THE SEVERED STREETS (JAMES QUILL 2) / AUTHOR: PAUL CORNELL / PUBLISHER: TOR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Paul Cornell’s latest book, The Severed Streets, is the follow up to 2012’s London Falling. It continues the efforts of DI James Quill and his team to deal with the occult side of London. It also tells of their growing understanding of the possibilities of the Sight which allows them to see a side to London not visible to ordinary people.
This time the challenge is not only riots on the streets of London but also what appears to be Jack the Ripper. Paul Cornell does a better job of rounding out the characters in Quill’s team than the first novel, while still retaining his ability to shock. He also only reveals enough of how the occult world works to tell the story and no more. In contrast to Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, there is no casual mixing of worlds or a mentor-like figure; Quill’s team need to find things out for themselves. The horror element is still present and some of the prose is excellent. One thing that readers may find challenging, however, is the way the story brings a real world character into play in the story. There are also a few nods to Doctor Who, though none of these get in the way of the storytelling. The plot brings in more sinister forces in government and the intelligence service and avoids revealing the motives of Quill’s boss Rebecca Lofthouse. This is all guaranteed to hook in the reader and there is a strong sense of darker things to come.
The story has a good balance of action and tension, with some decent twists, though an astute reader will spot one of these without too much effort. Despite some reservations, this is an entertaining story and we look forward to the next release.