The Furthest Station. Book Review

Gollancz, h/b & ebook, Kindle £6.99, 128pp hardback £8.99
Reviewed by Chris Limb

A series of incidents have been reported on the Metropolitan Line over the past week. Transport for London is treating these as superstitious. There is a good service on all other lines.

When reports of commuters on their way in to Central London from Metro-land being harassed by ghosts come to the attention of British Transport Police their first instinct is to contact the Special Assessment Unit aka the Folly, the covert Metropolitan Police department specifically dealing with the paranormal, supernatural and other assorted Weird Shit. PC Peter Grant is put on the case and begins ghost hunting up and down the line between Baker Street and Harrow-on-the-Hill. It soon becomes clear that these are no ordinary ghosts. For one thing they all seem to catch specific trains. For another they’re oddly fragile…

The Furthest Station is a sidestep from the main arc plot of the perennially popular PC Peter Grant novels and at a push probably could be read as a stand alone—but on the other hand why would anyone want to when the whole series is so enjoyable? Even so, this novella is more or less self-contained plot-wise despite a number of references and asides that aficionados of the previous five full-length novels will probably get the most out of.

Once again the mix of police procedural and urban fantasy is compelling, the blend so perfect as to make magic seem just as believable as any of the more everyday elements that make up this urban fantasy version of London. The police-eye view of the general public is as intriguing as ever, the mutual suspicion with which they regard each other just as strong whether magic is involved or not. The witty narrative itself impels the reader on through the story in an addictive manner and is peppered with intriguing ideas and alternative takes on the supernatural (the comparison of ghosts and dreams is just perfect), and despite its length manages to pack in quite a few surprises as well.

The universe of the Peter Grant novels is an ever-expanding one, with a range of original graphic novels (and now exclusive audiobooks) all being canon and feeding into the main flow. The Furthest Station is a marvellous addition to this continuing story and—its side step status notwithstanding—no doubt contains important developments that will come to the fore in later instalments. Essential reading.