POI­SON CITY Dur­ban de­gen­er­a­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 352 pages | Hard­back/ebook Au­thor Paul Cril­ley Pub­lisher Hod­der & stoughton

As ur­ban fan­tasy nov­els go, Poi­son City is a solid ex­am­ple of the genre. The lead char­ac­ter, Gideon Tau, works as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor – specif­i­cally, for Del­phic Di­vi­sion in Dur­ban, South Africa. There’s a good se­lec­tion of mytho­log­i­cal crea­tures from a range of mytholo­gies, from African gods to vam­pires to Abra­hamic an­gels. There are crimes to be in­ves­ti­gated, plucky se­condary char­ac­ters, and the usual smart­mouthed comic re­lief (in this case, a uri­nat­ing al­co­holic Bor­der Terrier that’s ac­tu­ally Tau’s spirit guide). While there’s noth­ing star­tlingly orig­i­nal about it, Poi­son City will suit read­ers of The Dres­den Files or the Rivers Of Lon­don books right down to the ground.

It would have been good if the story felt more African – some­how, most of it feels as though the story could have been dropped into an LA or Lon­don set­ting with very lit­tle dif­fi­culty; lit­tle about it seems tied to its lo­ca­tion. Sim­i­larly Tau is a lit­tle too much the stereo­typ­i­cal “cop with a tragic back­story”, an any­man for any­where. There’s enough ac­tion and enough plot twists to make that ac­cept­able in this initial vol­ume. But if Tau’s ad­ven­tures are to con­tinue, he, and the books, will need to de­velop some depth. Miriam McDon­ald

Also out: Paul Cril­ley’s Dare­devil: The Man With­out Fear, a prose novel based on the Frank Miller comic.

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