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The Severed Streets: A James Quill Novel 2

(Shadow Police #2)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,798 ratings  ·  315 reviews
Detective Inspector James Quill and his wily squad of supernatural crime-busters are coming to terms with their new-found second sight. They have a handle on the ghosts and ghouls, but the rest of London's supernatural underworld is still scarily unknown. When a seemingly invisible murderer kills a top cabinet minister in mysterious circumstances, the team knows this is a ...more
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by Macmillan (first published May 20th 2014)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,798 ratings  ·  315 reviews

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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
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 &am
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
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 Gaima ...more
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
Jennifer Gaarder
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The Severed Streets By Paul Cornell
Tor Fantasy, Tom Dougherty and Associates, May 20, 2014

416 Pages, Hardcover Edition

Synopsis of the Severed Streets:
How do you capture a killer who is invisible?

"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,
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
3.5 stars

Is 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, th
Alex Sarll
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 ...more
Eleanor With Cats
Okay, so most of this review is going to be spoilerific. WARNED.

(view spoiler)
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 wi
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 l
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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 ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 J ...more
Tim Hicks
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
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 a
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2016-reads
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 game
The mix of police procedural and the "dark side" of London is excellent.
And there is
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 ser ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 characte ...more
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)
I read the first in this series London Falling awhile 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 o
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 wheth
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. Finall ...more
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 an
Danie Ware
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 surrendere
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
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 t ...more
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
Rpaul Tho
I really enjoyed this book which is why I hesitated to give it three stars versus four. My issue was that it dragged on for quite some time and then in the end when it was all tied together I felt a large portion of the story could have been left out and we still would have had the same ending and effect. I get that it is partially a crime/detective story and you need to move the story along in some fashion, but it just didn’t keep me entertained like the first one did. I also was annoyed by the ...more
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
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 h
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Paul Cornell is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy prose, comics and television. He's been Hugo Award-nominated for all three media, and has won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, and the Eagle Award for his comics. He's the writer of Saucer Country for Vertigo, Demon Knights for DC, and has written for the Doctor Who TV series. His new urban fantasy novel is London Falling, out fr ...more

Other books in the series

Shadow Police (3 books)
  • London Falling (Shadow Police, #1)
  • Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? (Shadow Police, #3)
“It's not for me to share the meanings of others. I am only in charge of my own.” 0 likes
“Graveyards were usually, in his team's experience, a bad idea. This one was full of greenish lights that danced between the graves, and there were a couple of swaying figures, one an emaciated husk with glowing eyes who had taken to ... yes, there he was again this morning, like every morning.

Quill tiredly raised his hand to return the wave.”
More quotes…