Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel on their cheeky new miniseries, Rivers of London: Cry Fox

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Nov 8, 2017

The Rivers of London series of paranormal crime novels is one of the biggest urban fantasy book franchises from across the pond, with British author Ben Aaronovitch creating a captivating world centered around black London constable Peter Grant and his recruitment into the Metropolitan Police force's supernatural crimes division.

Grant is a rookie cop when he encounters a ghost during a routine murder investigation. With help from the last registered wizard in London, Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, he's suddenly indoctrinated into the weird world of vampires, malevolent spirits, and the goddess of the River Thames.

Since its debut in 2011, the cheeky book series revolving around the apprentice wizard who can speak to the lingering dead has spawned seven novels, one novella, four graphic novel TPB compilations, and an in-the-works BBC TV series. Now a new 4-issue miniseries release from Titan Comics has Grant on the move to unravel a new mystery from The Folly.

Written by Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel, with art from Lee Sullivan and Luis Guerrero, Rivers of London: Cry Fox continues the ghostbusting adventures following the events of the last prose novel, The Hanging Tree. Here's the official solicitation synopsis:

"The bookstore smash-hit returns for a brand-new story, picking up the threads from the most recent bestselling Rivers of London novel, The Hanging Tree!
Peter Grant, apprentice magician and freshly-made detective, tackles supernatural crimes for the London Met, walking the fine line between two worlds to keep the peace!"

In addition to our exclusive 5-page preview in the gallery below, SYFY WIRE spoke to Aaronovitch and Cartmel on what faithful fans of the books and newbie readers can expect from Peter Grant in his continuing encounters with the stranger corners of Olde London.

Rivers of London: Cry Fox #1 leaps into comic shops Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Can you give us a rundown of this new Rivers of London: Cry Fox miniseries and what readers can expect?

Andrew Cartmel: Peter’s cousin Abigail and his police partner Guleed are very much to the fore in this story, which also features Reynard, a very flamboyant and foxy villain from the prose novels. It also reaches back to our graphic novel Night Witch for the plot setup and some of the characters.

How did you get involved with Titan in this next chapter of the ghostbusting saga?

AC: It’s a real pleasure working with Titan, and they’re happy with what we’re doing — and it seems, touch wood, the readers are, too. We are now writing 12 issues of the comic a year (three graphic novels). The process is to pitch stories to the guys at Titan, often over lunch, and they then let us get on with them. It’s a good system.

What makes the character of Constable Peter Grant so captivating to write?

AC: Peter is the exact opposite of your standard cliché cop — who is middle-aged, embittered, alcoholic, and has a broken marriage. Peter is young, idealistic, and having the time of his life, both as a wizard and a cop. It’s his intelligent, optimistic, cheeky outlook which makes the series work.


Why do you believe this supernatural crime series has so much appeal and longevity?

AC: Fingers crossed regarding the longevity, but the appeal is rooted in three things — it is a vivid urban fantasy, it is a very realistic and painstakingly researched police procedural, and it has characters the readers love. Not just Peter, but Nightingale, Molly, Beverley, and now Guleed, Abigail, and an increasing army of others.

What keeps you inspired to expand and evolve the world of Peter Grant and his paranormal exploits?

AC: Writing is the best job in the world. And it is at its absolutely most pleasurable when you’re working on a successful project with an engaged and enthusiastic readership. It really is a privilege, and without wishing to sound cheesy, we thank our lucky stars to be in this position. And we’re determined to keep working at the top of our game and maintain the quality of the series.


How was it co-writing together?

AC: Terrific. Ben needs to write the prose novels, which are very time-consuming, as well as doing everything else in his life (being a successful novelist involves a shedload of promotion, touring, signings — and interviews like this!). So if he’s going to create a comics franchise as well, he needs a partner in crime — so to speak. We’ve worked together for literally decades, have collaborated and co-written on numerous projects, and I have been an avid fan of the Rivers of London series since Ben wrote the first page of it. Plus there’s the fact that I already had a background in writing comics. So it was a no-brainer for us to try co-writing the Rivers comics. To our delight, it clicked immediately with Body Work, and we haven’t looked back.

If you were a ghost detective, whose spirit would you most want to come into contact with and why?

Ben Aaronovitch: Ed McBain. I’d ask him to sign my copies of his 87th Precinct novels.

AC: Rudy Van Gelder, the great jazz recording engineer. I’d ask him what his secret recording technique was.

How did you spend your Halloween night?

BA: Writing the new novel.

AC: Wondering how I’m going to use up all the leftover sweets the trick and treaters didn’t take.



What's next for this Rivers of London franchise in 2018?

AC: Three graphic novels, one prose novel, and perhaps a cheeky little novella.

Did Rivers of London ever become a TV series or is it still in development at BBC?

AC: Keep your fingers crossed. A script has been written and is under consideration even as we speak.