iSummer in London: a city in turmoil. The vicious murder of a well-known MP is like a match to tinder but Detective Inspector James Quill and his team know that it's not a run-of-the-mill homicide. Still coming to terms with their new-found second sight, they soon discover that what is invisible to others - the killer - is visible to them. Even if they have no idea who it is. Then there are more deaths. The bodies of rich, white men are found in circumstances similar to those that set the streets of London awash with fear during the late 1800s: the Whitechapel murders. Even with their abilities to see the supernatural, accepting that Jack the Ripper is back from the dead is a tough ask for Quill's team. As they try to get to grips with their abilities and a case that's spiralling out of control, Quill realizes that they have to understand more about this shadowy London, a world of underground meetings, bizarre and fantastical auctions, and objects that are 'get out of hell free' cards. But the team's unlikely guide, a bestselling author, can't offer them much insight - and their other option, the Rat King, speaks only in riddles. Relying on old-fashioned police work and improvising with their new skills only lands them in deeper water, and they soon realize that the investigation is going to hell - literally. And if they're not careful, they may be going with it . . ....

Title : The Severed Streets
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 21490143
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Severed Streets Reviews

  • Carol.
    2018-07-23 20:01

    Gah! I don't know what to think! Can. Not. Rate. Imagine you are reading a developed, dark mystery series, tracking a killer brutally slashing his victims until they die. Say you are following around Matthew Scudder as he walks the streets of New York City, questioning prostitutes, greasing a palm or two and generally throwing back a whiskey whenever able. Then imagine Scudder gets a lead, goes to the meet in a dark alley, and discovers the informant is James Patterson. Worse, Patterson lurks in the corner of the alley, watching while some toughs beat the stuffing out of Scudder.Cornell did something similar in The Severed Streets, and for the life of me, I cannot let it go. It’s a messy, fourth-wall-breaking action that destroys the both the atmosphere of danger and the serious emotional tone of the story. Even worse, the guest star reappears not one but twice later, with an implication of involvement in future events. Until that appearance, The Severed Streets was shaping up to be a notable improvement over the first book, London Falling (my review). It begins when London’s supernatural police team hears about a messy locked-car murder of a prominent politician and is sure the details fit one of their special cases. Investigation of the scene proves they are right, but as they start to make extensions into the hidden world of London’s occult practitioners, another message leads them to consider Jack the Ripper as prime suspect. The team will have to go undercover chasing leads from seedy bars to Parliament in order to find the cause of the killings, and the increase in London’s unrest.Narrative is limited third person, switching primarily between the four members of the team: lead Detective Inspector James Quill, undercover specialists Kev Sefton and Tony Costain, and support from intelligence analyst Ross, but occasionally including viewpoints from victims, informants and suspects. As a device, I generally dislike it, feeling it’s a cheap technique to develop tension and provide information in one easy shot, but Cornell does it better here. Congruity is obtained by focusing primarily on Quill and Ross, and by limiting the non-team viewpoints to a few pages.“So today was going to be a bit different and he was now in the mental space he associated with being undercover, lightly wearing a role which could basically be described as ‘definitely not a policeman.’”The writing stood out this time. At one point early on I had thought of taking notes, as several phrases impressed me, but talked myself out of it on the theory I would re-read. Since re-reading is most definitely out, I’ll have to resort to skimming. Such a good job of developing atmosphere, complexity of emotion and the London setting. Sigh. There is a sense of humor in the mix, but it is the dark humor of someone who sees too much of the callous, selfish side of humanity. I certainly smiled at points, but as I’m a practitioner of that school of humor, it appeals. I did think it avoided being in poor taste, such as victim-mocking.“A few of them were, even now, giving each other high fives and laughing. But most of them looked grim. Quill looked at their emotion and again felt distant copper annoyance at bloody people. He used to joke that without people his job would be a lot easier. But now he supposed he couldn’t even say that.”There’s political undertones in the setting, with masked protestors appearing in flash mobs throughout the city. Quite a bit of the vernacular is British slang and British police speech, so it takes a little extra though process if you are an ignorant American. It wasn’t incomprehensible, however.So, do I recommend it? I don’t know. Besides breaking that fourth wall, there’s a bit that was an emotional shocker. I guess that’s a compliment, right, an author that can evoke that kind of emotion? It really was a four star plus read until that guest came along and ruined the world-building. I can’t imagine what Cornell was thinking, except perhaps that he could treat a two-book UF mystery series like a Dr. Who special? I don’t know, but can attest that it didn’t work.a gimmick for a gimmick:

  • Andy
    2018-08-01 14:11

    I enjoyed the first in the series mostly but found the character development could have been better (a lot better), felt they were all a little bit cold..... I wanted to give the second book a go as found the premise of the story of interest..... so how’d it turn out??40 pages in & i'm really not enamoured at all, likely would end up being a 1 or 2 rated for me but as under 50 pages I cant really rate it - I stopped as I could jus not identify with any of the characters who were jus cold & lifelessNOTE to self: Thats the third fantasy book ive DNF this year...... genre starting to wane on me, methinks

  • Mark
    2018-08-09 18:56

    This book is a must read for all readers of fantasy, horror and also for police fiction, the authors brilliant original imagination shines through this book. Expecially with his view of hell. One thing which knocked me off my feet was the way he used a certain author in a hellish diabolical way which you will not believe.The characters really mature in this book, especially in that we get to know there weaknesses and there loves.

  • Otherwyrld
    2018-07-20 13:53

    Like the first one in this series, it took a while for this book to settle down. However, whilst book 1 took only 40 pages to do so, this one took well over half the book. The team dynamics seem all over the place here, as they try to investigate the "impossible" murder of a government minister in his car by an invisible assailant, set to the backdrop of riots and an impending police strike in the metropolis. As more bodies pile up and they flounder about trying to pick up clues (from Neil Gaiman of all people!), it seems as if Jack the Ripper has come back and is now murdering rich white men instead of prostitutes.This was a 3 star book until 2/3 of the way through until it took a hard right into holy crap! territory, with the (view spoiler)[murder of one of the team (hide spoiler)]. I must admit that if I were Neil Gaiman, I might be reluctant to attach my name to this story, considering he is an accessory to murder and helps dispose of a body at one point, but it would seem he gave his approval for his inclusion here, and it's a brave move to include such a well-known living fantasy author in this book. On the whole I liked and enjoyed this part.I did have reservations about other parts of this book though. Firstly is the use of Jack the Ripper as a leitmotif for murder on the streets of London. Ripper stories are overused on the whole when it comes the the capital, and it almost feels like a lazy piece of shorthand here. However, the whole Ripper thing turns out to be a bit of a red herring, and the real killer is a much older and darker being altogether (who is buried in the Blue Peter garden of all places). My second issue is with the whole summer of riots section of the story. I have no doubt that this was very topical in the authors mind when he was writing it in 2013, but having lived in London at the time and being forced to watch the place burn, it felt too recent and raw to me and I didn't really want to have to read about it in a work of fiction so soon. I think that this story might have been better placed as number 3 in the series, which would give another year or two of distance to these real-life events. Once the real villain is revealed, the story comes together in a satisfactory way, with a sub-plot about a rare artefact coming into play to bring the missing member of the team back in from the cold (or the hot actually). A section set in hell is interesting, given that it looks and smells like Victorian London, and I would like to see this area explored in future books (well, perhaps remotely). The thinly disguised V for Vendetta masks used by the rioters/protesters is also a nice touch, as well as giving a broad hint of the motivation of the main villain, if you think back to what V is protesting about.The end of the book sees the team triumphant, but its a pyrrhic victory. The cost that they have all paid has been very high indeed and it will be interesting to see what the author does with this series next. 3 1/2 stars

  • Wanda
    2018-08-07 15:04

    I read this book to fill the ‘Darkest London’ square of my 2017 Halloween Book Bingo card.I really must give Neil Gaiman credit for being a very good sport—I am not sure how I would feel about becoming a character in someone else’s fiction, especially if that author gave me some rather dodgy motives, as Cornell does. I liked this second book in the series considerably more than the first one. It’s like the majority of the world-building has been settled now and Cornell can get on with telling us the dark and twisted tale of what’s going on under the surface of London!There is a walking tour of Jack the Ripper sites, where two of our coppers see ghosts of each of the victims, there is an auction of supernatural items, and a mysterious Ripper-like murderer at work in the great city. Our team of Shadow Police get ripped apart in several ways and kind of patched back together eventually. I’ve got to get to the third book, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?, as soon as I can arrange, to see if their team can survive these upheavals.

  • Lady*M
    2018-08-07 17:00

    3.5 starsIs this a bad novel? Absolutely not. Is it as good as London Falling? Absolutely not. My very, very high expectations are a part of the problem, but Cornell drops a few balls as well.The most important part of the first book, for me, was formation of the team and how these very different people learned to work together. In this book, the team is pulled apart partially by outside forces, but mainly by their own secrets (It seems that only Quill doesn't hold anything back). By the end, they are truly broken and (horrific) sacrifices they make to achieve their individual goals are in vain. The slim hope we are given in the end by Quill's conversation with the Smiling Man is insufficient to counterbalance the bleak tone of the novel. If I bemoan something more than anything else that is the loss of Quill's dark, dry humor.I see the book as The Empire Strikes Back of the series, though I would have to read it again to see how well that worked overall. The pace was somewhat uneven and I am uncertain that bringing real life person as a character added anything significant to the narration and how would real life events read with the passage of time.What I liked is that we learned more about supernatural community, though some of it was somewhat less organic than in the first book and that we got more insight into the characters some of whom are significantly more damaged than I suspected. We also got some new, intriguing characters (Rat King). In the end, I liked the book well enough and I am happy to see that Cornell has just started the third. I am curious to see how will he heal the team and strike back at the Smiling Man. This morning I started writing the third Shadow Police novel. Phew!— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) June 2, 2014

  • Wealhtheow
    2018-07-26 20:51

    The four Sighted police officers of London are faced with another case only they can solve: Jack the Ripper is back, and he's killing rich white guys this time. In the last book, the writing and pacing were plodding until about halfway through, when the book switched into high gear and became clever and enjoyable. Sadly, this book is a return to the plodding. There's something about the characters' inner monologues that feels both realistic and deeply annoying and boring. And then it all ends with the bad guy literally monologuing about How He Did It for several pages. Bah! I was also annoyed by the Gaiman subplot. The cops see Neil Gaiman hanging out at a magic bar and realize he's part of magical London. Cute, I thought. But then he becomes a minor character! That's creepy enough, but it's not even well done--he doesn't talk or act anything like Gaiman does in his numerous public appearances or on his blog, and his writing never comes up. He's completely generic. If you're going to turn a real person into a fictional (view spoiler)[bad guy (hide spoiler)], you'd better have a reason for it, and keep that person consistent with what we know about them. Otherwise, just make someone up! All that said, I do like some of Cornell's ideas about where magic comes from and the sacrifices necessary to use it. Just once I'd like the Sight or magic to be kinda nice, though. Thus far it's been wholly grim and dark and horrible. Surely EVERYTHING magical isn't awful, right?

  • Alex Sarll
    2018-07-16 15:10

    Any book which opens with the brutal, lovingly-detailed murder of a thinly disguised* Danny Alexander is going to win plenty of readers over straight away. Not that this is clunky Pat Mills agitprop, by any means - but it is a little angry with the state of modern London, as who wouldn't be? There's an intricate, gritty dance played out as Cornell uses fantasy for one of the things it does best - making the metaphorical concrete. So London's memory and its subcultures are at loggerheads with the new influx of money, but this is not about either side being right or wrong, for they both have plenty of blood on their hands and ugliness in their plans. And then, of course, you get the further interrogation even of that set-up, because (as per a persistent refrain), anything can mean anything these days - and what does that do to magic, an art which is all about signifiers?One quote on the jacket says that if Ben Aaronovitch's occult police books are The Bill, Cornell's are The Sweeney. This is bullshit, in that it implies Aaronovitch is simply not very good, and Cornell is good, unreconstructed fun. Neither is remotely true. Far closer to say that Aaronovitch is Brooklyn Nine Nine, where even the murder cases are mostly funny, while Cornell is The Shield, bad decisions and the reek of corruption hanging over even the lightest moments. This is a book to give any Londoner nightmares if read in bed, and uneasy moments even in daylight (though perhaps reading it on the site of one of the Ripper murders was asking for trouble). It's a book which comes up with a supernatural depression metaphor to rival Rowling, then twists the knife even further with what happens once that price is paid. It is, though page-turning, also bloody hard going in places, though mostly in the best possible way.*Rupert Murdoch and protestors' V masks also put in veiled appearances; in the latter case, I think a slightly too-thorough masking of the mask slightly harms the impact of the tale. Interestingly, though, no disguise is needed for Frankie Boyle or Neil Gaiman, the latter of whom has a fairly major role to play. If nothing else, it confirms him as a good sport.

  • Eleanor With Cats
    2018-08-05 22:00

    Okay, so most of this review is going to be spoilerific. WARNED.(view spoiler)[Okay.Some authors in the scifi/fantasy world amuse themselves (and their audience) by making references to other scifi/fantasy authors and/or their characters. Sometimes this is done by description - I'm looking at you, Barbara Hambly (and you are awesome). (This is common when referring to characters currently under copyright, such as Doctor Who - see Diane Duane, Simon R. Green, and yes, Barbara Hambly.) Sometimes the reference is explicit and by name - for instance, Fritz Leiber making Clark Ashton Smith a magic-user in Our Lady Of Darkness, James Tuck making Anita Blake references, and the hundreds of writers out there who have a hard-on for Cthulhu. A few authors, like John M. Ford, give actual walk-on cameos to sf/f authors. A few of these authors give the walk-on cameo to Neil Gaiman. Like John M. Ford.ONLY PAUL CORNELL GIVES NEIL GAIMAN A NAMELESS WALK-ON CAMEO THEN EXPLICITLY NAMES HIM THEN MAKES HIM A MINOR CHARACTER THEN HAS HIM KILL OFF ONE OF THE FRICKING PROTAGONISTS. And dump his body into the Thames. Thankyou. (hide spoiler)]Ah, that's better. That said (and considered), this was an excellent novel. I'm pleased to note Cornell has got some of his gritty noir undercover cop angst out and is now including a few humorous quirks à la New Who. Looking forward to the sequel. (Who knows? You might be next.)

  • Lisa
    2018-07-29 14:03

    Overall I enjoyed this second installment in the shadow police series but I do have very mixed feelings about it - luckily the good outweighed the bad but this book certainly tested my loyalty.The thing that keeps me reading is the characters - they are so well developed and believable in astonishing circumstances (understatement) and their uniqueness and 'warts & all' presentation has made me fall in love with them...and believe me this is quite some feat by Cornell as they are not really lovable people!!! I just want them to live forever and group hug - wtf!!!???Fab series but stop testing me - I want to love this but I'm so close to love / hate.***My next comments could be construed as SPOILERS so please don't read on if you want to read this blind***If you have strong feelings about God/Heaven/Hell you are going to find this very difficult to swallow and possibly find it quite offensive. It is actually quite bleak in outlook although I do feel the series has reached rock bottom and will maybe then try to claw its way back from there??!!I am not a fan of long descriptions of dreams - I don't mind the inclusion of a 'dream land' if it's part of the story but I hate when a chunk of my time is taken by an advancement in plot only to find it was a dream and therefore not relevant to the real story (ok, so this is not strictly true in this case but I HATE DREAMS!!!)More things that pissed me off but these are proper spoilers (view spoiler)[Errrr Neil Gaiman...just no. Why is my fave character Quill being killed off (badissimo) and then being resurrected (also badissimo) - I was very disappointed by this development. It's like shocker!!! (George Martin stylee) but noooooo he wimped out, brought him back and needs lots of feeble shit to make this plausible hmmmmmmmm. I am only going with it because he is my favourite and I would not read any more books without him...but really!!! Please don't kill the best person in the whole series! (hide spoiler)]

  • Hallie
    2018-08-07 21:02

    Wow, it almost pains me to say anything is darker than the first (in which babies were boiled alive in a cauldron) but I think this was. This is a very personal reaction, and it has to do with something which is a big spoiler - and part of that is my ending up angry because someone had done something which is an absolute deal-breaker for me and yet it was the 'right thing' to do because everything was LITERALLY going to HELL. What I didn't mind - which puts me in a small minority, I think - was the role Neil Gaiman played as a fairly significant character in the book. Possibly if I liked Neil Gaiman I might have cared more, but don't and didn't. What stopped the grimness of the first from being overwhelming was the way Quill and his team gradually started working together as a team, despite severe lack of trust and even disgust in some cases, and they went up against extremely powerful, probably undefeatable supernatural forces, as "coppers". And Quill kept bringing it back to that, while struggling with what had been done to him personally, and with his own need and inability to trust the others. I loved Lofthouse's tentative, very partial joining their group at the end too - hope we'll get her story some point soon.I still love the way the real London is mixed with the supernatural one, with odd and unexpected twists and turns (the Blue Peter garden as a site of ancient horror, for example!). I'm less happy with the nature of magic - or perhaps that's specifically with magic in London - as it involves the kind of 'sacrifice' that's all about taking on pain and how much you're willing to harm yourself to get something you want in return. That has already become very clear, even before there's an auction of London stuff at the Tate Modern - only for those who are sighted, of course. (view spoiler)[ I was already thinking that Ross and Costain were way out of their league when they went to the auction hoping to get the Bridge of Spikes - with what to offer? But when Ross gave up all her happiness, forever, in order to get just a look at the ledger book, it was unbearably grim. Worse than when Quill was killed, because I *knew* he was going to be rescued somehow, but NO BACKSIES ON THE AUCTION. Presumably. Maybe eventually something will change, but there's a ring of finality to it (and to Ross's saying that she'll *never* forgive Costain) that there wasn't about Quill's death. Then it got worse, because Costain stole the thing in order to rescue Quill, and it was both the worst thing he could have done and the ONLY thing that could have made Ross's sacrifice even close to worthwhile, as we learn at the end. I mean, really - Hell contains EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED IN LONDON. Had Ross rescued her dad he'd have been super-happy, have died eventually and GONE TO HELL. Forever this time, too. Ross herself, Costain, Sarah and Jessica (yup, young children in Hell too) - everyone. And yet I loathe the "make his/her choice for him/her because you love them" thing as much as anyone. Even Quill, though, who knew how things were 'wrong' and how Hell had nothing to do with how you'd lived and only whether you'd lived in London, even HE blamed Costain for stealing the BoS and saving him. I have to believe that "healing his unit" includes forgiveness for Costain, whose act was selfless if not good in other ways. (hide spoiler)]The "racist newspaper mogul", the riots in London - a few things like that seemed a bit *too* on the nose, but I loved Quill's final return to form. When he tells the Smiling Man he's not going to do what he's expected to do (view spoiler)[tell everyone who'd believe it what the sign at the gate to Hell says (hide spoiler)], but instead is going to "find a way to heal my unit. I'm going to wait until I'm sure they're able to cope with what I know. Then we're going to find some way to change it" I was - warily - back on board. I might wait just a while after book 3 comes out, and if I see a lot of people saying it's darker than the first two, it's bailing time.

  • Dudleysmith
    2018-07-31 16:08

    As usual, it's interesting to compare and contrast with Ben Aaronovich's Peter Grant series (which I love). They start from the same basic premise - magic cops - but do very different things with the concept. Aaronovich is all about the mythology of London - the gods, creatures and history, whereas Cornell doesn't need any gods or myths, since it's all about people being horrible to each other. I do imagine how the concepts from one series might appear in the other though. How would the BBC or Jack the Ripper appear in the Peter Grant series? How would the spirit of the tube or the London Jazz scene appear in the Quill series? I'm never truly prepared for how nastily Cornell treats his characters. He's very much of the "oh no he has to survive - he needs to suffer more" school of pulling the legs off his characters. The main quartet are just so dour all the time - there is not much joy in their lives (Quill and Sefton's mostly happy domestic arrangements notwithstanding). There's nothing cool or exhilerating about the team's interaction with magic. Their lives are essentially spent plugging holes in the Titanic as it inexorably sinks. They aren't angsty about it or anything, they're not event raging against the dying of the light, just a slow empty trudge against the tide.But it's a powerful and well-written book, and if you liked LF, you'll also like this.

  • Mark
    2018-07-28 14:44

    I'd previously read London Falling by the same author and enjoyed it. I will say, I enjoyed this one as well. I would have ranked it somewhat significantly higher except for one plot point which utterly pulled me out of my suspension of disbelief, that crucial mind state for fiction. The author uses a well known figure for a spell in the center of the book. At first it was a cameo. I thought, "Oh very cute." Then, the character was used as a means for exposition. "Aha, clever," I thought. Finally the character was used as an antagonist to propel the action. My response, "???????" and I put the book down for a good week.Listen authors (whom I know are not actually reading this.) Your entire point in life is to bring me out of the world and into the world of your novel. We see the characters moving, there needs to be a certain amount of coherency, and otherwise I don't ask for much more at least to start. When the author brings in a personality from the mundane world, there had better be a damn good reason why this is necessary instead of creating a simulacrum character to play the same role. Cornell certainly did this with the overall antagonist of the novel; someone who is instantly recognizeable from events he is portrayed as having been a participant. Why not this other personality be represented thusly? I know they are colleagues in many venues, and the author's note does explain that this person acquiesced to the portrayal. Permission is not the point however. The point is that, regardless of how this real life person may feel that he would act, I don't believe the public perception of that is really quite the same. Thus dissonance is the result. Thus the entire point has been upended.I did finish the book, and I thought it ended rather strongly (perhaps a bit predictably, but unpredictability I think is overrated personally.) That's why it ended up with 2 rather than the 1 star it really deserves for that mid-story flawed choice.

  • Tim Hicks
    2018-08-11 18:52

    Lookit, if books were drinks, this would be a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. It's an excellent extension of the first book, and Cornell cannot be accused of being too careful in scoping the action. There are several "he did WHAT?" moments. Let'a address the use of Neil Gaiman as a character. Go and read Gaiman's "Neverwhere" and come back, and THEN we can talk about it. You can't really talk about the under-London, the things only some people can see, without acknowledging "Neverwhere," and what an interesting way this was to do that.I even wondered whether the - er, the place Quill goes near the end - is possibly a tribute to Miéville's "Un Lun Dun."Anyway ... good police procedural, lots of action, some heavy-duty magic/horror, some interesting discussion of the nature of London, some good lines, some amazing character development ... and the promise that in ONE of these books we'll find out what Lofthouse is up to. I've read quite a lot of urban fantasy, and this is one of the better ones. Top level, in fact. I'm looking forward to the next one.

  • edifanob
    2018-07-24 17:47

    As I said in my comment to the first book in the series I'm not a big fan of urban fantasy but what Paul Cornell delivers with his Shadows Police series is excellent.The Severed Streets is even a bit better then London Falling.The main characters have to go through a lot.I do not always agree with their methods and decisions but there is mostly nothing without a reason behind. New parties enter the greater gameThe mix of police procedural and the "dark side" of London is excellent. And there is still the question of Lofthouse's secret.Beside Jack the Ripper you meet author Neil Gaiman who plays a certain role which makes sense in case you read his book Neverwhere.I can't wait to read the next book in the series.WHO KILLED SHERLOCK HOLMES will be published in May 2016

  • Cristina
    2018-08-08 19:00

    I wanted to like this more than I did. I pre-ordered it on Kindle because I really enjoyed the first book and thought the world was very promising. I still love the 'verse, the characters, the ideas. I really liked the direction he took with Ross and Costain. The Bridge of Spikes plot thread was interesting and heartbreaking. But the pacing was uneven, and (personal bias here, I know some people love it) I hate it when real people are used as characters. The plot would have been just as well served with an original character, even one that transparently referenced the real celeb. A very brief cameo can be fun, but anything more reads like *cringe* celebrity fanfic.

  • Tasula
    2018-08-12 14:56

    This second book in the series about supernatural London in modern times was good, but for some reason I found the first third a slog. It picked up after that, and the final third was pretty exciting. Each of the primary characters in the clandestine unit which polices supernatural crimes is interesting and well fleshed out, with their own foibles and sometimes conflicting agendas. The last bit is quite chilling. The author managed to incorporate a very famous living British author as a character as well (with his permission, as he told us in an afterword).

  • Chris
    2018-08-15 21:10

    Pretty good urban fantasy, but not nearly as good as the first book - this was definitely a sophomore effort, suffering some times from self-consciousness and at others from trying too hard.(view spoiler)[While I enjoyed Neil Gaiman's initial brief appearance in the book as a clever cameo, I found his reappearing and having a significant part to play in the narrative much less enjoyable. It felt as if a line was crossed, if that makes any sense. (hide spoiler)]

  • DMS
    2018-07-25 18:57

  • Charles
    2018-07-31 22:08

    I read the first in this seriesLondon Fallingawhile ago. It was not great, but I liked it because it was different. Time passed. The author has been diligently scribbling away to pay the rent. This book is the second in the series. Urban Fantasy is my shame. However, I voraciously consume police procedurals with a preference for euro and UK (depending on how you define 'euro') examples of the genre. The Shadow Police series is an urban fantasy/Brit police procedural Xover. There are a couple of series occupying this space. Ben Aaronovitch is one author writing there. What sets this series apart is greater emphasis on supernatural horror and higher fidelity in the police work than most others in this sub-sub fantasy genre. In addition, there is almost no romance (het, homo, bi, pan or aromantic) and naughty bits are kept to a minimum. I like this series, because its very gritty and dark. If I could have a wish, it would be the author inject a bit of dark or otherwise humour into the stories. The 'Team's' characters in this story were better than in London Falling, if only because they've had more opportunity for development. Victums, perps and spear carriers are good enough. For some reason I envision the Lofthouse character to be exactly like DSI Stella Gibson from The Fall (2013– ). (view spoiler)[Being fully aware of my complaint about lack of humour, I laughed-out-loud when Neil Gaiman (with his permission) was introduced as a nefarious character in the story. I wonder how he feels about being compared to Aleister Crowley? (hide spoiler)]You can't miss the previous book to be reading this one. Although, mercifully not a lot of words are consumed by backstory. Plot is rather straight forward, with long-term plot lines woven-in. (view spoiler)[Its the Corrupt Corporate Executive troupe with the perp looking suspiciously like Rupert Murdoch. (hide spoiler)] If I had a second wish, it would be that the Shadow Police squad would be savvier with magic by now. The police being out gunned by the criminals is something I'd like to see fixed.I liked this second book better than the first. The third book Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? is now available. Despite my dread of becoming invested in yet another urban fantasy series-- I'll read it.Readers interested in a lighter, similar series may be interested in Rivers of London. This series also includes Rivers of London: Body Work and other graphic novels. Although, the graphic novels are folded into the series only after several of the books were published.

  • Andrew
    2018-08-02 15:11

    You gotta give the author credit for enormous gonads. Putting an unnamed Neil Gaiman cameo in your urban fantasy novel is cheeky. Having your protagonist run back a minute later and say "You *are* Neil Gaiman, right?" turns it into an eye-roll. Having the protagonists come back a couple chapters later and *interview* Neil Gaiman, *as police officers*, for important background on the nature of magic -- I don't know what that is. Then it gets ballsier than *that*.I don't think I can tell you whether it works or not. My reaction to RPF ("Real (living) People (slash-) Fic") is a restrained no-thank-you. This is literally Real People Fic, and I have the same reaction even though the plot element doesn't involve sex. Only I can't back away because it's in the middle of a fantasy series that I'm invested in. Now that I think -- it's the horror format, making me read something I don't want to read, except my reaction isn't squick or gross -- it's this other discomfort.Since I can't pass judgement on that part of the story, I'll skip around it. Here's the rest: Jack the Ripper is back, only now he's killing rich white guys. Our favorite squad of unwillingly-magic-sensitive broken coppers are on the case. They are forced to entangle further with London's magical underground, and this is both traumatic and fruitful.At the same time, everyone has personal issues. (I did say "broken".) Costain and Ross are on the trail of a particularly juicy artifact -- separately, and later together. They need to trust each other and they are, basically, utterly incapable of it; it's the most screwed-up relationship I've cheered for in a while. It would make *great* TV. Crap, if this were TV, they could get Neil Gaiman for it. Dammit. Now I have to want this.Quill just wants to do his job, which is impossible. Lofthouse still knows something she isn't telling the team. Sefton... Sefton isn't completely screwed this novel, now that I look at it. This worries me. It's that kind of novel.There's a lot here, even aside from Neil Gaiman. There's the Ripper, and an evil Rupert Murdoch-alike -- I mean, eviller than the real one -- and a London going slowly batshit with class riots, and parallel invisible tensions in the magical world. (The gentrification of London Below, you might say.) It's all part of the plot but I'm not sure it all gets the attention it deserves. On the other hand the author gets credit for avoiding bloat. I think it's a win but not an unmixed win.Showing us more about magic is always a tricky path for the author. We get reasonably good navigation here. In the first book, magic was overwhelming and mad. Here we start to see rules. Some of what we see is still overwhelming; other parts become more clear and systematic. But then some of the system is horrible in its own way. (Magic is very much about sacrifice.) And we start to see the underlying series arc, which is... clearly a crime. Someone -- the Smiling Man -- has committed a crime against London. The motive, means, and opportunity are still completely obscure. Not to mention the question of how you stop the perp and bring him in. I guess we'll find out.(Postscript: Only save the gibes about the "game designer's pixellated imagination", please. We're all in the same business here.)

  • Michael
    2018-07-26 18:08

    Detective Inspector James Quill is a member of the Shadow Police, a squad dedicated to solving supernatural crimes. When an invisible murderer kills a high profile cabinet minister in an unusual way, the Shadow Police are called to solve it. Things take a turn when the lead detective from the squad goes missing. Things start to fall apart; can Quill solve this mystery and bring the team back together?I was really enjoying the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch lately and I thought I would look for more urban fantasy novels that centred around a detective, when I remembered London Falling. I loved this book which was the first in the Shadow Police series; it was dark gritty and blended police procedural with urban fantasy really well. I read it a while ago and thought it was time to try book two, The Severed Streets. Unfortunately this book did not hold up and suffered the same fate as Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams (book two in the Bobby Dollar series).While London Falling went for a dark and gritty, noir feel to it, The Severed Streets seemed to go in a different direction. It felt too gimmicky and I felt like Paul Cornell was offered a book deal based on this series but had already run out of ideas. First of all, the book is set in London, so it obviously had to reference the 1800s Whitechapel murders. Jack the Ripper has been done to death, especially in urban fantasy; I was immediately reminded of The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. Also this book has Neil Gaiman as a character and I never enjoy it when they use living people as characters. It is a little hit and miss when a book includes a famous person who is deceased but when it comes to living people, it is normally always a miss.I feel so angry about this book but mainly because I went in thinking it would be like London Falling. I would have been better off not reading this book and just letting the first novel remain a standalone. Take out Jack the Ripper and Neil Gaiman or replace these characters, and it might have been a decent book. However, for me, it was just a gimmick that did not work. I will not be continuing with the Shadow Police and I have to start my search for a new dark, gritty urban fantasy series to enjoy.This review originally appeared on my blog;

  • Margaret
    2018-07-26 17:52

    Quill, Costain, Sefton and Ross are back for their second outing in Paul Cornell's "The Severed Streets".In this, the second book of the Shadow Police series, the team has to deal with the return of Jack the Ripper. Yes, the Ripper is back, but this time he's targeting white men. When one particular man is killed, it stops being police work and becomes very personal. They'll kick down the doors of Hell itself to get the answers... and vengeance.In this book we learn a lot more about the Sight and how this occult world that Cornell has created works.We also meet two fantastic new characters in the shape of The Rat King... and Neil Gaiman. The wonderful Mr Gaiman has allowed himself to be turned into a character, and I think we'll be seeing more of him in future books. What he does you'll have to read the book for yourself to find out. Let's just say it is NOT a cameo appearance by any means."The Severed Streets" has all the bounce and verve of "London Falling" as well as massive character development, and some seriously wicked repartee.If you loved "London Falling" then you won't be disappointed by its sequel.Highly recommended to all lovers of police procedurals, urban fantasy, and horror.

  • Danie Ware
    2018-08-01 19:54

    Very hard to engage with this, and I'm still working out why.I found the plot somewhat disjointed, though some of the set pieces - particularly the final set with Quill - were evocative and very nicely put together. It almost has taste of 'Data explaining the plot at the end'.I found the characters oddly emotionless - though the events they moved through should have affected them deeply. I had no sorrow for a Hell-held father, no passion for a new relationship, no horror for happiness surrendered, though, some of the concepts were absolutely fabulous - loved the auction.Fascinating insights into London's long and layered history and marvellously humorous moments - exploding bouncers and the true history of the Blue Peter garden being among the most memorable.To me, I think, it came across in patches. Very clever in places, but sadly rather haphazardly tied together.Three and a half.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2018-07-22 17:03

    This was a lot more coherent than the initial book, London Falling, but I don't think this book is very accessible to the average urban fantasy reader. There is still a heavy British vibe to the story, which is a good thing, for the most part. Cornell takes the reader and the characters to some dark, strange places in a London that is familiar but eerily paranormal.Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.Reviewed for Bitten by Books.

  • K.J. Charles
    2018-08-09 13:59

    Hmph. Loved the first one after a poor start, so much that I rushed out to buy this. Great premise, and good sense of the London riots but...honestly, this is book 2 of the series and he's already jumped the shark. Ross has given up too much, Quill's plot line is absurdly extreme, and the whole Neil Gaiman-as-major-character is really stupid. Distracting and annoying and I can't see why a fictional author couldn't have been used instead of a real person. Plus, the old 'have the villain explain their plot'? Really?Disappointing, and I honestly don't see how the author escalates from here.

  • Lori
    2018-07-21 21:10

    Maybe not a 5 but this had me so hooked I didn't want to give a "measly" 4. Cornell is turning into one of my favorite authors. Pages flooded with ideas but easy clean writing and great characters that I deeply care about. In some ways this reminds me of the Night Watch series - a hidden city that only the "sighted" can see. He also reminds me of a but of Tim Powers in terms of wild imagination. Hoo boy, crazy nasty shit happening! In London Falling, we had one of the best witches ever, and here we have terror in the form of a supernatural Jack Ripper type killer.

  • Stephen
    2018-07-28 22:02

    enjoyed the latest in the series was a bit slow to start off but the pace picked up as the book went along and wasn't disappointed in the end

  • Kitvaria Sarene
    2018-07-30 13:44

    While I also short enjoyed this one, the plot was a bit to meandering for me. It took what felt like forever before I (or the characters) actually learned what this story will be about. That is why there's one star missing.Other than that it was a grim, but entertaining read. I liked the characters who got more deep and individual in this story. Extra bonus points for Neil Gaiman being an important aide character.. ;)

  • Coolcurry
    2018-08-14 19:06

    While The Severed Streets may not meet the mark of it’s predecessor, London Falling, it’s still an enjoyable and addicting story.If you aren’t already familiar with London Falling, you should be sure to read it first so you aren’t entering the series midway. The basic premise is of four London police officers who gain the Sight, the ability to see the paranormal side of the city all around them. Basically, the series is urban fantasy with a police procedural bent that occasionally crosses into horror or mystery. The results are fantastic.The four police officers introduced in the prior book continue to be the main characters in The Severed Streets: Quill, the detective inspector who’s struggling with his marriage and depression; Ross, the young intelligence officer who’s got great determination and deep secrets; Costain, a drug addicted undercover agent, who, due to the turn of events, fears he’ll go to Hell; and Sefton, the undercover agent who stays true to his beliefs (well, lack there of) and delves into researching this other side of London.What was interesting in London Falling was how each character reacted to gaining the Sight. In some ways, that holds true for The Severed Streets, but at this point they’re figured more out, although there’s still a lot left that they don’t know. As such, they are mainly over the shock of the first book and have an easier time of it figuring out a procedure in the midst of chaos, which was probably why I found this book less satisfying than the last.I also appreciate the diversity of characters – Quill’s the only straight white guy among the main cast. Costain and Sefton are both black, which is reflected upon in the text – Sefton in particular relates it to his feelings of being out of place, although part of that is also that he’s gay (he has a relationship in both books). While Ross is the only woman among the main four, there’s also Lofthouse, who takes on a greater role in The Severed Streets. That being said, I would still have liked to see more of her and to find out the secrets that she won’t tell the others.The plot of The Severed Streets initially relates to the Jack the Ripper killings. While that angle loses importance near the end, it was still prominent in most of the book. I wasn’t fond of it – Jack the Ripper related plots have been done so many times that it’s hard for me to feel like I’m reading something original.Despite my quibbles with the plot line, the pacing was spot on. I stayed up much latter than I intended reading this one.The most surprising aspect of The Severed Streets was the addition of a real life author as a character (written with permission from the author in question). I was not expecting it in the least and found the initial scene hilariously funny. I was more uncertain latter on – I wasn’t expecting the extent to which the author was used. Note that I’m refraining from telling who the appearing author is. It’s more fun if you discover it for yourself.In the end, The Severed Streets might not be as good as the first, but it’s still a wonderful book. I’d recommend the Shadow Police series to anyone who’s likes urban fantasy or to anyone who likes more regular police procedural and detective stories and is liking to give another genre a try.Also posted on The Illustrated Page.