The Devil You Know

( 77 )


Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghostbuster can charge what he likes and enjoy a hell of a lifestyle—but there's a risk: Sooner or later he's going to take on a spirit that's too strong for him. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London—just to pay the bills, you understand. But what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is ...

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Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghostbuster can charge what he likes and enjoy a hell of a lifestyle—but there's a risk: Sooner or later he's going to take on a spirit that's too strong for him. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London—just to pay the bills, you understand. But what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is rapidly turning into the Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize. That's OK: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Freelance exorcist Felix Castor had been happy to bid good riddance to his job, but now, needing cash, he agrees to cast out one last demon. He's eager to finish this ghost extraction as quickly as possible, but as menacing details keep popping up, Castor is dragged ever deeper into the realm of were-beings. Before long, he begins to suspect that he himself is the target of the entire operation. And that's only the beginning of the trouble….
Publishers Weekly

Aviolent ghost in a world where spirits are rarely mean-spirited is a clue to a deeper mystery in this engrossing dark fantasy debut from comics-writer Carey. Felix "Fix" Castor is an itinerant exorcist who (like a certain famous group of Hollywood ghost-evicters) alternates between dispatching spooks and doing stage magic at ungrateful children's birthday parties. When he's summoned to end a haunting at London's prestigious Bonnington Archive, he finds a vengeful specter with a blood-veiled face that resists methods for extirpating the usually docile dead. When Castor begins probing more deeply, he quickly finds himself harassed by a ravenous succubus, a belligerent fellow exorcist and a slimy Eastern European pimp. The resolution of this ingeniously multilayered tale will satisfy fans of both fantasy and detective fiction. Fix Castor's wisecracking cleverness in the face of weird nemeses makes him the perfect hardboiled hero for a new supernatural noir series.10-city author tour. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to Adult.

Felix Castor tried to retire, but cash is difficult to come by for ex-exorcists in London. Driven by the lure of rent money, he accepts a seemingly simple haunt job for the Bonnington Archive. As he uncovers a murder mystery linked to thefts and prostitution, Felix is forced to examine his own assumptions and morals regarding the afterlife-where he will soon be going if a summoned sex demon has anything to say about it and provided the gangsters, werewolves, and ghosts do not do him in first. Wisecracks and friends are cold comfort when the dead walk the earth. The first Felix Castor novel is a strong entry in the burgeoning urban-magic detective subgenre (think Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden, but grittier and noir). Readers familiar with Carey's run on the Hellblazer comic book will recognize in Felix a hero nearly as luckless as but more ethical than John Constantine, inhabiting a detailed and atmospheric London full of interesting and well-realized characters. After a slow first few pages, the story takes off, along the way touching upon Felix's past and his few friends, including the incident that led him to turn away from exorcism. He is an appealing underdog protagonist who readily acknowledges his many flaws in a narration littered with common Briticisms unlikely to bewilder too many readers. The job-turned-mystery angle works fine too until it hits a rather chunky spot of explanation near the end. By then the book will have woven a haunting spell over most readers, ensuring anticipation of the next installment (already available in the U.K.) in this new series. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Kirkus Reviews
Comic-book writer Carey (installments of Hellblazer, X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four are among his credits) pens his first novel (released in the U.K. in 2006), a funny, frightening, thoroughly absorbing thriller set in an alternative London where ghosts and other supernatural things go bump in the night-and day. Felix Castor, reluctant magician and exorcist, lives with his long-time friend, Pen, in her ancestral family home. Castor is burdened by the unwitting exorcism-gone-wrong that placed a close friend in a mental institution. Flushed with guilt over his failure, Castor no longer has his heart in the exorcism business. But when Pen confides she needs money soon or will lose her home, Castor reluctantly takes a commission to rid an enormous government archive of an odd ghost-a woman whose face is partially obscured by a red mist. Castor receives a warning against taking the case, but what does an exorcist really fear? Certainly not the ghost haunting the archive, nor the sleazy owner of a house of prostitution who tries to make Castor an offer he can't refuse, and keeps as his henchman an enormous and vicious lope-garou (werewolf) that would like nothing better than to take a bite out of Castor. Carey's writing is nimble and witty, his dialogue believable. The exorcist's sardonic observations and personal sense of tragedy make him an unlikely, likable hero. There is tons of action and an interesting assortment of characters and creatures that will make readers want to sleep with one eye open. American readers may feel somewhat hindered by the British expressions and references to London geography, including underground stations and streets, but those who buy into the premise of theBritish capital being overrun by ghosts and demons will find this to be one wild ride. Carey transcends his comic roots in this quirky, dark and imaginative tale that compels readers to keep turning pages long after they should have gotten to sleep.
From the Publisher
"A funny, frightening, thoroughly absorbing thriller set in an alternative London where ghosts and other supernatural things go bump in the night---and day." ---Kirkus Starred Review
Library Journal
Freelance necromancer Felix (known as Fix) Castor sees dead people. In an alternate London dead people—zombies, ghouls, loup-garous and vampires—abound. Fix can bind them using his tin whistle. But when he binds a demon to his best friend, Fix's life is never the same. Now broke, he has to take on a new job, exorcising a ghost from an archive. The longer he works on the exorcism, the more he realizes he has to solve the murder that created this ghost. VERDICT Bleak, saturnine, and wry with shades of horror and dark urban fantasy thrown in, this series debut is a very noir mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641999598
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/10/2007
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

M. J. Carey is a pseudonym.

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Read an Excerpt

The Devil You Know

By Mike Carey

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Mike Carey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58030-4

Chapter One

NORMALLY I WEAR A CZARIST ARMY GREATCOAT-the kind that sometimes gets called a paletot-with pockets sewn in for my tin whistle, my notebook, a dagger, and a chalice. Today I'd gone for a green tuxedo with a fake wilting flower in the buttonhole, pink patent-leather shoes, and a painted-on mustache in the style of Groucho Marx. From Bunhill Fields in the east, I rode out across London-the place of my strength. I have to admit, though, that "strong" wasn't exactly how I was feeling; when you look like a pistachio-ice-cream sundae, it's no easy thing to hang tough.

The economic geography of London has changed a lot in the last few years, but Hampstead is always Hampstead. And on this cold November afternoon, atoning for sins I couldn't even count and probably looking about as cheerful as a tricoteuse being told that the day's executions have been canceled due to bad weather, Hampstead was where I was headed.

Number 17, Grosvenor Terrace, to be more precise: an unassuming little early Victorian masterpiece knocked off by Sir Charles Barry in his lunch hours while he was doing the Reform Club. It's in the books, like it or not; the great man would moonlight for a grand in hand and borrow his materials from whatever else he was doing at the time. You can find his illegitimate architectural progeny everywhere from Ladbroke Grove to Highgate, and they always give you that same uneasy feeling of déjà vu, like seeing the milkman's nose on your own firstborn.

I parked the car far enough away from the door to avoid any potential embarrassment to the household I was here to visit and managed the last hundred yards or so burdened with four suitcases full of highly specialized equipment. The doorbell made a severe, functional buzzing sound like a dentist's drill sliding off recalcitrant enamel. While I waited for a response, I checked out the rowan twig nailed up to the right of the porch. Black and white and red strings had been tied to it in the prescribed order, but still ... a rowan twig in November wouldn't have much juice left in it. I concluded that this must be a quiet neighborhood.

The man who opened the door to me was presumably James Dodson, the birthday boy's father. I took a strong dislike to him right then to save time and effort later. He was a solid-looking man, not big but hard-packed, gray eyes like two ball bearings, salt-and-pepper hair adding its own echoes to the gray. In his forties, but probably as fit and trim now as he had been two decades ago. Clearly, this was a man who recognized the importance of good diet, regular exercise, and unremitting moral superiority. Pen had said he was a cop-chief constable in waiting, working out of Agar Street as one of the midwives to the government's new Serious Organized Crime Agency. I think I would have guessed either a cop or a priest, and most priests gratefully let themselves go long before they hit forty; that's one of the perks of having a higher calling.

"You're the entertainer," Dodson said, as you might say, "You're a motherless piece of scum and you raped my dog." He didn't make a move to help me with the cases, which I was carrying two in each hand.

"Felix Castor," I agreed, my face set in an unentertaining deadpan. "I roll the blues away."

He nodded noncommittally and opened the door wider to let me in. "The living room," he said, pointing. "There'll be rather more children than we originally said. I hope that's okay."

"The more the merrier," I answered over my shoulder, walking on through. I sized the living room up with what I hoped looked like a professional eye, but it was just a room to me. "This is fine. Everything I need. Great."

"We were going to send Sebastian over to his father's, but the bloody man had some sort of work crisis on," Dodson explained from behind me. "Which makes one more. And a few extra friends ..."

"Sebastian?" I inquired. Throwing out questions like that is a reflex with me, whether I want answers or not; it comes from the work I do. I mean, the work I used to do. Sometimes do. Can live without doing.

"Peter's stepbrother. He's from Barbara's previous marriage, just as Peter is from mine. They get along very well."

"Of course." I nodded solemnly, as if checking out the soundness of the familial support network was something I always did before I started in on the magic tricks and the wacky slapstick. Peter was the birthday boy-just turned fourteen. Too old, probably, for clowns and conjurors and parties of the cake-and-ice-cream variety. But then, that wasn't my call to make. They also serve those who only pull endless strings of colored ribbon out of a baked-bean tin.

"I'll leave you to set up, then," Dodson said, sounding dubious. "Please don't move any of the furniture without checking with me or Barbara first. And if you're setting up anything on the parquet that might scratch, ask us for pads."

"Thanks," I said. "And mine's a beer whenever you're having one yourself. The term 'beer' should not be taken to include the subset 'lager.'"

He was already heading for the door when I threw this out, and he kept right on going. I was about as likely to get a drink out of him as I was to get a French kiss.

So I got down to unpacking, a task that was made harder by the fact that these cases hadn't moved out of Pen's garage in the last ten years. There were all sorts of things in among the stage-magic gear that gave me a moment's-or more than a moment's-pause. A Swiss Army penknife (it had belonged to my old friend Rafi) with the main blade broken off short an inch from the tip; a homemade fetish rigged up out of the mummified body of a frog and three rusty nails; a feathered snood, looking a bit threadbare now, but still carrying a faint whiff of perfume; and the camera.

Shit. The camera.

I turned it over in my hands, instantly submerged in a brief but powerful reverie. It was a Brownie Autographic No. 3, and all folded up as it was, it looked more like a kid's lunch box than anything else. But once I flipped the catches, I could see that the red-leather bellows was still in place, the frosted viewfinder was intact, and (wonder of wonders) the hand-wheeled stops that extended the lens into its operating position still seemed to work. I'd found the thing in a flea market in Munich when I was backpacking through Europe. It was nearly a hundred years old, and I'd paid about a quid for it, which was the whole of the asking price, because the lens was cracked right the way across. That didn't matter to me-not for what I principally had in mind at the time-so it counted as a bargain.

I had to put it to one side, though, because at that moment the first of the party guests were shepherded in by a very busty, very blonde, very beautiful woman who was obviously much too good for the likes of James Dodson. Or the likes of me, to be fair. She was wearing a white bloused top and a khaki skirt with an asymmetric hang, which probably had a designer name attached to it somewhere and cost more than I earned in six months. For all that, though, she looked a touch worn and tired. Living with James Supercop would do that to you, I speculated; or, possibly, living with Peter, assuming that Peter was the sullen streak of curdled sunlight hovering at her elbow. He had his father's air of blocky, aggressive solidity, with an adolescent's wary stubbornness grafted onto it. It made for a very unattractive combination, somehow.

The lady introduced herself as Barbara in a voice that had enough natural warmth in it to make electric blankets irrelevant. She introduced Peter, too, and I offered him a smile and a nod. I tried to shake hands with him out of some atavistic impulse probably brought on by being in Hampstead, but he'd already stomped away in the direction of a new arrival with a loud bellow of greeting. Barbara watched him go with an unreadable, Zen-like smile that suggested prescription medication, but her gaze as she turned back to me was sharp and clear enough.

"So," she said. "Are you ready?"

For anything, I almost said-but I opted for a simple yes. All the same, I probably held the glance a half moment too long. At any rate, Barbara suddenly remembered a bottle of mineral water that she was holding in her hand and handed it to me with a slight blush and an apologetic grimace. "You can have a beer in the kitchen with us afterward," she promised. "If I give you one now, the kids will demand equal rights."

I raised the bottle in a salute.

"So ...," she said again. "An hour's performance, then an hour off while we serve the food-and you come on again for half an hour at the end. Is that okay?"

"It's a valid strategy," I allowed. "Napoléon used it at Quatre Bras."

This got a laugh, feeble as it was. "We won't be able to stay for the show," Barbara said, with a good facsimile of regret. "There's quite a lot still to do behind the scenes-some of Peter's friends are staying over. But we might be able to sneak back in to catch the finale. If not, see you in the interval." With a conspiratorial grin, she beat her retreat and left me with my audience.

I let my gaze wander around the room, taking the measure of them. There was an in-group, clustered around Peter and engaged in a shouted conversation that colonized the entire room. There was an out-group, consisting of four or five temporary knots spread around the edges of the room, which periodically tried to attach themselves to the in-group in a sort of reversal of cellular fission. And then there was stepbrother Sebastian.

It wasn't hard to spot him; I'd made a firm identification while I was still unfolding my trestle table and laying out my opening trick. He had the matrilineal blond hair, but his paler skin and watery blue eyes made him look as if someone had sketched him in pastels and then tried to erase him. He looked to be a lot smaller and slighter than Peter, too. Because he was the younger of the two? It was hard to tell, because his infolded, self-effaced posture probably took an inch or so off his height. He was the one on the fringes of the boisterous rabble, barely tolerated by the birthday boy and contemptuously ignored by the birthday boy's friends. He was the one left out of all the in-jokes, looking like he didn't belong and would rather be almost anywhere else-even with his real dad, perhaps, on a day when there was a work crisis on.

When I clapped my hands and shouted a two-minute warning, Sebastian filed up with the last of the rear guard and took up a position immediately behind Peter-a dead zone that nobody else seemed to want to lay claim to.

Then the show was on, and I had troubles of my own to attend to.

I'm not a bad stage magician. It was how I paid my way through college, and when I'm in practice, I'd go so far as to say I'm pretty sharp. Right then I was as rusty as hell, but I was still able to pull off some reasonably classy stuff-my own scaled-down versions of the great illusions I'd studied during my ill-spent youth. I made some kid's wristwatch disappear from a bag that he was holding and turn up inside a box in someone else's pocket. I levitated the same kid's mobile phone around the room while Peter and the front-row elite stood up and waved their arms in the vain hope of tangling the wires they thought I was using. I even cut a deck of cards into pieces with garden shears and reconstituted them again, with a card that Peter had previously chosen and signed at the top of the deck.

But whatever the hell I did, I was dying on my feet. Peter sat stolidly at front and center, arms folded in his lap, and glared at me all the while with paint-blistering contempt. He'd clearly reached his verdict, which was that being impressed by kids'-party magic could lose you a lot of status with your peers. And if the risk was there even for him, it was clearly unacceptable for his chosen guests. They watched him and took their cue from him, forming a block vote that I couldn't shift.

Sebastian seemed to be the only one who was actually interested in the show for its own sake-or perhaps the only one who had so little to lose that he could afford just to let himself get drawn in, without watching his back. It got him into trouble, though. When I finished the card trick and showed Peter his pristine eight of diamonds, Sebastian broke into a thin patter of applause, carried away for a moment by the excitement of the final reveal.

He stopped as soon as he realized that nobody else was joining in, but he'd already broken cover-forgetting what seemed otherwise to be very well developed habits of camouflage and self-preservation. Annoyed, Peter stabbed backward with his elbow, and I heard a whoof of air from Sebastian as he leaned suddenly forward, clutching his midriff. His head stayed bowed for a few moments, and when he came up, he came up slowly. "Fuckwit," Peter snarled, sotto voce. "He just used two decks. That's not even clever."

I read a lot into this little exchange-a whole chronicle of casual cruelty and emotional oppression. You may think that's stretching an elbow in the ribs a touch too far, but I'm a younger brother myself, so the drill's not unfamiliar to me. And besides that, I knew one more thing about birthday boy than anybody else here knew.

I took a mental audit. Yes. I was letting myself get a little irritated, and that wasn't a good thing. I still had twenty minutes to run before the break and the cold beer in the kitchen. And I had one surefire winner, which I'd been meaning to save for the finale, but what the hell. You only live once, as people continue to say in the teeth of all the evidence.

I threw out my arms, squared my shoulders, tugged my cuffs-a pantomime display of preparation intended mainly to get Sebastian off the hook. It worked, as far as that went; all eyes turned to me. "Watch very carefully," I said, taking a new prop out of one of the cases and putting it on the table in front of me. "An ordinary cereal box. Any of you eat this stuff? No, me neither. I tried them once, but I was mauled by a cartoon tiger." Not a glimmer; not a sign of mercy in any of the forty or so eyes that were watching me.

"Nothing special about the box. No trapdoors. No false bottoms." I rotated it through three dimensions, flicked it with a thumbnail to get a hollow thwack out of it, and held the open end up to Peter's face for him to take a look inside. He rolled his eyes as if he couldn't believe he was being asked to go along with this stuff, then gave me a wave that said he was as satisfied of the box's emptiness as he was ever going to be.

"Yeah, whatever," he said with a derisive snort. His friends laughed, too; he was popular enough to get a choric echo whenever he spoke or snickered or made farting noises in his cheek. He had the touch, all right. Give him four, maybe five years, and he was going to grow up into a right bastard.

Unless he took a walk down the Damascus Road one morning and met something big and fast coming the other way.

"O-o-okay," I said, sweeping the box around in a wide arc so that everyone else could see it. "So it's an empty box. So who needs it, right? Boxes like this, they're just landfill waiting to happen." I stood it on the ground, open end downward, and trod it flat.

That got at least a widened eye and a shift of posture here and there around the room-kids leaning forward to watch, if only to check out how complete and convincing the damage was. I was thorough. You have to be. Like a dominatrix, you find that there's a direct relationship between the intensity of the stamping and trampling and the scale of the final effect.

When the box was comprehensively flattened, I picked it up and allowed it to dangle flaccidly from my left hand.

"But before you throw this stuff away," I said, sweeping the cluster of stolid faces with a stern, schoolteacherly gaze, "you've got to check for biohazards. Anyone up for that? Anyone want to be an environmental health inspector when they grow up?"

There was an awkward silence, but I let it lengthen. It was Peter's dime; I only had to entertain him, not pimp for him.

Finally, one of the front-row cronies shrugged and stood up. I stepped a little aside to welcome him into my performance space-broadly speaking, the area between the leather recliner and the running buffet.

"Give a big hand to the volunteer," I suggested. They razzed him cordially instead-you find out who your friends are.

I straightened the box with a few well-practiced tugs and tucks. This was the crucial part, so of course I kept my face as bland as school custard. The volunteer held his hand out for the box. Instead, I caught his hand in my own and turned it palm up. "And the other one," I said. "Make a cup. Verstehen Sie 'cup'? Like this. Right. Excellent. Good luck, because you never know ..."

I upended the box over his hands, and a large brown rat smacked right down into the makeshift basket of his fingers. He gurgled like a punctured water bed and jumped back, his hands flying convulsively apart, but I was ready and caught the rat neatly before she could fall.


Excerpted from The Devil You Know by Mike Carey Copyright © 2006 by Mike Carey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Slow start, perfect for fans of Harry Dresden

    I can see the small similarities between the Harry Dresden series and this one. There are differences though. I found Felix Castor more dark and grittier than Dresden. It definitely more "noir" and having the setting taking place in London is perfect. London is so dark and wet most of the time and cold. I think the setting fits well and is described perfectly for this novel. The world here is much different than present day. The dead and ghosts are actually out and we're aware that they are. Most of the time though, they actually don't bother us except for a select few that have risen up to settle some differences. There is plenty of magic but it's not in the way of Harry Potter it's more darker and more realistic.

    I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book. It started off a little slow and I had to nearly force myself to get into it. Eventually it started picking up and I got more interested. It was especially interesting that although it's paranormal in regards to ghosts and other creatures (there's a loup garou but not what you usually think it would's different). There's also an underlying realistic element in it as naturally the ghost is there with a reason and has a story to tell (ie; how she became a ghost) so real life comes into play just as much as the paranormal side does in this book. Which is good it's a nice mixture and it's done nicely so that the magic parts come naturally and it doesn't seem so out of the ordinary, it actually feels like everyday life.

    I think the other reason why it took me a while to get into it, is because in the beginning, Felix goes through a huge narration on explaining how he got to this point, and how he met certain characters and their background stories. He does this throughout the book and although the explanations are great and provides a nice depth to the novel, some of them are too detailed and rather long winded. Then I'm left wondering where did we leave off and what does this have to do with it? although the background information is nice, it should have been done in small specific paragraphs but not deviate entirely from the main plot. This could be a deterrent to some readers and those reading might feel like putting the book to the side and leave it for another day, but try and get through it. You'll find it connects the dots in one way or another and it leaves the story more complete and more detailed.

    As for characters I like Felix. He's got wit and a dark sense of humor. I'm not sure if you could call him your typical detective in a noir book as although he does have an eye for the ladies I don't think he really has much of a charm or is that charismatic. To me he's more like a good guy friend who you'd have a drink with and just relax. He's likable, don't get me wrong and there are certainly parts in the book where I found myself laughing at him because of comments he's made either towards others or towards himself but he's lacking in something. He just falls short of standing out. I guess what I am trying to say is, it took me a while to warm up to him and even then although I like him, there's no strong attachment or anything.

    Overall, it's not a bad book! give it a try if you're a fan of Harry Dresden but want something more realistic, more dark, and with more grit. You'll find it's actually quite good and well worth the wait.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not super original, but pretty good!

    At times Mike Carey's writing is a little "too" British for me, whatever that means, but I enjoyed his tale of supernatural detective, Felix Castor. The mystery was really superb but I had trouble keeping some of the characters sorted in my head. Probably more my fault than the author's. I look forward to the next novel in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    A Little Lightweight

    This book was good, but I was expecting better. Can't really recomend it. It took to long for the lead character to find out who the ghost was and why it was. The reader knew what was coming but had to wait for the story to catch up.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    Excellently written. The author writes with wit, charm, and at

    Excellently written. The author writes with wit, charm, and at times thought provoking prose. The main character is likeable, and easy to relate to. The British idioms may through some less educated or wordly people off, but the majority are simple enough to understand and appreciate. I recommend this book and look forward to the next.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Nicely Done

    Bought this on a whim. Once I took a closer look at the synopsis, I was concerned that this might be a Hellblazer rip-off. Turns out, I had nothing to fear. Felix Castor, while sharing some traits with John Constantine, remains his own thing. It did take me a while to warm up to him, though. The end was a total hoot that I didn't see coming. I look forward to the rest of the serie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    You have to read this book series

    I just finished this book last night on Nook. This book is very gritty compared to other fantasy novels. The main character, Fix, is really stuck between a rock and a hard place. There are some slow parts, but overall this is a good book.

    Now I am on to the next book in the series.

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  • Posted February 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    a good solid urban-fantasy tale

    Felix Castor is the right kind of hero, actually a good guy without being prodded and poked into position. He may not be completely stand up, but doing the right thing to do the right thing seems his game here. The story moves nicely, twists maybe a little predictably, but it's a fun ride - just because you can see the curves doesn't lessen the roller coaster fun - definitely worth picking up and reading.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    1st in Felix Castor series is terrific read

    The Devil You Know by Mike Carey is the first book in the Felix Castor urban fantasy series that takes place in a world that is populated with the undead. Felix, Fix to his friends, had been making his living as an exorcist, ridding the living of their undead neighbors or stalkers until a tragedy that left his friend Rafi possessed by a demon and living in an insane asylum. Fix doesn't take on cases any more, but he needs to pay the rent somehow, so when he is presented with an easy looking case in an archive for historical papers. The mysterious ghost seems to be wearing a hood that covers the top half of her face and has recently gone from benign appearances to striking out violently at an employee. Fix is hired to just exorcise the ghost, but as he starts investigating, things aren't exactly what they seem, and then a local crime boss gets involved. Felix is very similar in ways to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. They are both misanthropes with unusual abilities with a mysterious past. Fix, like Harry, is self-deprecating, but he doesn't have the same wry sense of humor, and the books is a bit darker for it. Carey has created a very unique world in Fix's London where zombies hover around schoolyards, and were-creatures are like nothing I've ever imagined. It's a fascinating world, but it's really Fix that carries the story. He has a deep sense of justice and the desire to make things right. His inability to save Rafi has put him on a quest to save everyone else he can, and this makes him an empathetic and heroic protagonist. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Don't bother

    Unless you're a fan of the Author, I don't recoomend him. This book is "Too British" in language and does nothing to endear himself to the American audience.
    I found the characters to be boring. The book was slow moving and just dreadful! I'm a fast reader and can usually get through these kind of books in less than a week, but it's taking me days to get through the first few chapters.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Great Sci-Fi vacation read

    If you're like me, then reading a good book while on vacation is a must. And again, if you're like me, the romance novels that many people seem to read while on vacation isn't your speed.

    After a few months of badgering, my husband finally got me to give this book a whirl, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. It's got all the makings of a good sci-fi novel: zombies, ghosts, succubi, exorcisms.... you name it, this book probably has it.

    The story revolves around an exorcist that gets caught up in a plot far beyond anything he could have believed possible when he took the job. Carey weaves the story with enough detail to keep it vivid without becoming gratuitous. The characters are all very well developed, and there are enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

    This definitely isn't a romantic or touching read. It's gritty and thrilling, making you hold your breath as you turn the page. Carey writes in a style that's easy to read and keeps the plot moving. The Devil You Know is definitely a must-read for anyone that likes sci-fi or thrillers.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Great Read!

    Really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read more adventures of Felix Castor!

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  • Posted November 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I read about 100 pgs in and I was BORED!

    I gave up on reading this book about a 100 pages into it. The character is not believeable and the plot was just plain boring. I just couldn't get into it. Save the few dollars and just buy a better book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good book - not sure why it's in Sci-Fi section

    This book was great. It kept me guessing until the very end. I like the fact that it is a supernatural thriller written for adults instead of teenagers.

    This book has a great ending (not a to-be-continued-type of book), but if you read it and enjoy it there is a sequel, which I am currently reading.

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  • Posted June 1, 2009

    Original take on the supernatural

    There are a lot of novelists writing about the supernatural interacting with the modern world. The central conceit of most is that the normals don't know what is going on. Carey goes the exact opposite, everyone knows, but they try to live their lives with as little interaction as possible. When things get sticky, call in an exorcist. The plot is good, the characters and the treatment of the supernatural are really superb and original. And the villians are really villianous, which is important, becuase the hero is only as good as the villian. I will definitely buy the sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    Great Book

    This was a really great book. I had a hard time putting it down. The story has a really good plot. Fix is a really interesting. The ending was great and surprising. I would recommend this book to anyone and I'm looking forward to Vicous Circle to be released.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    Wondeful book.......

    I have read this book in on day, could not put it down. I started slow but picked up fast. The ending surprized me. Wonderful book looking forward to read more of his books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    Unique Ghostbusting Story

    Strange yarn about a London exorcist who encounters ghosts, demons, were-creatures and the like on a daily basis. Many of these are nasty pieces of work, indeed, but not much worse than the humans Felix Castor has to deal with. Part ghost story, part mystery, with white slavery thrown into the mix, the story also provides plenty of unexpected laughs. You wouldn't know it from the author's rather stern cover-jacket photo, but he has a great sense of humor. A bit overlong, but good reading - and the quick twist at the end suggests there might be a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    I loved this book

    The characters in this book are gritty, if somewhat 2-dimensional. The book is very engaging, I had a hard time putting it down. The plot was interesting, there were enough twists and action for anyone, along with a great hero. It manages to be satisfying without being formuliac or completely predictable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    Thrilling New Hero

    This is an amazing story. The subject is very different. If you like ghosts stories or the move The Exortist this book is perfect. I had a lot of twists and turns and it was suspenseful and suprising. A must read for thrill seekers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2007

    A Thrilling Whodunit and Ghost Story

    As a freelance exorcist, Felix Castor¿s reality is a lot different from most people. Ghosts, demons, and other creatures of the supernatural are a part of his every day life. His brother is a priest who believes that Felix, or Fix to his friends, is abusing his God given gift and that Fix should leave the exorcisms to the priests. There are a lot of things about himself and what he does that Felix doesn¿t examine too closely. While he no longer believes in God, he doesn¿t really know what to believe. He exorcises ghosts using his tin pipe and melancholy tunes, but he doesn¿t really know where they go. The case he takes out of economic necessity forces him to examine these aspects of himself and his life. Thus the novel is an action packed ¿whodunit¿ on one level and a philosophical quest on the nature of life and death or natural and supernatural on another. What starts as an ordinary exorcism becomes complex indeed when the ghost he is to exorcise from the Bonnington Archive saves his life. As he unravels the how and what of who the ghost once was and how she became a ghost, he has to grapple with issues he set aside since he drove is dead sister¿s ghost out of his bed. He has to deal with live bad guys who traffic in the sex trade and slavery and the demon they call to kill him. He has to solve the mystery of who is stealing artifacts from the Bonnington Archive, and he has to force the administrator to pay him. This is a scary and dark novel that searches the deepest regions of the human heart and depths to which people will descend for their gratification.

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