Poison City by Paul Crilley

Posted On 15 August 2016

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 17 responses

Poison cityPoison City is the first in a new Urban Fantasy series by Paul Crilley set in South Africa.  The main protagonist, one Gideon Tau (nicknamed London Town) works for the Delphic Division of the South African police force.  The Delphic Division keep all the supernaturals in the City from misbehaving and given the number of other worldly critters out there it isn’t an easy job!  At the start of the story London is about to investigate the death of a ramanga who died a most violent death having not only his chest cavity laid waste to but also having had his head removed – well, I don’t suppose you can be too careful with vampires, even if the vampire in question is a down at the bottom of the pile, lowly, ramanga!

So the scene is set.  London is sent to investigate.  And the Body count is set to explode.

In terms of the setting.  Based in Durban (otherwise fondly referred to as the Poison City that gives the book it’s name) we have a world where every sort of supernatural creature exists.  If you can think of it then it no doubt lives – including Gods, angels and demons.  There is a covenant in place between the supernaturals and humans which helps to keep the peace and the Delphic Division are the ones who enforce that agreement.  Think Men in Black but with werewolves and vampires rather than aliens.  It’s an interesting world full of dark possibilities and frankly crammed to the gills with imagination involving sea deities, secret fae markets and a labyrinth of waste tunnels where the effluence is the least worrying thing to deal with!  On top of the supernatural element Crilley gives the story a different twist by throwing into the mix a society where corruption is rife amongst the topmost echelons and government officials.

The characters are a mixed bunch indeed.  We have the Delphic Division which seem to include a number of none human employees and even a talking dog that provides spiritual guidance to the main character.  London himself has a terrible history that haunts his dreams.  His daughter has been murdered and his marriage ended as a result.  It’s actually an incredibly sad storyline although maybe not the first time that we’ve seen it used to create a hard boiled and cynical detective.  Basically London’s motivation now revolves solely around revenge!  His actions are all led by his need to avenge his daughter’s death and whilst sometimes his rash decisions assist the work of the Division it does make him into something of a maverick who frequently makes the wrong choices with quite disastrous results.  His sidekick, known only as Dog, does help to bring a measure of relief to the story by the use of the sarcastic banter between the two.  Basically, the dog is a raging alcoholic with a penchant for sherry and soap operas and London is a man on a mission who also likes to find solace in the bottom of a bottle and isn’t above making some very self centred decisions.   I think there is a lot of potential for both London and the dog to grow in this series.  At the moment they’re entertaining but I wouldn’t say they’re really showing their full potential although being the first in the series there’s a lot to get across.  I really liked the character Armitage, London’s hard assed boss who experiences a very unusual character development that I won’t elaborate on.

I can’t really write much more without spoiling the plot for other readers.  I thought this was a fast paced, murder mystery, packed with supernatural elements and with an entertaining duo at it’s centre.  There’s a very interesting magical system in place that involves tattoos and magical wands and the story is littered throughout with cultural references that will undoubtedly bring a cheesy grin to the faces of most readers.

I thought this was a really enjoyable read.  A dark and cruel world that I certainly don’t want to live in but would definitely like to visit again through the pages of a book!

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.




17 Responses to “Poison City by Paul Crilley”

  1. Ola

    I really enjoyed this book, there are so many different fantasy elements, and crime and mystery and it all works perfectly together. Great fun to read.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was really good fun to read to be honest. I enjoyed all the references and I also thought it was a great idea to make the human behaviour so questionable and turn on it’s head a little bit about who the actual monsters are!
      Lynn 😀

  2. sjhigbee

    This sounds like an intriguing read – have you read Zoo City by Lauren Bueukes? It’s also set in South Africa with a supernatural/fantastic twist to it involving animals and souls. The talking dog puts me in mind of Kevin Hearn’s godpunk Iron Druid series, which like many, gets steadily darker, but because of the protagonist’s chatty hound, retains a strong sense of humour throughout. I’m guessing this would be a fairly bleak read without the talking dog? Thank you for sharing – I really enjoyed this review:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      I have read Zoo City and really enjoyed it – Lauren Beukes is definitely one of my favourite authors. I love Iron Druid chronicles and need to catch up – I’m either on 4 or 5 but Atticus and Oberon are such a fantastic team. There are definitely dark elements to this story but there is also humour sprinkled through.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        I caught up last year – and it’s worth doing so:). I was wondering whether Poison City was comparable to either of those reads…

      • @lynnsbooks

        Well, now I think about it, apart from the setting obviously, Zoo City has a similar feel to this one – don’t get me wrong, the story is completely different but they’re both similarly dark and have a way of looking at the seedy underbelly of things. I don’t think Poison City has the same feel as the Iron Druid Chronicles – that seems much more fun (I suppose is the only way to put it) but they’re similar in that they have dogs who can communicate and also all the popular references. So, yeah, I think there are definite areas for comparison.
        Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Yes… rather than just firing the question at you about whether you’d read the books – I should have initially mentioned I was wondering whether they reminded you of Poison City… It is certainly tempting me – but I MUST get my TBR under control!

  3. Tammy

    I’ve had my eye on this but I don’t think it’s out in the U.S. I’m glad you enjoyed it, I’m especially interested in the talking dog, and I’m always on the lookout for those:-)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ahh, I hadn’t realised that this wasn’t out in the US. The sidekick dog is pretty good fun – he’s very cynical and a bit bitter but the banter between the two is good reading.
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    A man and his dog – and both of them are alcoholics… This sounds like some very interesting character study, paired with an equally interesting UF setting.
    Sold! 😉

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really liked the setting and the duo. Some interesting ideas and a good stream of humour.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve only read one Paul Crilley novel, and it’s from his YA/MG series. I’d love to check this one out, hopefully it’ll get a US release date 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I hadn’t realised this was UK only – I hope it comes over the pond.
      Lynn 😀

  6. tenaciousread

    Hmm…as much as I love sarcastic banter, I typically don’t do well with talking animals, so not sure about this one.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s probably not for everyone but I thought it had a lot going for it. Plus it’s a slightly darker than usual UF.
      Lynn 😀

  7. August: My month in review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Poison City – by Paul Krill […]

  8. Hiding in plain sight! Hidden gems… | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Poison City – by Paul Krill – The name’s Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things – finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I’m going to do to the bastard when I catch him. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s