Felix Castor used to cast out demons for a living, and London was his stomping ground. 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)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"[An] ingeniously multilayered tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"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)
"An imaginative spin on the hard-boiled detective…Devil mixes horror and humor in a way that spells good omens for future Castor novels." (Entertainment Weekly)
This was the best urban fantasy audiobook I've listened to ever. I bemoan the fact that Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series isn't available here, and up to now, I've had to make do with Kelley Armstrong and Charlaine Harris. Both of the latter are competent writers, but they always bog down the plot with romance elements.
Then along comes Mike Carey and melds the world of urban fantasy with the quirky, cynical narrative voice of the hard-boiled detective novels I loved as a teen. The characters are sharply drawn, the plot moves along swiftly and had me guessing right to the end, and the hero is someone I would like to spend an evening drinking with.
I agree with other reviewers that the voice actor did an excellent job of narrating the story, hitting just the right balance between snarky and straight-on suspenseful.
I just wish it were July already, so I could listen to the next book in this series.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I have become a big fan of modern (often urban) fantasy because I've found that this genre is just the right fit for me when I have to deal with something I hate - mostly jogging, housework, or being sick in bed - those times that I really need a good distraction but don't have the wherewithal for "deep" literature. I don't expect this kind of fiction to be War and Peace, but I still really appreciate good writing; great characters, engrossing plot, wide and descriptive vocabulary, etc. There have been several series I have enjoyed a lot - Iron Druid, Dresden Files, Peter Grant, Sookie Stackhouse to name a few - but Felix Castor is my new Favorite because this is some of the best writing I've come across in this genre. I can hardly believe that Mike Carey is best known for comics and graphic novels because he is such a good writer.
Felix Castor is a exorcist in a modern world that has veered strangely off-track. Ghosts, spirits, and demons that may have been around all along have suddenly made their presence well and truly known to almost everyone and a lot of consternation and some mayhem is the result. Felix with his innate talent for being able to "name that ghost's tune" and play the spirit on outta here with his whistle is in a primo position to rake in the big bucks except for one thing - this spirit detective is carrying some heavy duty baggage. Felix isn't haunted by a ghost, he's haunted by his own past and although he's an avowed atheist he has never successfully shut down his own conscience. Felix's own moral sense is what drives him to be a detective in addition to an exorcist; he has to understand why things are happening as they are rather just banishing the spirit miscreant out of hand. The character of Felix Castor is wonderfully complex and so interesting - he's got a self deprecating dry humor that comes through in every thought or word; he's brash, thoughtful, stubborn, loyal and totally a guy you'd want to be friends with.
Like Dresden or Peter Grant, the Felix Castor series is all told First Person so the voice of the central character on audio is critical. Michael Kramer as the narrator for the first three books is simply marvelous. His voice has just a touch of the Joe Friday world-weary detective tone in it to sound just right for Felix and he does good character voices (including good voices for women and demons). My only criticism of the series as a whole is that the narrator changes to Damian Lynch with book 4. It's not that Mr. Lynch is bad, it's just that I find it really irritating that audio production companies have so little respect for their customers that they can't appreciate how frustrating such a change is especially with a First Person narrative. So, if you listen to The Devil You Know, you should just be aware that you will probably want the whole series and you'll have to face the narrator change down the road.
The magic system is unique, interesting, and consistent; the characters are engaging and multi-dimensional and both the real people and the other-worldly have unique personalities (interesting twists on zombies and succubi); the prose is dark and rich with much sardonic wit woven in; and the plot lines are very entertaining. The series is set up like the best of serial stories with a primary plot that is resolved in each book and overarching story lines that tie the series together and provide for a grand finale in the last book. I got so caught up in this series that I listened to all five books before I could make myself take time to write a review. However, the plus side of that is that I can recommend not only this book, but the whole series to anyone who has a taste for Urban Fantasy. And, there are rumors that Carey will publish a sixth book in the series (maybe 2013?) so you want to be ready!
The story is essentially a mystery investigation with some magic. The characters are engaging and the story was not predictable. That is what really matters in a mystery. I look forward to this detective in future stories. I would like to get to know him better.
Michael Kramer is a great story teller, his English accent slips alot, and while I did notice I was suprised that I really did not mind. He was a pleasure to listen to.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
The concept is new and different and the characters are remarkably interesting and well developed.
The closest would be the Peter Grant series as both are decidedly British, and low magic level worlds.
I have listened to a lot of his work and this one is as good as any he has done in the past.
It isn't a humorous series but I did laugh in a few places. I really didn't have any extreme emotional reaction to the book but it definitely draws you in and makes you want more.
Be warned that the author starts off slow, but by the end you can't put it down and are left anxiously waiting for the next one. Also, this is a very low-level magic world. If you are expecting fire-balls getting thrown around and super hero levle action this is not the series for you. This is a gritty and often very realistic series. you could actually see this world being a possibility.
Began reading sci-fi 71 years ago, at age 4, will continue until my clock quits ticking.. Best education one could have ever wished for.
Well done, brillian and funny with lots of ghostly warmth, delightful characters. I'm looking forward to the next Felix Castor adventure.
I loved this book. Perhaps it isn't the most engrossing plot, but it was engrossing enough. It's the quick wit and humour that make this book and have me wishing for more from Mike Carey like his second work, Vicious Circle and his third, Dead Men's Boots.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I don't like the Dresden Files books so when I saw this one compared to it I was leery. I'm glad I gave it a whirl anyway. I guess I can see the similarities - Dresden and Castor both live in an urban fantasy world, with the ability to interact with supernatural creatures... but...
Firstly, Felix is not nearly as smug (full of himself/world rotates around him type attitude) as Dresden.
More importantly though, Carey's story is much more mature, darker, and quite serious. He tries to lighten it with some humor (which doesn't fall completely flat), but the topic and storyline is dark. And Carey has a huge "detective" component to this story - sure, it's an urban fantasy, but Felix is trying to solve a crime/mystery throughout and the plot and characters are all used toward this end. The story isn't spent introducing this supernatural creature, then that one, then another... it's spent with Felix trying to solve a crime - before he was even convinced there was one.
It's primarily a detective novel that includes ghosts and it was good enough, and mature enough, that I bought the rest in the series. Oh, and it had an interesting/original take on the origins of were-creatures which made a nice change. The narration is good.
To me this book is been a 3.5 star book with emphasis on 3. Michael is a season narrator and I generally like how he narrates. So that part was excellent.
The main character???s sense of humor is good. However, the style of humor is very cynical and sometimes it gets over bearing. Regardless, I enjoyed the witty remarks (which were at every corner) of the main character along with a good mystery. Book has supernatural element to it, but it is subtle which I liked. I would recommend this book, and I am planning on getting the next book on series (but not immediately : )
You'll be glued to the headphones as the delightful Felix Castor has his latest adventure.
Crackling good characters, laugh out loud humor, delightful twists and tight plotting.
This was a wonderful surprise. Could not "put it down."
I have just discovered Mike Carey's novels since I joined Audible; and that discovery, alone, justifies my membership cost. With "The Devil You Know," Mr. Carey introduces us to his series protagonist, Felix Castor, who exorcises ghosts for a living. The series takes place in London, in some unspecified near future, when the dead have, unaccountably, begun to stick around to haunt us. The living need to make adjustments; and exorcism comes into great demand. Mike Carey manages to make his first novel both scary and funny, and his protagonist both hard-boiled and likable -- especially considering the supernatural beings he has to deal with every day: ghosts, demons, zombies, and were-creatures (but, fortunately, not vampires!). Mr. Carey writes intelligently -- sometimes even beautifully -- creating intricate, fascinating plots that will keep you awake listening all night. American actor Michael Kramer does a good job of creating the myriad English accents, and of giving each of the characters unique voices. I would recommend "The Devil You Know" and its sequels to anybody who likes a supernatural mystery. Although the novels can stand alone, I suggest listening to them in sequence -- beginning with "The Devil You Know," just to facilitate the continuity of episodes.
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