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The Devil You Know: A Felix Castor Novel, Book 1 | [Mike Carey]

The Devil You Know: A Felix Castor Novel, Book 1

Felix Castor used to cast out demons for a living, and London was his stomping grounds. But in a time when the supernatural realm is in upheaval and spilling over into the mundane world of the living, his skills are in renewed demand. With old debts to pay, Castor is left with no choice but to accept one final, well-paying assignment: a seemingly simple exorcism. Trouble is, the more he discovers about the ghost in the archive, the more things refuse to add up.
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Publisher's Summary

Felix Castor used to cast out demons for a living, and London was his stomping grounds. But in a time when the supernatural realm is in upheaval and spilling over into the mundane world of the living, his skills are in renewed demand.

With old debts to pay, Castor is left with no choice but to accept one final, well-paying assignment: 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 wants no part of.

What should have been a perfectly straightforward job is rapidly turning into a "who can kill Castor first" competition, with demons, were-beings, and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize. But that's okay. Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off.

©2007 Mike Carey (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Carey's writing is nimble and witty, his dialogue believable ... [a] quirky, dark, and imaginative tale that compels readers to keep turning pages long after they should have gotten to sleep." (Kirkus)

"Carey drives this thriller like Chandler at the wheel of a runaway hearse." (Daily Express)

"Imagine an unholy cross between Buffy, Jonathan Creek, and hardboiled noir, set it in the sleazier bits of London, and you've got Mike Carey's The Devil You Know, a supernatural crime novel featuring Felix Castor, reluctant magician and part-time exorcist. Britain is filling up with zombies, ghosts, werewolves, and demons; it's something to do with having entered the new millennium, maybe. All anyone knows for sure is that the beggars in street doorways are as likely to be dead as not. Recently retired, following a vicious encounter with a demon that left one of his friends in a very strange state of mind indeed, Castor owes his landlady rather too much rent. So when a ghost shows up in a library, Castor takes the job of exorcising it. A simple ghost, a library, how hard can it be? The reader knows the answer, the author knows the answer, and so do Castor and the ghost. Fast, fun, and furious, worth it for the final joke alone." (The Guardian)

"Extremely impressive - entertaining and assured. You're left with the eerie feeling that Felix Castor will be haunting us for a long time to come." (SFX)

"Sleazy and down-at-heel and quintessentially London, Mike Carey's Felix Castor steps effortlessly into the growing field of supernatural noir and brings with him a blast of fresh, British air. Think Shoestring meets Constantine, with backing vocals from the shades of Leslie Charteris and Anais Nin. Carey's plotting is tight and laconic, and laced with shivery, understated horrors from both the human world and beyond. It grabs you from the first out-of-nowhere nasty surprise, and rarely lets go thereafter. You'll be up all night finishing this one." (Richard Morgan, bestselling author of Altered Carbon)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (64 )
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3.8 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Morpeth, United Kingdom 10/06/2012
    Mark Morpeth, United Kingdom 10/06/2012 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "A good yarn - appalling narration"

    I liked the storyline - it was different and was spun out with a light and amusing touch. The characters were well-crafted, and I actually found myself caring about their outcomes. I had guessed the ending before we got there, but it didn't spoil the twist at all. Overall, a very enjoyable tale.

    But (and it's a big but) the narrator is truly awful. Think Lloyd Grossman channeling Dick Van Dyke and you've got it! Other reviewers have pointed this out and I have to agree with them. He mangles the English language and comes close to totally ruining the story - every few minutes I was wrenched out of the illusion by a dreadful American-style pronunciation. This jars with the characterisation in the book - and I feel sorry for the author who (I hope) probably had no choice in the matter.

    If you can tolerate the narrator then go with it - it's a fine piece of story-telling with a different slant on life (and death). I would have given it 4 stars but for the narrator.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Newport, United Kingdom 01/06/2012
    Sally Newport, United Kingdom 01/06/2012 Member Since 2011
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    "Fake British accent"

    I would have happily given this book 5 stars. I love Mike Carey's graphic novels and I was pleased to see that his writing style works equally well in novel format. Felix Castor is an interesting character, the plot was intricate and the world he created believable. My problem was with the narrator.
    He is obviously an American trying to do a British accent. The one bit of personal information we learn about Castor is that he is from the north of England so quite why we get a fake cut glass posh accent is a mystery. The supporting cast fare even worse with accents ranging from Australian to Irish, often in the same character. Words are pronounced in the American way - Zee instead of Zed, docile becomes dosil etc. It was so jarring and kept throwing me out of the novel. He has no understanding of some of the British phrases and at one point he says A.S.D.A (as a series of initials) instead of Asda. It was awful. All we needed was a guest slot from Dick Van Dyke!
    As written this is a very British novel but it ends up feeling as if Felix is a complete stranger to the UK. Contrast this to the wonderful narration of Ben Aaronovitch's 'Rivers of London' series.
    I see that the narrator changes for books 4 and 5 - I hope it's for the better!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha Brunswick West, Australia 26/05/2012
    Samantha Brunswick West, Australia 26/05/2012 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book, awful narration"

    I wish I had read this in print first. A great book, a clever premise, and completely ruined by the terrible narrator. is he American ? I think so, and he tries to do Cockney accents, which he can't pull of at all, he ends up sounding like Dick van Dyke a la Mary Poppins. His accents also wander all over the place. His emphasis is all wrong, and he clearly has not much understanding of the book.
    Shocking

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike cardiff, United Kingdom 07/04/2014
    Mike cardiff, United Kingdom 07/04/2014 Member Since 2008
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    Story
    "Dick Van Dyke In Hell"
    What did you like best about The Devil You Know? What did you like least?

    The story is strong, the lead character a shabby knight in the best Chandler mould. The use of real life, gritty situations and characters grounds the fantastical elements of the book. But, oh my lord... the narration. Simply the worst fake English accent, and the constant teeth grindingly bad misfires on everyday British elements.. an 'A.S.D.A. bag'? 'The London A to Zeee', 'Arse' being pronounced like he's quoting Serbo-Croat? Loved the book, hated the voice. Seriously, he makes that nasal butler on Magnum sound like Vinnie Jones.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Castor, Chandleresque and he knows it, A beguiling character.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Kramer’s performances?

    No. Not if you paid me.


    Did The Devil You Know inspire you to do anything?

    Made my want to hire Ray Winstone to re-record the whole story.


    Any additional comments?

    Get a UK based narration of this book, ASAP- this is dreadful!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookaholic 07/03/2013
    Bookaholic 07/03/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "The devil you know"

    This is the first time I have listened to this particular author and narrator. If you like supernatural that has a wry humour then this will not disappoint you. The storyline is good but written in a way that you can visualise what he is portraying. The narrator is excellent, an unexpected discovery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toni Nr Chipping Norton, United Kingdom 16/06/2012
    Toni Nr Chipping Norton, United Kingdom 16/06/2012 Member Since 2010
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    "Pity about the narrator"

    I've tried to listen to this book but have failed to get a quarter of the way through it due to the narrator. Why did they get an american with an attrocious fake english accent (who pronounces kebab as kebob) to read what is very probably a very good book, but i will never know as the guy narrating it ruins it

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Wirral, United Kingdom 06/03/2014
    Elaine Wirral, United Kingdom 06/03/2014 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book, utterly terrible reading"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    British book, set in London, American reader who does a terrible British accent. Work it out! This is an amazing book and I have now read the whole series but I can't listen to an American reader mangle them. Why on earth was Michael Kramer chosen to read these books?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Devil You Know?

    Realising that the reader was not British and then cringing at his pronunciation and accents.


    How could the performance have been better?

    By using a British reader who could actually do a range of British accents would have been a great start.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    This is a brilliant book and would make a fantastic film. Just don't bother listening to the audio book!


    Any additional comments?

    Please, Audible, give though to who your reader is. I have had other books ruined by using an American reader on a British book but none quite as spectacularly bad as Mr Kramer. I'll happily listen to American books because they should have American readers. Not not books set in London and with a main character from Liverpool. Disaster!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mikey poole, United Kingdom 22/02/2014
    Mikey poole, United Kingdom 22/02/2014 Member Since 2013

    Audible Addict

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    "Looking forward to book two!"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Like a failed marriage proposal. AWKWARD.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an interesting novel with a different storyline. Perhaps I m biased as I have always had a fascination in ghosts and exorcism so for me it was like a day at the sweet shop!

    Bearing in mind that the narrator is American with an awful ability to act in an English voice, I loved this book. I noticed with many past reviews that this was a huge problem for people, most of whom couldn't overcome it to enjoy the book. However, the storyline attracted me so much and I went ahead and bought it anyway! I'm so glad I did because the story is excellent, chilling and interestingly written with werewolves, succubus, spirits and demons a plenty.

    Yes, the narrator is terrible, but I was able to look past the poor English accent and enjoy the book thoroughly, and I would recommend you do the same if the blurb attracts your interest,don't be put off. I didn't really understand why people berated the actor so much for having such an awful accent, For me it was simple: I knew he was not good at an English accent, so that's what I expected. I got over it. It's a shame not many others couldn't as it's a fantastic book.

    The book conducted a myriad of literature styles. At times it was the classic detective "who dunit" novel and at other times it just had the perfect backdrop for a good old fashion spook story or thriller. It was a mixture of "cuckoo's calling" by Gailbraith and "Exorcist".

    This book will keep you hooked and interested, providing you can overcome the bad storytelling from the actor!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Wheatley, United Kingdom 28/05/2013
    Andy Wheatley, United Kingdom 28/05/2013 Member Since 2010
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    "A Devil I Already Knew"

    I approach Mike Carey from the world of comics and it's no surprise to find him writing a character not dissimilar to John Constantine. Felix Castor is a purposeful reflection of Hellblazer, I think, and no bad thing for that as Carey has written him well - though his Lucifer series was an apex of that ilk.

    The writing is smart and nicely self-aware with some of the acidic, weary observance entirely fitting to the voice of Castor and drizzled with references from pop culture to Ancient Greece. Characters are well-drawn and the changed world, where zombies and ghosts are known, if not commonplace, is subtly evoked - a nice trick to allow Castor's world to be "above ground" without asking the reader to accept an entirely fantastical place.

    The story itself has human as well as supernatural darkness and Carey shows an adept hand at both, whilst keeping this more in the realm of thriller than horror.

    The narrator has a great voice but weak accents and his American stretch to english is sometimes jarring (nobody pronounces "Asda" as four separate letters; some research might have prevented this jarring moment in an otherwise grimly humourous line about glue sniffing). It doesn't spoil it, however, and the manner of the delivery is spot on.

    Terrific stuff; I'll be following up with the others. Note: a good idea to read in order as I've read an interview with Carey indicating an overall plot arc.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FIONA 27/04/2013
    FIONA 27/04/2013 Member Since 2010
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    "Does Vincent Price narrate this?"

    Great book and likeable lead character but the American narration is so weird. The accents he tries are so appalling that he makes Dick Van Dyke sound good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Derna
    Williams, Australia
    28/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I really like this one!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Devil You Know the most enjoyable?

    Very easy to get caught up in the story and engage with the characters. Love it!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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