Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"The Devil You Know" by Mike Carey

Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stomping 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, and he'll be lucky if he only ends up dead. So Castor plans to get out of the game - right after he pays the bills with one last case in an old museum. But instead of driving out the ghost, Castor stirs up a life-leeching demon, a were-beast, and a ruthless East End gang boss, all of whom want to stop him from getting too close to an unpleasant truth. Stop him cold... 

I had read somewhere (probably in a review) that while Jim Butcher is good, Mike Carey is better; Harry Dresden is entertaining, but Felix "Fix" Castor is the real deal. Well, now I've read books by both authors, books in both series, and I have to say.... I like them both, just in different ways.

Felix is not a wizard, just an exorcist. He uses music, usually provided by a tin whistle (and for reasons I don't entirely fathom, the tin whistle works best and invokes the most fear in the spirits), to trap the ghost/spirits and send them on their way. Unlike Harry, he's only got one trick up his sleeve. Like Harry, he finds himself taking cases that he doesn't want to, thus resulting in lots of mayhem and danger. Harry works in Chicago; Fix is in London. Etc, etc.

This book is the first in the Felix Castor series, so there's a lot of set-up and expostion. It doesn't always move at the best pace, but I can forgive that in the first book. I thought the character development was interesting, and I really liked Felix. His roommate was cool, too, and there's obviously a bigger story there (which will hopefully be revealed in time). I won't say too much else about the book, but yes, I enjoyed it quite a bit and have already put the second title on a list of "to-be-read-in-the-not-so-distant-future" titles. Check it out if you've done the Dresden series; it's interesting to compare the two. Check it out if you just like a good read, too!

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