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
"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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
Castor, Chandleresque and he knows it, A beguiling character.
No. Not if you paid me.
Made my want to hire Ray Winstone to re-record the whole story.
Get a UK based narration of this book, ASAP- this is dreadful!
My perfect night in: Cup of tea, all my wonderful audible books and dramas and a comfortable seat on top of my bed. Nuf sed'
Like a failed marriage proposal. AWKWARD.
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!
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.
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
I didn't actually manage to get to the end of this book. I got about 3/4s the way through and gave up. The narrator is an American with a pleasant voice and no doubt excellent for an american character but this book is set in London and he makes the main character sound like a snippy old fashioned Toff and the other characters!!! sound Irish/Australian? I have no idea. The story was not engrossing enough for me to persevere with the ill chosen narrator so I gave it. The story was ponderous although I think it might be an ok read in paper. If you like ghost busters, shape shifters and other strange creatures then I would recommend Harry Dresden. You can't go wrong with Harry and it's wonderfully narrated by James Marsters.
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.
"I really like this one!"
Very easy to get caught up in the story and engage with the characters. Love it!
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