Wednesday, February 25, 2015

THE INVISIBLE CODE by Christopher Fowler

Bryant and May are back! Fowler's "Peculiar Crimes Unit" series occupies a place of honor on my Required Reading shelf, and this one is a proud addition.

Bryant and May, the two aging detectives who form the core of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit, are still going their eccentric way in one of mystery fiction's great bromances. They form a longtime partnership that nurtures and sustains them both, and while one may never say to the other, "I love you," in that best-friends-forever way, you can tell that both realize it and understand.

This time, we open with a woman being stalked by two children who think she's a witch. They follow her into a church and determine to kill her....and she dies. Her death is mysterious; no cause found. Meanwhile, a Home Office superior, who's long threatened to shut down the PCU, asks the unit for help. His wife is behaving oddly, seemingly having a mental breakdown and thinking she's being persecuted by supernatural forces. Witches? They're assigned to track her and figure out what's going on.

It all comes together very nicely, in sometimes surprising ways. Fowler takes us into the world of Eastern European immigrants and the privileged ranks of government officials and private clubs. The plot takes surprising, but perfectly reasonable twists, and does flirt with the supernatural, including an encounter with a fellow who seems like he'll be a menace in a future work.

It has a very satisfying conclusion, and the next book in the series, "Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart," is now available. I'll have to start on that soon to find out if my hunch is right...

Anyway, read this. It's a lot of fun. And read the rest of the series as well. You'll thank me.

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