Literature / Black London
The Black London
novels are a dark urban fantasy series by Caitlin Kittredge and tell the continuing adventures of a magic talented couple of supernatural troubleshooters in and around London.
Twelve years ago, young Pete Caldecott, smitten with her sister MG's boyfriend Jack Winter, lead singer of the Poor Dead Bastards and badass mage, followed him into a graveyard to help him with some magic. It went wrong. Badly, badly wrong. Jack was savaged by what he summoned. Pete ran, back to the Muggle
world, finished school and went on to live a somewhat normal life, becoming a Detective Inspector at the tender age of 28, at the cost of her relationship.
In the present day, a case she's working on leads her to a tip, and the tip leads her to a filthy fleabag hotel. And in that fleabag hotel sits Jack Winter, with the solution to her problem. Jack Winter whom Pete had thought dead and gone.
After solving that case, the pair of them pretty much stay together, doing supernatural work for hire and protecting people from the dangers of The Black — the supernatural and magical atmosphere and denizens of the UK.
The series currently consists of:
- Street Magic (2009)
- Demon Bound (2009)
- Bone Gods (2010)
- Devil's Business (2011)
- Soul Trade (2012)
- Dark Days (2013).
There is also a novella: The Curse of Four
This series displays the following tropes:
- Black Best Friend: Lawrence the rasta white witch is the closest thing to a good friend Jack has, Pete notwithstanding.
- Blood Magic: Jack's magic often requires him to cut himself 'til he bleeds and use the blood to draw sigils.
- Butt Monkey: Lampshaded by Jack, when he asks where "the arse monkey" is of someone he's being asked to find.
- The Can Kicked Him: Inverted - the bathroom is why they survive in this case.
- Cannot Spit It Out: They dance around whether they're a couple; Jack will tell others how important to him Pete is... and Pete will curse Jack out and tell him how worried for him she is, that she cried over him, but so far, neither of them has come right out and said it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Hell fucking yes, you fucker. Both Pete and Jack and pretty much everyone they meet swears, and copiously, including the 'c' word.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jack and Pete take turns... er, well, no, they snark at each other pretty much. Pete just turns it off when she's being professional.
- Deal with the Devil: Jack Winter made one to survive his first encounter with Algernon Tredwell, and makes another in an attempt to wiggle his way out of the previous one. When that one fails, he agrees to work with the Morrigan to get out of Hell.
- Drugs Are Bad: Played straight, and justified. Pete doesn't trust Jack to play straight with her as long as he's a junkie so she forcibly detoxes him and keeping clean is one of the conditions for continuing to keep her around. And subverted: the reason Jack (and many other people with supernatural talents) did drugs in the first place was because it blocks his Second Sight so he isn't driven insane by it.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: lots of them.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking:
- Pete: Trying to quit, nicotine patches and all, but wigging out from the Black tends to drive her back to the habit.
- Jack: Unrepentant smoker who does it as much for the cool as he does because Pete won't allow him hard liquor or his drug habit.
- Infant Immortality: Subverted in the first book. Of the several endangered children in the first book, they all survive but three of them have been driven insane and magically leached so their eyes are just staring white and blind. In the second, several children ghosts appear.
- London Town: Where the majority of the series takes place, although they do venture out of the city proper when situations call for it.
- Magnetic Medium: If you have a talent that comes with being able to see ghosts, or through the glamour of the fae, or what have you, it's always on and only a limited number of things will mute it or shut it out to give a person enough peace so they don't go insane.
- Mysterious Mist: The Black tends to generate mist when supernatural events encroach on the regular human world.
- Muggles: Anyone who can't sense or deal with the Black. For years, Pete tried to convince herself she was one before finally giving in and accepting it.
- My Car Hates Me: Pete drives a Mini Cooper which behaves temperamentally even mundanely, and more so when supernatural creepiness out of the Black is afoot.
- Near-Death Experience: Pete gives herself a mortal wound so she can help Jack fight off the first book's Big Bad and save his life.
- Our Monsters Are Different:
- Parental Abandonment:
- Disappeared Dad: Connor Caldecott, Pete and MG's father, died before the series begins, and Pete thinks of him often.
- Missing Mom: Lily Caldecott, Pete and MG's mother, and later turns up in Bone Gods with the Order of the Malleus.
- Power Tattoo: Pete gets Jack to get 2 more tattoos, then infuses them with power to keep his second sight at bay so he won't need to drink or shoot up.
- Ominous Fog: Usually means the Black is about to do something unpleasant.
- to Jim Butcher, whose name is on the cover recommending the series:
- Soul Trade has Donovan mentioning the show as "about the wizard with the talking skull and the twatty name."
- A Spot Of Tea: Pete tends to fix tea and sandwiches or tea and curry both to keep her and Jack's strength up, and to assert normal when the Black causes things to get too weird for her to cope with.
- Theme Naming: Pete and MG Pete is short for Petunia and MG short for Morning Glory
- They Fight Crime!: She's a Detective Inspector with a magic talent she's been denying up 'til now. He's a punk rocker junkie mage!
- Tomboyish Name: Pete, and with good reason.
- Troubled, but Cute: Jack
- Unfortunate Names: Pete and MG's full first names are pretty unfortunate.
- Wonder Twin Powers: Pete's powers work this way (especially if she touches the other person) with a lot of other supernatural magic practitioners, making her something of a hot commodity in the Black.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: How the reader can tell Jack is most likely being serious and not just flirty, evasive or lying outright — he will call Pete by her entire first name (once he learns it); which name he fully acknowledges is, in his own words, "dreadful".