Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book #2

The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey. Unabridged audio.

I discovered Mike Carey's work as a novelist after being impressed by his work as a comic book writer. I am willing to give people who have demonstrated a skill writing in one medium the benefit of the doubt that they can write in another.

In a world where ghosts have started to appear, those with the gift of sensitivity to the unseen world are in demand. "Exorcist" has become a profession, and one of London's freelance exorcists is Felix Castor. He is hired by a museum to drive out a ghost who has begun to haunt the exhibits.

This novel feels like an urban fantasy novel, complete with ghosts and demons and a succubus, but this is really just the atmosphere, the setting for the novel. The real story is more of a standard mystery, with clues and blind alleys and multiple suspects. Carey handles both parts of the novel (the supernatural  setting and the detective story) with equal skill.

In order to drive out the museum's ghost, Felix has to discover who she is, and why she is haunting the museum. And when it appears that she was a victim of a crime, Felix realizes that this is a much a worldly situation as it is a supernatural one. He is followed, attacked, and knifed, and this is just the beginning. As scary as the world of demons and ghosts may be, the worlds of sex trafficking, prostitution and organized crime are even scarier. Whether this was the theme that Carey was driving at, it was a theme that I took from the book.

Felix's brother, a Catholic priest, answers the reader's obvious question of what exactly a "freelance" exorcist is, and how that fits into the Church's traditional role of exorcising demons. And the broader mystery of what exactly these ghosts are (there is a passing reference to zombies) and why they are appearing now is hinted at. I expect these issues to be covered in later books, which I look forward to reading. And the ending scene of the novel, where Felix gains a very unlikely associate, certainly sets the stage for an intriguing sequel or two.

source: public library


  1. I liked this one a lot, largely due to the atmosphere.

  2. I agree -- that was a strength.