If Pigs Could Fly is the first book in the West Kensington Paranormal Detective Agency (WKPDA) series. This humorous urban fantasy is set in the UK; the novel is grounded in our reality and doesn’t feel like an alternative world. The supernatural in this book seems to be just round the corner, always just out of sight. Jonny Nexus throws us straight in to the story with the main characters about to arrive in Yorkshire on what they hope will be their first real case of the unknown.
The WKPDA are a bunch of amateurs led by Ravinder Shah, a social worker with the belief that there must be more to life than what he sees every day. This leads him to create the WKPDA with his unwitting sidekick The Professor, who is one of Ravinder’s charges in his day job. The third member is Ravinder’s friend’s dog Jess, who he has borrowed for the ride. The three members of the team manage to complement each other so that they are not completely ineffective.
Ravinder is an everyman, he is someone that seems to under-achieve the expectations of his family and work colleagues, but he is also driven in his quest to make his life more interesting and it is this willingness to uncover the truth that allows this story to blossom. Ravinder is helped at every turn by The Professor, who is an intelligent older gentleman that uses his knowledge to help solve the conundrums that the team face. This leaves Jess as the brave one relying on her canine senses. It has to be said that she is probably the most charismatic member of the team, especially when we are included in her logical dog thoughts.
If Pigs Could Fly goes much further than flying pigs, in fact the fledgling WKPDA are about to step through the looking glass and have their idea of reality changed forever. The WKPDA were looking for the unusual and end up getting far more than they bargained for. Once the story starts they are thrown into the deep end with no real back up to rely on. Things take a turn for the worse when it turns out that vampires are real and living in York. Although the team are soon caught up in events that may turn out to be an even bigger threat to their lives, this occurs during the course of the WKPDA’s investigation into vampires, as they stumble upon the plans of a large secret society that has no compunction in keeping itself hidden.
I think what stands out in the novel most is that for an urban fantasy novel none of the main characters have any special powers or skill sets that you would normally find in these kinds of stories. It is easier to put yourself in their situation and wonder what you would do in their shoes. I also enjoyed the fact that although the characters are based in London; this is a novel that travels across a large part of northern England. The character interactions in this book really standout, from the friendship between Ravinder and the Professor to how Ravinder interacts with his family. If Pigs Could Fly has a wicked sense of humour that keeps the pace of the book constantly engaging and witty. I was surprised how funny I found If Pigs Could Fly!
Review by Michelle Herbert
7.5/10 from 1 reviews
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