First Encounters (Killing Spree week) by Victoria Goldman

Today’s Killing Spree piece is from Victoria who blogs at Off-the-shelf book reviews. Victoria talks about reading books from a series. You can see more of Victoria’s reviews on her blog. My thanks to Victoria for her great guest post.

First Encounters (Killing Spree week) – Victoria Goldman, Off-the-shelf book reviews.

As a book blogger, I often get asked to review a crime novel that’s the latest in an established series. Not all book bloggers will do this. But I’m usually happy to read the book as a standalone, knowing nothing about the previous books’ plots or characters. After all, this is how many new readers first encounter a crime series, picking up the latest novel on the ‘Bestsellers’ shelf.

Authors usually set out to make sure their new readers will enjoy the latest book as much as existing fans. Most of the time this works well for me, since the authors are able to provide enough background to keep me satisfied. I may even enjoy the latest book so much that I then buy the previous books too. But occasionally I am left with unanswered questions, which leaves me frustrated.

Sometimes it’s good to set aside time to read an ongoing series from the beginning – and hope that I’ll catch up before the next book is published.

Around 18 months ago, I downloaded Ben Aaronovitch’s first Rivers of London novel onto my Kindle, with every intention of reading it straight away. Yet thanks to my book addiction, and also becoming a book blogger, it’s been festering on my Kindle ever since. Until a few weeks ago, when I finally decided to take the plunge, ignoring my ‘more urgent’ TBR pile.


For anyone who doesn’t know, the Rivers of London series was launched in 2011. It’s published by Gollancz (an Orion imprint). The 5th book was published in paperback in July 2015. The next book – The Hanging Tree  – will be published in June 2016. 

This is a crime series with a supernatural element. It follows the adventures of Peter Grant, a Detective Constable and new trainee wizard. So far in the first book, I’ve met lots of intriguing characters and visited some dark, mysterious places, as Peter Grant is being exposed to magic for the first time. I love the humour and also that the book is set in London, with its familiar landmarks (as this is where I live).

Since there are five published books in the Rivers of London series so far, I still have a long way to go before I catch up. With my current TBR pile of review books (both printed books and e-books), it’s likely to take me a while. But I’m looking forward to enjoying the journey along the Rivers of London – and according to some of my blogger friends, I won’t be disappointed.

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