Poison City by Paul Crilley

29379042Title: Poison City

Author: Paul Crilley

Pub Date: August 11th, 2016

My Rating: ★★★★☆

View on Goodreads | Buy on  amazon.co.uk |amazon.com | Book Depository

Do  you like books that involve:

  • crime?
  • mystery?
  • fantasy?
  • magic? (+ Harry Potter references in jokes!)
  • vampires, angels, faeries and all the possible fantasy characters out there?
  • talking dogs?
  • bad-ass fighting scenes?
  • sarcastic sidekicks?
  • British characters with undeniably British humor?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions (or better- to all of them) you are in luck! Because this book has it all and more! I enjoyed it so much that I don’t know if I’ll be able to write it all down. This book made me stay up late, and I don’t do that much those days.

If there are people out there that answers ‘no’ to all of the questions – I don’t know what I can say to save you. Books with those themes are pretty cool, so reconsider your book preferences, maybe it’s time to read something different?

Gideon Tau, whom everyone calls London, lives in Durban (nickname – Poison City), South Africa. He works for the Delphic Division, the occult investigation unit of the police service. He is determined to find his daughter killer – his need for vengeance is the only thing left fueling him. He lives with a dog who loves his tv series and his booze.

I sigh. You know all those cute dogs in the movies you saw as a kid? Jock? Benji? Lassie? Well, the dog is nothing like that.

He’s the complete opposite of that. He’s the dog equivalent of a pervert in a dirty raincoat, sucking methylated spirits through a loaf of bread while watching porn and cackling to himself. He looks a bit like a border terrier, but don’t let that fool you. Cute and friendly he is not.

The world is full of all the different kinds of fantasy creatures – orishas. There are vampires, werewolf, other were-creatures, gods, goddesses, the God (Christian one) and his angels, mythical creatures. Everything you can imagine lives in the Nightside and also can work and live in the Dayside.

Here’s the thing. Shinecraft is everywhere. Always has been. Always will be. And there are a thousand different ways to use it. To name a few: binding. Demon summoning. Cursing. Golemancy. Necromancy. Magical sigils. Warding. Divination. Tasseography. Oneiromancy. Scrying. Illusion. Vivimancy. Runes. Heka. Mind reading. Alchemy. And there are more.

The killing of a ramanga – a low-key vampire, starts a huge case of deaths, fights, and secrets. London and his boss Armitage are swept into a world of a huge secret that is kept and secured by the most powerful of the world – not only powerful humans but also orishas. The closer they get to finding out what is the secret, the more in danger they are.

This. This is what we are. This is what we do to each other. Forget the orisha. Forget the monsters under the bed. We’re the fucking monsters under the bed. We’re the ones who do this. Mankind is the bogeyman. The word humanity doesn’t mean kindness, caring. If it represents us as a species then it means evil. Perversion.

The big secret – it’s mindblowing when we find out what is going on. I think that the political aspect of the story is perfect and without the fantasy part is probably true to some extent, and that’s scary. Overall the story is amazing, fast-paced and funny, and great to read. Highly recommended.


Take a drink every time someone calls Gideon Harry Potter

Check out each blog on the crawl to get all the rules to the Poison City Drinking Game! What is your drink of choice while reading?

The dog is London’s friend and an amazing sidekick who is making the story more vivid and funny. Check out the author’s list of five favourite fictional sidekicks!



So. Sidekicks. They make the world go round. (Or is that money? Or perhaps editors?) Anyhoo, the best sidekicks bring out the best and worst qualities of your main character. And they can do it by being as mean and dislikable as you want to make them, because the sidekick is there to add fun. And insults.

Lots of insults.

Also, in my opinion, the best sidekicks don’t know they’re sidekicks. They tend to think they’re the main character, despite the hero of the story’s attempts to convince him or her otherwise. Take the dog as an example. You tell the dog he’s London’s sidekick, he’ll laugh derisively in your face, finish his sherry, follow you home, and cock his leg against your head while you sleep.

Here is a short list of my favourite fictional sidekicks.

  1. Dr. John Watson

The straight man to Sherlock Holmes’ heroin-addicted consulting detective. He’s only this low on the list because he’s a bit boring. But still, he’s one of the first. The archetype. The Ur-sidekick. So we’ll forgive him his staid manner. Plenty time later to mix up the sidekick trope. 

  1. Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

Samwise falls into the John Watson side of things. Loyal, perhaps a tad boring at first, but as the story unfolds we realize he’s the true heart of Lord of the Rings. Frodo never have finished his mission if it wasn’t for Sam helping him up the slope of Mount Doom. In fact, Tolkien even said that Sam was the true hero of the story.

  1. Ukko the Dwarf

Perhaps not as well known as the others on this list. Created by Patt and Angie Mills to accompany their Celtic warrior, Slaine, Ukko is the epitome of the rude sidekick, and is probably the closest fictional cousin to the dog. I grew up reading Slaine and 2000AD, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that he sank into my subconscious a bit. He’s a thief, a con-dwarf, and would probably sell Slaine out to his enemies for a few coppers, but he’s great fun to read.

  1. Chewbacca, Star Wars

200 years old, Chewbacca’s sidekick status stems from his life-debt to Han Solo. But in the manner of the best sidekicks, that debt grew into a proper friendship and he became the first mate of the Millennium Falcon. Strong and vocal, (even though we don’t know what he’s saying). And remember, always let the Wookie win. 

  1.  Jack Burton, Big Trouble in Little China

That’s right. Jack “Everybody relax, I’m here” Burton is number one on my list of favourite sidekicks. The swaggering John Wayne wannabee truck driver epitomizes the best of the sidekick trope. Especially the fact that he doesn’t even know he’s the sidekick. He thinks he’s the hero.

But he’s not. Wang is. Wang is the capable one, whereas Jack just stumbles in, causes chaos and destruction, and saves the day more or less by accident. He also knocks himself unconscious during the climax by firing into the air and knocking a chunk of ceiling loose. Jack has no idea he’s not the hero, and that’s what makes him so fun to watch.

So. There’s my top 5 fictional sidekicks. If this list was longer, I’d add others. Inigo Montoya, Hermione and Ron, Madmartigan, to name a few.

But for now, that’s it. Enjoy the book!



I received the book from the publisher via Book Bridgr. All opinions are mine.  

6 thoughts on “Poison City by Paul Crilley

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