5 out of 5 stars

There are a lot of people living in the capital, at the last count 8 million; it is dynamic, restless and constantly changing. However, not everything is gloss and glamour. Parts of the capital don’t even feel safe any time of the day, the seedier areas can creep out the bravest souls and things that have been thought long dead, still can be found if you know where to look.

Walking was the only way to map the streets of London Incognita

Danny has been searching for the stories of London Incognita, collecting them, writing them down in a cheap journal and hoping that what he gleans will help him define his own identity. But one of those presences is aware of what he is doing, the Judderman. The first Gary, Danny’s brother knows about all of this is when Danny disappears and as he walks the streets looking for him, he realises that it is something that he may not be able to escape from either

I was no longer an outsider; instead I was part of a club I never wished to be a member of.

Some of the stories feel dreamlike, so take us into the sewers, disused railway arches a spriggan leering face is visible among the graffiti. The mudlarks hold some of the keys to the darker snapshots of London’s history and finding the flickering woman may offer a route to the place where no shadows fall…

I went into this completely blind, I hadn’t even read the blurb before. It took me a short while to realise that these are a collection of short stories that have common links, characters and themes. The thing that ties that all together into a cohesive, slightly chilling whole. It is like Neverwhere taken up another notch before they get to London below. Budden has got the balance about right, there is enough detail about the grimmer darker, seedier parts of the capital without it becoming too much and the folk horror elements reveal enough to let my imagination run wild. My favourites were Sky City and My Queen, but they were all very good indeed.

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