Monday 30 January 2012

Starting with a Dissapointment

The downside to the wham episode cliffhanger season closer is that, when the new season finally rolls around, you have to sit through a dull opening episode. Or at least I think it's dull, the Evil Monster Boy tends to shout 'best episode ever' and rewind to make me watch anything I've missed.

I put up with this behaviour by telling myself that he's only sixteen and, besides, in a few years be living somewhere else(1). I don't blame writers and producers for wanting to have wham episodes but like much in television these days it seems to have become a requirement rather than a joy. The problem is that the real appeal of a TV series(2) is spending quality time with fictional characters you like. This involves building a consensus reality that the viewer can slip into once a week with an expectation that they're going to get more of the same.

A wham episode by definition blows this all to shit so that you spend the summer wondering what the fudge is going to happen next. That's one source of dissapointment but now the consensus has been shattered it means that the primary role of the season opener is to recreate that consensus - everything else, story, character and plausibility are secondary. This is why they often feel unsatisfactory.

Sometimes that have to spend two episodes putting humpty dumpty back together(3) which just doubles the tedium. So please, for the love of god, can we skip the wham episode this season.

(1) No doubt I will be sad and lonesome without him but at least I'll be able to fast forward through the dull bits of season openers.
(2) British TV hardly ever makes proper TV series any more so the art form is mainly confined to the US and, oddly, Denmark.
(3) Often taking the opportunity to remove any troublesomely popular POC characters and replace with them with skinny redheads.

Friday 27 January 2012

Currently Reading: The Languages of Pao

Those of you who follow my current reading blog may have noticed that a fair amount Jack Vance creeping in. This is because Gollancz's excellent SF Gateway site has allowed me to revisit, at a reasonable price, the books of my youth but also books that I never had a chance to read. I'm looking forward to some classic early work by Ian Watson and John Brunner but for now I am satiating myself on Jack Vance.

The Languages of Pao was written in 1958 so counts amongst his very earliest work and it will be interesting to see how much of the distinctive Vancian voice had developed by then.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Sea, Sand and....Science Fiction

Next weekend I shall be off to spend another glorious weekend by the sea courtesy of SFX Magazine who, no doubt worried they'd miss their fat middle aged geek quota, have invited me to attend. So it's off to the legendary seaside paradise of Prestatyn from the 3rd to the 5th.

My itinary is not yet fixed but I can say that I will be signing books at the Forbidden Planet table at 5pm on Friday (my current record for the largest number of people asking for my autograph last year was six - I'm hoping to beat that this year). On Saturday at 11am I will be on a panel with much more famous people to talk about Urban Fantasy. At some point I will be hosting a Q&A with Sylvestor McCoy and Sophie Aldred. In between those engagements I'll be wandering around aimlessly, drinking in the pub and available to sign books - especially if they're ones I've written.(1)

(1) I'm perfectly happy to sign books that other people have written but I feat that that might be somewhat pointless.

Monday 23 January 2012

A Year of Reviews

It's been a year and a bit since my first non tie-in novel was published and I've read a lot of reviews. I tried not to but I could no more resist them than I could a jumbo sized packet of chocolate covered peanuts. And like the chocolate peanuts I don't think devouring them did me much good but what you going to do?

To commemorate I thought I'd blog some of my favourite review quotes; the criteria being not whether they were favourable or damning but whether they stood out in some way - fun, insightful, clueless, zany or just plain incomprehensible.

Short and Sweet

London. Police. Wizards. Love. (I want this on a T-shirt)
Way better than most of the paranormal police procedurals out there, but from me that's like saying this is the most enjoyable open heart surgery.
(Lovely image)
Loved it until page 304, then lost me completely at page 382.
(Wonderfully specific)
I f**king love this book.
(Hic. you're my best friend aintcha)
DNF. One-word review: tedious.
I suggest you start reading this book without knowing a thing about it.
(Too Late)
sexist author is sexist
(I was tempted to respond 'Lazy critic is lazy' but I've been told not to do stuff like that.)

Peter Grant...

...a mixed-race hero - hurrah!
...struck me more like a preppie than a police officer...
There is no Ron or Hermione...
I love his slightly different background and POV!
...seemed to sort of bumble around and take his queues from the other characters instead of standing on his own. a little wooden, although likeable...
...adorable, feisty, and at times completely clueless.
...(and hot…. Peter Grant? Come on, you totally would.)
Sadly, the main character is a bit of a Nice Guy & far too much time is spent going on about women who wont shag him...
...he's not divorced, he's not bitter, he's not lonely, he's not white.
...I think Harry might have been a bit more competent than Peter Grant is. self respecting mixed race person that would ever describe themselves as "a little bit ethnic". I promise you that would get ad-lib if it were on TV.
Had Harry Potter been this boring, I would have rooted for Voldemort.


If the book had included a map this might have been a little bit easier.
I found the geography lessons more interesting than the plot...
Just a shame his UK publisher titled it Rivers Of London. Almost didn't pick it up, thinking it was actually about the rivers of London.
As a native Londoner this book makes me homesick.

The women...

I really could have done without the stereotypical lesbian - because all lesbians look like men and have hair that looks like a bicycle helmet, ya know...
...women aren't just breasts and vaginas, which the narrator and the world of the book often seems to forget.
...his approach to female characters verged on misogynistic (really!)...
...a somewhat magical woman, associated with the River Thames, starts out as a sexy love interest, ends traded to a group of magical country rubes, perhaps as a sex willing concubine.

The Author... seems that this series will be a repository for all his ideas that wouldn't make it into Doctor Who in a month of Sundays - even the Torchwood team would balk at many of them. 
...I'm thinking the author might have some unconscious issues with women. far more interested in jazz and the architecture of London than he is on magic, policework, action, sex, or anything else...
The story is...
...definitely a little strange.
I found myself alternately getting bored enough to contemplate giving up, then getting to an action scene that was interesting enough to give me hope that the rest of the book would hold my attention. Unfortunately the slow parts-then-good stuff pattern would then repeat itself...
I didn't know what was going on half of the time.
The plotting is a little herky-jerky at times...
...started out as a fantastic crooked little adventure and ended muddled and boring.
...loafs along with the easy inevitability of Agatha Christie mystery.
...good and boring at same time.
An average Urban Fantasy that is more concerned with London than story or magic or anything else really...
...A fun and intertaining Torchwoodesque story.
Pap, but enjoyable, well-crafted pap.
An unremarkable book full of remarkable things.(1)
It was a bit too swift in places which made following the details of the case difficult.
...a fun, quirky book which is light to read and yet still sinister. innocent will not want to read these books. But, they are fun.
This is a fun and entertaining book that is trying really hard to be even more fun and entertaining than it is.

And as for the style...

The paragraph lengths (very, very long) are also daunting.
The prose isn't perfect - I do wish Mr Aaronovitch had used a few more semicolons and a few less commas...
I don't see how it's different from Anita Blake or The Dresden Files, except for the exotic british slang.
I'm still not sure I approve of how often Google & YouTube were mentioned.
...a concoction consisting of the humor of Terry Pratchett, a dice of Neil Gaiman's characters and plot and finally a fixer kind of guy and supernatural goings on from Jim Butcher.
Is this fine literature? No. Is it well written? Not particularly.
As one who prefers good and[sic] grammar to bad and loathes "metrication" very deeply, this does not appeal.
Like a Mark Billingham rewritten by Robert Rankin.
More popcorn for the mind...


Judging by the book blurb and author quotes on the cover, this book seemed like it should have been something I'd enjoy, but I have to say I was disappointed.
I’m not ready for another trip into the fairy world.
The humour evaporates, as does the novelty...
...I initially judged the book by the cover and thought this was going to be written more seriously than it was.
I can't see much resemblense[sic] to it and for me Dresden Files is a lot more funnier written than Midnight Riot.
Disappointing, particularly so given the 4-star average rating. ...The world-building is lacking and inconsistent, actions taken seem out of character, and the ending was a confusing, muddled mess. The Dresden Files this ain't. ...Aaronovitch has several prior books under his belt - most of which seem to be TV novelizations. Never a good sign. No clue how this book has the rating it does.
So boring. Everything from the magic to the characters is paper thin and barely explored.
It was just depressing that the character discovers magic is real but it's directed towards hurting people & quarreling.
I'll give the second book a chance and hope it explains some of the nonsense in this one.
...i found the characters very shallow and couldn't get to grip with them, i kept losing track of the plot, eventually i gave up.
It was perhaps unfair to read a book with such lofty expectations... reminded me too much of China Mieville's Kraken - and reminded me how much more I'd enjoyed that.
...the story itself would fit nicely into a TV procedural without too much grief.  And I don't mean a season finale level episode either, more like the last episode before sweeps start.
I was completely willing to go along with it, until the resolution suspended my disbelief from a very high bridge.
I can't say too much about this book as I gave up after 140 pages...
I picked up Rivers of London expecting to fall in love, but unfortunately I just didn't.
I am a fan of Harry Potter and this book is certainly not the adult version.
It's ridiculous story line made me so angry that I couldn't bare it any longer. I am a fan of Harry Potter and this book is certainly not the adult version. like a verbal A toZ of london with a ridiculous storyline relying on time travel, magic, and the existance of Gods of the Thames.
...plot and characters aren't very original. Wizards and magic - see Harry Potter. Super cop and side kick - see Doctor Who. Even one of the most original characters, Mama Thames, reminded me of The Oracle from The Matrix!!
We read conversation after conversation at location after location, and when things do happen, they are not very interesting.
The concept is great, the story imaginative - the writing however, is awful.

Ewww! It's just too.... British.

The most difficult thing for me with the book was that Aaronovitch used a lot of British slang that I wasn’t familiar with.
I did have a little trouble with the London slang, but I still enjoyed the book.
My main complaint it that it was definitely geared toward a UK/London audience.
My "issue" with this book is COMPLETELY PERSONAL. I'm not familiar with British writing -- I'm too comfortable with American style. So like 75% of reading this book, I totally don't "get" it. It's hard to enjoy the story when I don't feel comfortable with the language. It's like I'm looking on these words but they don't mean anythin to me. It's totally my own failure, I know, and should not reflect the quality of the book.

(1) This is one of my favourites and led to me spending a week saying things like "This is an indigestible plate covered in digestible things."
(2) Try to imagine Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

I Fiumi Di Londra

I Fiumi Di Londra - otherwise known as Rivers of London will be published in translation by Silvia Tiles by Fanucci on the 19th January 2012.

This follows hard on the heels of the German edition and means, once the French edition is released this spring, that not speaking English will cease to be an excuse for not buying my book across a large swathe of Europe.

I'm told that Spanish and Hungarian editions are also in the works.

Monday 16 January 2012

The D-Word: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Honey and Mustard Salad Dressing

This year I started my last ditch attempt to move from my current BMI of YOU PORKY BASTARD(1) to a BMI of YOU FAT SLOB(2) by the end of the year(3). To do this I'm combining everything I've learnt from 35 years of unsuccessful dieting and blogging about it because if I'm going to have to obsess about this subject I don't see why you guys should be let off the hook. Today I'm going to bore you talk about priorities especially when it comes to what you do and don't put in your gob(4).

I have already asserted that the way to lose weight is to eat less (and healthier), we all know this and yet find it really fucking hard to do. This is because all the tastiest most appealing food is very fattening. Now this is the point where some odiously thin person says words to the effect of "oh but I find carrots so much tastier than chocolate" and I say " well of course you fucking do that's why you're thin - duh!" And why are you reading this blog anyway you skinny little wretch come to gloat at the fatties have you?  You sods will be the first against the wall....

Moving on.

I suspect (and I'm hoping to prove to my personal satisfaction) that it is better to prioritise eating habits that will contribute to your goal of eating less (and healthier) overall rather than obsessing about every individual food stuff. Enter one bottle of Hellman's Honey and Mustard Salad Dressing.

According to the label each bottle contains 428 kcal which is a lot. Your dietician will counsel you to avoid such heinously fatty, salty, sugary, spawn-of-the-devil food and perhaps try the low fat, low calorie alternative. So what if it tastes vile, it's salad dressing isn't it? Maybe if you eat it for ten years you might start to get used to the taste. As the Russians say 'A man can get used to hanging if hangs long enough.' 

This is a perfect example of why most diets are doomed. In your dieticians mind the alternative to a lovely bowl of salad with delicious dressing is a lovely bowl of salad without dressing but we all know that the real alternative, over the long run, is a MARS BAR. Sad but true. So lets look at this rationally.

A bowl of salad composed of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and whatever else is good for you and, for all intents and purposes, calorie free. It would be good for me to eat one of these at least once a day. I'm very generous with the salad dressing I like to slop it all over so lets say I use a third each time that's 142 kcal. Now that's quite a lot of calories but if I throw in an egg or half a tin of tuna and maybe a slice of bread and I'm still bringing in a meal at less than 400 kcal(5). Most importantly it's a meal that I can look forward too, again and again over the long term.

Now I will be dealing with issues around making healthy food tastier in a later blog provisionally titled Your Nut Roast Is A Thing of Beauty But I'm Still Dying For a Big Mac so I don't want to hear about how much you've learnt to love salad without dressing - I don't care. I think this will work for me and probably a lot of other desperate fat people out there. We'll find out if I'm right some time in the mid 2030s.

Dieticians and health professionals like to hedge their bets. They know us well enough to know that if they give us any wriggle room we shall wriggle out of it. So they advise avoiding foods that are high in calories and fat across the board. Some of this advice is very useful, grill rather than fry, up your intake of green vegetables and don't stuff your face with cake. 

But in the long term it's going to be you making a hundred decisions a day for the rest of your life and there really is no point making it more difficult than it has to be. So if the price of choosing salad over a Mars Bar is 128 kcal of Honey and Mustard Salad Dressing then that's a good deal. Don't eat the Mars Bar have the salad with the dressing, the liver of your dietician and a nice chianti. Fefefefefe!

(1) Actually it's 54 which is almost off the scale of some calculators.
(2) 120 kg which will give me a BMI of 34.9 which still counts as obese.
(3) My healthy BMI weight is supposed to 84kg which is just silly, I've been a healthy weight, with muscle definition and everything and I didn't drop below 95kg to get there.
(4) Mouth.
(5) Remember I'm running a diet in which I disregard calories for non-starchy vegetables and fruit but aim at 1800 kcal a day so 400 kcal leaves me lots of wriggle room.

Rivers of London Covers Nominated For A Pornokitsch

Every writer dreams of having a good cover for his baby novel and I was very lucky when Patrick Knowles combined a swirly tentacled font with Stephen Walter's fantastic rendition of London's psychogeography to create an immediately distinctive and enticing cover for mine. Many a time I have been approached by customers who've bought the book on the basis of the cover alone.

So it is entirely fitting that the equally splendidly designed Pornokitsch site has nominated that cover for an Inky Tentacle with the winner to be announced at the SFX Weekender in February.

Thursday 12 January 2012

For Absolutely No Reason At All Here Are the Top Twenty Selling Debut UK Fiction Hardbacks of 2011

This list of the Top Selling UK Fiction Début Hardbacks of 2011 is reproduced by me for no ulterior motive beyond a keen desire to inform the book buying public.

1.  BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP     SJ Watson
2.  THE NIGHT CIRCUS     Eric Morgenstern
3.  THE POWER OF SIX   Pittacus Lore
4.  NEW BEGINNINGS   Fern Britton
5.  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES  Deborah Harkness
6.  RIVERS OF LONDON  Ben Aronovitch
7.  WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT  Sarah Winman
8.  THE HYPNOTIST  Lars Kepler
9.  SANCTUS  Simon Toyne
10. THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS  Vanessa Diffenbaugh
11. THE TIGER'S WIFE  Tea Obreht
12. TRIBUNE OF ROME  Robert Fabbri
13. HEREWARD  James Wilde
14. MISS PEREGRIN'S HOME ... Ransom Riggs
15. SNOWDROPS   AD Miller
16. ANNABEL   Kathleen Winter
17. RSVP     Helen Warner
19. THE SONG OF ACHILLES   Madeline Miller
20. DOLLHOUSE   Kardashian sisters

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Currently Reading: Chavs & The Book of Dreams

I've never been comfortable with the term "chav". It wasn't in use when I was growing up and it was struck me as an incredibly snobby term. This perception is not helped by the fact that most of the people I've heard use it personally are fully paid up members of the privately educated top 1%.

The Book of Dreams is the last volume in Jack Vance's Demon Princes sequence. Fortunately when I've finished this there are plenty more Jack Vance novels left to read - some, amazingly, that I haven't read already.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Whispers Under Ground - 21st June 2012

Gollancz have confirmed to me that the UK release date of Whispers Under Ground will be the 21st June 2012. I know some of you are impatient so I thought I'd give you a little taster....

1: Tufnell Park 

Back in the summer I’d made the mistake of telling my mum what I did for a living. Not the police bit, which of course she already knew about having been at my graduation from Hendon, but the stuff about me working for the branch of the Met that dealt with the supernatural. My mum translated this in her head to ‘witchfinder’ which was good because my mum, like most West Africans, considered witchfinding a more respectable profession than policeman. Struck by an unanticipated burst of maternal pride she proceeded to outline my new career path to her friends and relatives, a body I estimate to comprise at least twenty percent of the expatriate Sierra Leonean community currently resident in the UK. This included Alfred Kamara who lived on the same estate as my mum and through him his thirteen year old daughter Abigail. Who decided, on the last Sunday before Christmas, that she wanted me to go look at this ghost she’d found. She got my attention by pestering my mum to the point where she gave in and rang me on my mobile.
            I wasn’t best pleased because Sunday is one of the few days I don’t have morning practice on the firing range and I was planning a nice lie-in followed by football in the pub.
            ‘So where’s this ghost?’ I asked when Abigail opened her front door.
            ‘How come there’s two of you?’ asked Abigail. She was a short skinny mixed race girl with light skin that had gone winter sallow.
            ‘This is my colleague Lesley May,’ I said.
            Abigail stared suspiciously at Lesley. ‘Why are you wearing a mask?’ she asked.
            ‘Because my face fell off,’ said Lesley.
            Abigail considered this for a moment and then nodded. ‘Okay,’ she said.
            ‘So where is it?’ I asked.
            ‘It’s a he,’ said Abigail. ‘He’s up at the school.’
            ‘Come on then,’ I said.
            ‘What, now?’ she said. ‘But it’s freezing.’
            ‘We know,’ I said. It was one of those dull grey winter days with the sort of sinister cold wind that keeps on finding ways through the gaps in your clothes. ‘You coming or not?’
            She gave me the patented stare of the belligerent thirteen year old but I wasn’t her mother or a teacher. I didn’t want her to do something, I wanted to go home and watch the football.
            ‘Suit yourself,’ I said and turned away.
            ‘Wait up,’ she said. ‘I’m coming.’
            I turned back in time for the door to be slammed in my face.

Monday 9 January 2012

The D-Word

Ninety percent of what is written about diets is total bollocks. If you want to lose weight then you've got to eat less and exercise more. This diet tweeted to me recently is a case in point, miracle foods pah! I laugh at miracle foods, I pour scorn on your pseudo-scientific bollocks and I certainly ain't going to pay over the odds for them. For one thing one of the few immediate benefits of a diet is that you save money on food.

Tips for the friends and family of fat people...

1) If you think that a fat person goes through life blissfully unaware of their weight - think again. Every time we don't fit into a seat, get short of breath going up some stairs, get called a fat cunt by a random stranger is a reminder. Every little public humiliation at turnstiles, narrow doorways and mirrors reminds us that we are fat(1). Do not feel you have to remind us every time you see us how much porkier we've got, we know, and if you keep doing it we're going to start avoiding you (just like we do mirrors).

2) If you really want to help ask your fat friend what help they need and then give it. The only way to lose weight is to make a sustained change in lifestyle, you cannot force someone to do that you can only help at the margins. If you feel the words "we need to make an intervention" appearing on your lips I cordially invite you to put a sensitive part of your anatomy in a mangle and turn the handle.

Tips for fat people.

Note I'm talking to fat people here not you smug bastards with your "oh I've got a roll of fat on my belly I've just put so much weight". The basic resting state for a first world human being is plump live with it.

1) You're going to have to change what you eat - sorry.

2) Lose weight for yourself not for other people. Use whatever method works for you over the long term.

3) As far as I know the best way to lose weight is to keep a daily food diary (see psychological tricks).

4) Eat some fruit and some vegetables every day, avoid chocolate and sweets.

5) I really mean it about the chocolate and sweets.

6) Weigh yourself once a week and make sure you record it accurately but don't feel you have to share this information (see 7)

7) It is much easier to lie to other people than it is to yourself (think about it). It's always tempting to hive off the responsibility for keeping yourself on the straight and narrow to a friend or family member. Then you lie to them about your weight and... I don't need to tell you what happens you've probably done this already - probably more than once.

8) Some people put on weight easier than other people. What can I say? Life's unfair. Other people's eating habits are not your responsibility (unless you're a parent of course).

Psychological Tricks

1) Blame, guilt, shame - none of these are helpful.

2) Decide roughly what kind of weight would suit you, be honest about it. I'm currently 186 kg and for me anything under 120 kg would be gravy. Now I may change my mind when I get there but merely being fat rather than unable to fly economy class in an airplane is my current goal.

3) Do it for yourself - tell everyone else to shut the fuck up.

4) Find the worst offender - ie: chocolate, cake, deep fried Mars Bars - and stop eating it.

5) I don't count calories on fruit or vegetables because I don't eat enough of them as it is. That gives me one less thing to worry about and an incentive to eat healthily.

6) The food diary is for you and you alone. If people try to step in and regulate your diary tell them to fuck off. Your body, your decisions, your diet.

In Summery

These women would be considered too porky for a lead TV role!
1. Do not measure yourself by the people you see on the TV, they are professionals who are paid to sustain an arduous and ultimately unhealthy lifestyle in order to create the illusion that the normal state for a human being is just this side of famished. Think of it as stunt work, it looks impressive but you wouldn't want to try it at home.

2. There are health problems associated with being fat, Type 2 diabetes, an increased risk of this that and the other and you become more attractive to members of the big cat family(2). If you are fat than you will probably face some of these problems and you need to factor that into your decision. However nobody I know has ever scared themselves thin.

3. It's unfair but the food industry is working really hard to make you as fat as possible. Most of easily available tasty stuff is hideously fatty, sugary and god-knows-what-elsey. I hope this will change one day but until it does you should behave as if the food industry has embarked on a conspiracy to make you morbidly obese. They haven't of course, you're far to insignificant for that, but the behavioural outcome is the same.

4. Eat less overall. Eat fruit and vegetables. Avoid chocolate and sweets.

5. Do some exercise - even if it's just half an hour's walk each day.

6. Did I mention that you need to eat less food? Right - moving on.

7. Find what works for you - stick to it.

8. Do not try to hive off responsibility for monitoring your food or weight to other people. You're going to have to be doing this for the rest of your life so you have to take responsibility for it yourself. Besides are you a grown up or not?

9. Human beings live complicated interconnected lives and we cannot control a great deal of what happens to us but sure as fuck most of us can control what gets put in our mouth. Take control of your life, if you want to be fatter eat more, if you want to be less fat then eat less.

10. Everybody knows all this really - it's just a bugger to put into practise.

(1) By the way if none of this applies to you - you're either not fat or are living in such an enviable state of cosmic bliss that I wouldn't want you to change on my behalf.
(2) As food dummy.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Current Reading: The Face

I took advantage of the SF Gateway special offer over the Christmas period to stock up on some old favourites on my kindle. Amongst them were the last two of the Demon Princes novels by Jack Vance; The Face and The Book of Dreams.

The beauty of Jack Vance's prose is in its wit and its understated elegance. Consciously anachronistic even when it was written in 1979 it exhibits a timeless appeal in much the same way that Bradbury does.

Vance's cool, strangely fragile, protagonists have to negotiate their way across some gorgeously delineated landscapes and cultures. They are as likely to settle their disputes through verbal dexterity as violence which makes them a refreshing change from the hyper-violent ubermensch that populate modern SF (angst ridden or not).

Monday 2 January 2012

The December TV Character Ethnicity Report

I suspect that at least two of the three people read my blog will recognise this post as a continuation of grand excuse for procrastination the Monthly Fictional Criminal Report. If you want to know what all that was about and think you can stay awake long enough than an explanation is here.

The programs stacked up as follows...

%NW = the percentage of non-regular characters who were non-white
%WC = the percentage of non-regular white characters who were criminals.
%NWC = the percentaged of non-regular non-white characters who were criminals.

Show Episodes %NW %WC %NWC
Prime Suspect 3 21% 42% 56%
Burn Notice 3 16% 43% 50%
Blue Bloods 1 0% 67% 0%
Person of Interest 2 47% 25% 21%
Once Upon A Time 2 8% 0% 0%
Leverage 4 25% 44% 78%
The Closer 4 19% 28% 86%
Castle 1 0% 80% 0%
Hawaii 5.0 2 30% 32% 63%
Hart of Dixie 1 25% 0% 0%
CSI 2 18% 36% 33%
Law and Order: SVU 1 31% 44% 25%
The Mentalist 2 15% 13% 75%
Grimm 3 8% 38% 0%
Unforgettable 1 8% 8% 0%

Because of the low number of episodes involved I don't think we can draw any conclusions from the individual tallies yet.

Overall the figures 32 episodes are this...

White Non-Regulars no. %group %total
Non-differentiated 17 7% 5%
Sympathetic 134 51% 41%
Unsympathetic 25 10% 8%
Sympathetic Criminal 14 5% 4%
Unsympathetic Criminal 39 15% 12%
Vicious Criminal 3 1% 1%
Career Criminal 29 11% 9%

Total White non regulars 261 characters 79% of total

Non-White Non-Regulars no. %group %total
Non-differentiated 5 7% 2%
Sympathetic 23 33% 7%
Unsympathetic 8 12% 2%
Sympathetic Criminal 2 3% 1%
Unsympathetic Criminal 5 7% 2%
Vicious Criminal - 0% 0%
Career Criminal 26 38% 8%

Total non-white non regulars 69 characters 21% of total

White Criminals 33% of white non-regular characters
Black Criminals 48% of non-white non-regular characters

My instinct is that the majority of series will settle at a 80/20 split white/non-white with a third of all white characters and half of all non-white characters criminals of various stripes.

We shall see.

Remember this is not an academic study and is merely done out of curiosity on mine and my friends part. I'd love someone to do a second by second, line by line racial analysis of non-soap drama in the US (and the UK for that matter) - I suspect the producers would come out looking even worse but I can't prove it.