“Breaking The Lore – Inspector Paris #1” by Andy Redsmith

“Breaking The Lore” is… well really quite unusual. It’s a sort of humorous supernatural detective story that is serious about world-building and providing a puzzle-to-solve-plot and keeps its tongue pushed firmly into its cheek for everything else.

Of course, any book that involves a senior police officer stumbling across the existence of large numbers of supernatural creates in Manchester is bound to be unconventional. Add in demons as the supernatural creature all the other supernaturals hate and then set up the possibility of a demon war in Manchester’s leafy suburbs and you have something decidedly odd.

I was encouraged by the first two sentences of “Breaking The Lore”. They’re up there at the top of my “set the bar high” quotes for starting a book:

Discovering fairies at the bottom of the garden is supposed to be good luck. Except when the fairy has been crucified.

This kind of humour by juxtaposition is one of the things the book does well, constantly appearing to lead you in one direction and while really heading in another. It’s also not above corny jokes, over-elaborate groan-making puns and character names that take the piss – a troll princess called Rocky – really?.

Some of the humour comes from playing off almost-clichéd characters against each other in unexpected ways. The core human team is a clever but not sociable Detective Inspector who “lubricates” his problem-solving by drinking large amounts of whiskey while alone, a Detective Sargeant who is big, strong, enthusiastic and seems too stupid ever to have passed the Sargeant’s exam and a young (at least by comparison to the middle-aged Detective Inspector) Witch who is unflappable, may or may not be able to do magic but definitely gives great banter and dry wit.

The supernaturals include just about every race you can think of but the core team consists or an elf, a troll, a demon, a talking crow and a bunch of dwarfs.

“Breaking The Lore” was light, fast fun with some original twists, humour that will make you laugh or groan and some methods of combat that I’ve never seen used before. Probably best enjoyed on a sunny day with a beer in your hand and your favourite comfort food / snacks nearby.

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