SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1496
The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey Book Review | SFReader.com
The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey Genre: Modern/Urban Fantasy Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Published: 2008 Review Posted: 6/24/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey
Book Review by SJ Higbee
Have you read this book?
You've just put down the latest Harry Dresden installment with a sad
sigh, already missing the sharp asides from our hero. Cheer up, there's
another kid on the block - every bit as sardonic,
hard-boiled-yet-vulnerable as Jim Butcher's entertaining protagonist.
Felix Castor. Apologies for those of you who have already discovered
this series which apparently has been knocking around for a while, but
I've only just tripped over Mike Carey's world.
Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist and London is his stamping ground.
At a time when the supernatural world is in upheaval and spilling over
into the mundane reality of the living, his skills are in desperate
demand. A good exorcist can charge what he likes. But there's a risk:
sooner or later he's likely to take on a spirit that's too strong for
him. Then it's game over.
Castor has been 'retired' for a year or more after a close encounter
that he only just survived. But now old debts - of more than one kind -
draw him back to the life he rejected, and he accepts a seemingly simple
exorcism. Trouble is, the more he discovers about the ghost in the
archive, the more things refuse to add up - and the more deeply he's
dragged into a world he really doesn't want to know about. What should
have been a perfectly straightforward job is rapidly turning into the
Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons, were-beings and ghosts all
lining up to claim the big prize.
Carey is an experienced writer and it shows. London is well depicted
without the torrent of detail Kate Griffin gives us. The cast of
characters are intriguing and suitably complex, with Felix Castor's
enjoyably sardonic narration giving us a front seat into a fast-paced
story that offers up a series of surprises and interesting characters. A
word of warning, though. Carey's writing is on the grittier end of the
urban fantasy genre. The use of strong language reflects this and
although supernatural beings do crop up in Castor's world fairly
regularly, the thrust of the story is concerned with the grubbier end of
human endeavors. What relieves the grim undertow is the dry, humorous
asides to the reader. I also enjoyed the fact that Castor regularly
wonders where the ghosts come from - and what happens to them after he's
expunged them from our world. Is he, in effect, killing them? It's a
question that bothers him.
My one niggle is that unexpected twist right at the very end of book. It
didn't quite fit with the overall tone of the rest of the narrative. I
feel it would have been more appropriate if Carey had used it at the
beginning of the second book in the series. Apart from that single
gripe, Carey satisfactorily tied up all the other loose ends,
particularly those connected with the storyline, which I know has begun
to sound like a bit of an obsession of mine. But I just hate it when a
writer pulls you into their world, takes you on a journey and then
strands you by not properly finishing off the narrative - something, I
hasten to add, that Carey is NOT guilty of.
Trawling the Internet, I find that Carey has written four other Felix
Castor novels, so I'm about to get hold of Vicious Circle, the second
book in the series. Hang on, Felix... wait for me.
Click here to buy The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey on Amazon