What’s The Burning Man all about?
Still under the auspices of the City of London Police, Bryant & May and the remainder of the Peculiar Crimes Unit are pulled into the investigation of the death of a homeless man during anti-capitalist protests in the city. The man was killed when a bank (in whose doorway he was sleeping rough) is firebombed. But of course there is much, much more to it than that, as an apparent random act is followed by other deaths by fire that indicate that someone is using the rioting as a cover for a protest of his own.
Why did I want to read it?
As I’ve said ad nauseam on this blog, I love these books and look forward to each one, snaffling it as soon as it’s published. Added frisson this time as I got my copy signed (see more of that below), and it might be the last we see of the PCU in this form. Which will be sad if true.
What did I think of it?
Another great story, as always full of plausible events with a strong sense of place and a delight in the characters, building on years of development but never (I think) shutting out the new or casual reader (though of course you always get more out of a series when you read them in order IMHO). And once again Christopher Fowler brings London to life with details of its history and legends underpinning the plot. For a start I am going to have to go and find Crutched Friars next time I’m near the Tower. And it was great to have a relatively rare foray outside of London, to visit the bonfires of Lewes on Guy Fawkes Night. The Book God is a Sussex man and I’ve had the opportunity to see a number of these amazing bonfires being constructed, though never been there on the big night itself, so interesting to see them incorporated into the story in such a significant way.
But back to the story; I was slightly anxious reading this as it seemed that the series was coming to an end, and although the thing that I feared did not come to pass there are significant changes for a number of members (actually probably all of them now I come to think of it) of the PCU. I understand there’s going to be a collection of short stories later in the year but this may very well be the last novel, which makes me sad.
As I mentioned I was lucky enough to get to Forbidden Planet on publication day to finally meet Christopher and get my book signed. He was as lovely and charming as I had expected and it was a real treat to meet him after more than 20 years of reading his books (I first read Darkest Day on holiday in Istanbul in 1993), and I hope to be reading them for many more years to come.