Poison City - Paul Crilley

#BlogTour: #Review & #Feature: Poison City by Paul Crilley @paulcrilley @HodderBooks

Welcome to my stop on the Poison City Blog Tour, written by Paul Crilley and published by Hodder & Stoughton. I’m very pleased to be taking part in the tour especially as today is the book’s release, I have a treat for you today, with my review, a Q&A with one of the characters from the book, and the start of a drinking game which will continue through the tour!

The name’s Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things – finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I’m going to do to the bastard when I catch him.

I have two friends. The first is my boss, Armitage, a fifty-something DCI from Yorkshire who looks more like someone’s mother than a cop. Don’t let that fool you. The second is the dog, my magical spirit guide. He talks, he watches TV all day, and he’s a mean drunk.

Life is pretty routine – I solve crimes, I search for my daughter’s killer. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the day I’m called out to the murder of a ramanga – a low-key vampire – basically, the tabloid journalist of the vampire world. It looks like an open and shut case. There’s even CCTV footage of the killer.

Except… the face on the CCTV footage? It’s the face of the man who killed my daughter. I’m about to face a tough choice. Catch her killer or save the world? I can’t do both.

It’s not looking good for the world.

Poison City is the first in a fantastical new series for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz and Stephen King.

Q&A with The Dog:
The Dog is Gideon Tau’s spirit guide, he is also a chronic alcoholic…

How do you become a spirit guide?
Wow. Good question. Truth is, it’s a calling. A deep, spiritual connection that forms between yourself and your human—
I’m sorry… I can’t keep a straight face. No, none of that’s true. Nine times out of ten, it’s boredom. Simple as that. A desire for something different. And the rest of the time it’s just for the change in scenery. You think it’s fun in Nightside? That place never stays the same. You go to bed in one place, you can wake up chained to a rock in a fiery pit with ghosts sucking out your marrow. What the hell’s up with that?

Do you choose your form, if so why a dog?
You do choose your form. Usually guides are invisible. It’s encouraged. But I’m not one for the disembodied-voice-in-the-head-shtick. I did it a few times in the past and my humans usually ended up in padded cells. (None of the other guides ever had that problem. I don’t know if I’m just bad a picking humans or if there’s something about my company that drives people insane. I haven’t given it much thought. Don’t really care, to be honest.)

What would you say is the role of a spirit guide?
To stop mankind unravelling reality. The Accountants really don’t want that. You know that Trump guy? Imagine him with his finger on the nuke button. That’s what magic users are like. We’re here to make sure none of you hit the button.

How would you describe Gideon Tau?
Morose bastard. Always going on about his daughter. God, it gets old, you know? He needs a hobby. Or a girlfriend. Not that anyone else would put up with him. He still reads comics, for God’s sake!

What do you like most about being Gideon’s spirit guide?
He buys me sherry. Lots of it. I think he does it just to shut me up, but I’m cool with that.

…and what do you like least?
All that “justice” crap. Doing the right thing, no matter what. And I’m not talking the law. Like, what your police say is right and wrong. I’m talking about the constant morality play that goes on in his head.

Which of the Gods is your most & least favourite?
Anansi is a laugh. Bit full of himself, but he’s got a sense of humor, something most Gods do not have. Jesus, you know how serious these Gods take themselves? Clinging onto their followers and demanding this and that. Pathetic.

Least favorite? Thor. I met him a few hundred years ago and I thought he was okay. Likes a drink, you know? But turns out he’s one of those drunks who just gets annoying after a few pints. Violent. Wants to fight everyone and everything. He ended up headbutting a tree over and over till it fell down. He was so proud of himself. Idiot.

Gideon references a lot of movies in the book…which is your favourite?
Highlander. Unless I’m drunk, which is quite often, then I watch dog movies so I can insult the screen. Lassie. Benji, those kind of things. Stupid dogs.

If you could write a book what would it be about?
I’m actually writing one now. It’s for the spirit guides. It’s called “Knowing and Controlling your Humans: What to do when you get tied to an idiot.” Gideon features a lot in it.


Poison City is an urban fantasy and mystery set in South Africa. Gideon Tau is a detective in the Delphic Division of the South African Police, a division which specifically investigates supernatural events and where the detectives have magical powers.

Gideon is haunted by the murder of his daughter a few years previous under mysterious circumstances and the book opens in pretty dramatic fashion while he investigates a lead into who did it.

Paul Crilley manages to cram most types of lore into this book in some way with multiple types of fae, vampires, demons, gods, mentioned even in passing. He has built a rather large world with some of it far more prevalent in South Africa where this book is based. As this is the first in a new series I imagine the world building will continue in further books with some of the creature lines being further developed.

The creatures which were developed within this novel were detailed and easy to picture, the fight scenes were graphic and full of gore. What I particularly loved was there was no love lost between the creatures and the humans, this felt real and brutal.

I loved the references to films and TV shows scattered through the book, people do this when talking and describing things and it made Gideon feel more real to me.

Gideon’s spirit guide his dog was easily one of the best characters in the book, having a drunk dog with a dry sense of humour was a stroke of genius. Some of the lines the dog has in the book are hilarious and had me laughing out loud.

Overall this book has everything you need for a perfect urban fantasy, and in the original setting of South Africa. This is an absolute must read for anyone who enjoys this genre. I can’t wait for the next book!

Thank you very much to Paul Crilley and Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of the novel via BookBridgr to review this book honestly for the blog tour.

Drinking Game Rule:
Take a drink when someone dies and/or comes back to life. *Cheers*

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars


Paul Crilley - Author ImageAbout Paul Crilley:
Paul Crilley is a Scotsman adrift in South Africa and has been writing professionally for the past 17 years. In that time he has worked on over thirteen television shows, one of which was nominated for an international Emmy award.

He has written eight novels, worked on five computer games, and also written comics for IDW. His previous novels include The Invisible Order books, a middle grade series about a hidden war being fought between various factions of faeries in the streets of Victorian London, The Adventures of Tweed & Nightingale, about a teenage clone of Sherlock Holmes, and My Zombie Hamster, (written under the pseudonym Havelock McCreely). Poison City is his debut adult novel.

Links: Goodreads | Twitter

TitlePoison City
Series: N/A
Author: Paul Crilley
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 11 August 2016
Review Format: Hardcover
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback | Audio
Pages: 352
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon USNook | KoboiBooks

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I'm BrizzleLass, I have Bipolar and have been dealing with mental illness in one form or another since childhood, I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. It's not easy speaking out about my experiences, some of them are extremely painful, but if I can help even one person then I have succeeded in sharing my story. This is where I talk about my mental health among other things that interest me. I enjoy walking, PlayStation, reading, heavy metal, and spending time with my Niece.

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