The Devil You Know

The Devil You Know

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Overview

Author of The Girl With All the Gifts Mike Carey presents the first book in his hip supernatural thriller series featuring freelance exorcist Felix Castor.

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.

When Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London, what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is rapidly turning into the Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize.

But that's business as usual: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off....

The Felix Castor Novels
The Devil You Know
Vicious Circle
Dead Men's Boots
Thicker than Water
The Naming of the Beasts
By the same author, writing as M. R. Carey:
The Girl With All the Gifts
Fellside
The Boy on the Bridge

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781549177163
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Series: Felix Castor Series , #1
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x (d)

About the Author

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine).

Audiobook veteran Michael Kramer has recorded more than two hundred audiobooks for trade publishers and many more for the Library of Congress Talking Books program. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner and an Audie Award nominee, he earned a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for his reading of Savages by Don Winslow.

Read an Excerpt

The Devil You Know


By Mike Carey

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Mike Carey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58030-4


Chapter One

NORMALLY I WEAR A CZARIST ARMY GREATCOAT-the kind that sometimes gets called a paletot-with pockets sewn in for my tin whistle, my notebook, a dagger, and a chalice. Today I'd gone for a green tuxedo with a fake wilting flower in the buttonhole, pink patent-leather shoes, and a painted-on mustache in the style of Groucho Marx. From Bunhill Fields in the east, I rode out across London-the place of my strength. I have to admit, though, that "strong" wasn't exactly how I was feeling; when you look like a pistachio-ice-cream sundae, it's no easy thing to hang tough.

The economic geography of London has changed a lot in the last few years, but Hampstead is always Hampstead. And on this cold November afternoon, atoning for sins I couldn't even count and probably looking about as cheerful as a tricoteuse being told that the day's executions have been canceled due to bad weather, Hampstead was where I was headed.

Number 17, Grosvenor Terrace, to be more precise: an unassuming little early Victorian masterpiece knocked off by Sir Charles Barry in his lunch hours while he was doing the Reform Club. It's in the books, like it or not; the great man would moonlight for a grand in hand and borrow his materials from whatever else he was doing at the time. You can find his illegitimate architectural progeny everywhere from Ladbroke Grove to Highgate, and they always give you that same uneasy feeling of déjà vu, like seeing the milkman's nose on your own firstborn.

I parked the car far enough away from the door to avoid any potential embarrassment to the household I was here to visit and managed the last hundred yards or so burdened with four suitcases full of highly specialized equipment. The doorbell made a severe, functional buzzing sound like a dentist's drill sliding off recalcitrant enamel. While I waited for a response, I checked out the rowan twig nailed up to the right of the porch. Black and white and red strings had been tied to it in the prescribed order, but still ... a rowan twig in November wouldn't have much juice left in it. I concluded that this must be a quiet neighborhood.

The man who opened the door to me was presumably James Dodson, the birthday boy's father. I took a strong dislike to him right then to save time and effort later. He was a solid-looking man, not big but hard-packed, gray eyes like two ball bearings, salt-and-pepper hair adding its own echoes to the gray. In his forties, but probably as fit and trim now as he had been two decades ago. Clearly, this was a man who recognized the importance of good diet, regular exercise, and unremitting moral superiority. Pen had said he was a cop-chief constable in waiting, working out of Agar Street as one of the midwives to the government's new Serious Organized Crime Agency. I think I would have guessed either a cop or a priest, and most priests gratefully let themselves go long before they hit forty; that's one of the perks of having a higher calling.

"You're the entertainer," Dodson said, as you might say, "You're a motherless piece of scum and you raped my dog." He didn't make a move to help me with the cases, which I was carrying two in each hand.

"Felix Castor," I agreed, my face set in an unentertaining deadpan. "I roll the blues away."

He nodded noncommittally and opened the door wider to let me in. "The living room," he said, pointing. "There'll be rather more children than we originally said. I hope that's okay."

"The more the merrier," I answered over my shoulder, walking on through. I sized the living room up with what I hoped looked like a professional eye, but it was just a room to me. "This is fine. Everything I need. Great."

"We were going to send Sebastian over to his father's, but the bloody man had some sort of work crisis on," Dodson explained from behind me. "Which makes one more. And a few extra friends ..."

"Sebastian?" I inquired. Throwing out questions like that is a reflex with me, whether I want answers or not; it comes from the work I do. I mean, the work I used to do. Sometimes do. Can live without doing.

"Peter's stepbrother. He's from Barbara's previous marriage, just as Peter is from mine. They get along very well."

"Of course." I nodded solemnly, as if checking out the soundness of the familial support network was something I always did before I started in on the magic tricks and the wacky slapstick. Peter was the birthday boy-just turned fourteen. Too old, probably, for clowns and conjurors and parties of the cake-and-ice-cream variety. But then, that wasn't my call to make. They also serve those who only pull endless strings of colored ribbon out of a baked-bean tin.

"I'll leave you to set up, then," Dodson said, sounding dubious. "Please don't move any of the furniture without checking with me or Barbara first. And if you're setting up anything on the parquet that might scratch, ask us for pads."

"Thanks," I said. "And mine's a beer whenever you're having one yourself. The term 'beer' should not be taken to include the subset 'lager.'"

He was already heading for the door when I threw this out, and he kept right on going. I was about as likely to get a drink out of him as I was to get a French kiss.

So I got down to unpacking, a task that was made harder by the fact that these cases hadn't moved out of Pen's garage in the last ten years. There were all sorts of things in among the stage-magic gear that gave me a moment's-or more than a moment's-pause. A Swiss Army penknife (it had belonged to my old friend Rafi) with the main blade broken off short an inch from the tip; a homemade fetish rigged up out of the mummified body of a frog and three rusty nails; a feathered snood, looking a bit threadbare now, but still carrying a faint whiff of perfume; and the camera.

Shit. The camera.

I turned it over in my hands, instantly submerged in a brief but powerful reverie. It was a Brownie Autographic No. 3, and all folded up as it was, it looked more like a kid's lunch box than anything else. But once I flipped the catches, I could see that the red-leather bellows was still in place, the frosted viewfinder was intact, and (wonder of wonders) the hand-wheeled stops that extended the lens into its operating position still seemed to work. I'd found the thing in a flea market in Munich when I was backpacking through Europe. It was nearly a hundred years old, and I'd paid about a quid for it, which was the whole of the asking price, because the lens was cracked right the way across. That didn't matter to me-not for what I principally had in mind at the time-so it counted as a bargain.

I had to put it to one side, though, because at that moment the first of the party guests were shepherded in by a very busty, very blonde, very beautiful woman who was obviously much too good for the likes of James Dodson. Or the likes of me, to be fair. She was wearing a white bloused top and a khaki skirt with an asymmetric hang, which probably had a designer name attached to it somewhere and cost more than I earned in six months. For all that, though, she looked a touch worn and tired. Living with James Supercop would do that to you, I speculated; or, possibly, living with Peter, assuming that Peter was the sullen streak of curdled sunlight hovering at her elbow. He had his father's air of blocky, aggressive solidity, with an adolescent's wary stubbornness grafted onto it. It made for a very unattractive combination, somehow.

The lady introduced herself as Barbara in a voice that had enough natural warmth in it to make electric blankets irrelevant. She introduced Peter, too, and I offered him a smile and a nod. I tried to shake hands with him out of some atavistic impulse probably brought on by being in Hampstead, but he'd already stomped away in the direction of a new arrival with a loud bellow of greeting. Barbara watched him go with an unreadable, Zen-like smile that suggested prescription medication, but her gaze as she turned back to me was sharp and clear enough.

"So," she said. "Are you ready?"

For anything, I almost said-but I opted for a simple yes. All the same, I probably held the glance a half moment too long. At any rate, Barbara suddenly remembered a bottle of mineral water that she was holding in her hand and handed it to me with a slight blush and an apologetic grimace. "You can have a beer in the kitchen with us afterward," she promised. "If I give you one now, the kids will demand equal rights."

I raised the bottle in a salute.

"So ...," she said again. "An hour's performance, then an hour off while we serve the food-and you come on again for half an hour at the end. Is that okay?"

"It's a valid strategy," I allowed. "Napoléon used it at Quatre Bras."

This got a laugh, feeble as it was. "We won't be able to stay for the show," Barbara said, with a good facsimile of regret. "There's quite a lot still to do behind the scenes-some of Peter's friends are staying over. But we might be able to sneak back in to catch the finale. If not, see you in the interval." With a conspiratorial grin, she beat her retreat and left me with my audience.

I let my gaze wander around the room, taking the measure of them. There was an in-group, clustered around Peter and engaged in a shouted conversation that colonized the entire room. There was an out-group, consisting of four or five temporary knots spread around the edges of the room, which periodically tried to attach themselves to the in-group in a sort of reversal of cellular fission. And then there was stepbrother Sebastian.

It wasn't hard to spot him; I'd made a firm identification while I was still unfolding my trestle table and laying out my opening trick. He had the matrilineal blond hair, but his paler skin and watery blue eyes made him look as if someone had sketched him in pastels and then tried to erase him. He looked to be a lot smaller and slighter than Peter, too. Because he was the younger of the two? It was hard to tell, because his infolded, self-effaced posture probably took an inch or so off his height. He was the one on the fringes of the boisterous rabble, barely tolerated by the birthday boy and contemptuously ignored by the birthday boy's friends. He was the one left out of all the in-jokes, looking like he didn't belong and would rather be almost anywhere else-even with his real dad, perhaps, on a day when there was a work crisis on.

When I clapped my hands and shouted a two-minute warning, Sebastian filed up with the last of the rear guard and took up a position immediately behind Peter-a dead zone that nobody else seemed to want to lay claim to.

Then the show was on, and I had troubles of my own to attend to.

I'm not a bad stage magician. It was how I paid my way through college, and when I'm in practice, I'd go so far as to say I'm pretty sharp. Right then I was as rusty as hell, but I was still able to pull off some reasonably classy stuff-my own scaled-down versions of the great illusions I'd studied during my ill-spent youth. I made some kid's wristwatch disappear from a bag that he was holding and turn up inside a box in someone else's pocket. I levitated the same kid's mobile phone around the room while Peter and the front-row elite stood up and waved their arms in the vain hope of tangling the wires they thought I was using. I even cut a deck of cards into pieces with garden shears and reconstituted them again, with a card that Peter had previously chosen and signed at the top of the deck.

But whatever the hell I did, I was dying on my feet. Peter sat stolidly at front and center, arms folded in his lap, and glared at me all the while with paint-blistering contempt. He'd clearly reached his verdict, which was that being impressed by kids'-party magic could lose you a lot of status with your peers. And if the risk was there even for him, it was clearly unacceptable for his chosen guests. They watched him and took their cue from him, forming a block vote that I couldn't shift.

Sebastian seemed to be the only one who was actually interested in the show for its own sake-or perhaps the only one who had so little to lose that he could afford just to let himself get drawn in, without watching his back. It got him into trouble, though. When I finished the card trick and showed Peter his pristine eight of diamonds, Sebastian broke into a thin patter of applause, carried away for a moment by the excitement of the final reveal.

He stopped as soon as he realized that nobody else was joining in, but he'd already broken cover-forgetting what seemed otherwise to be very well developed habits of camouflage and self-preservation. Annoyed, Peter stabbed backward with his elbow, and I heard a whoof of air from Sebastian as he leaned suddenly forward, clutching his midriff. His head stayed bowed for a few moments, and when he came up, he came up slowly. "Fuckwit," Peter snarled, sotto voce. "He just used two decks. That's not even clever."

I read a lot into this little exchange-a whole chronicle of casual cruelty and emotional oppression. You may think that's stretching an elbow in the ribs a touch too far, but I'm a younger brother myself, so the drill's not unfamiliar to me. And besides that, I knew one more thing about birthday boy than anybody else here knew.

I took a mental audit. Yes. I was letting myself get a little irritated, and that wasn't a good thing. I still had twenty minutes to run before the break and the cold beer in the kitchen. And I had one surefire winner, which I'd been meaning to save for the finale, but what the hell. You only live once, as people continue to say in the teeth of all the evidence.

I threw out my arms, squared my shoulders, tugged my cuffs-a pantomime display of preparation intended mainly to get Sebastian off the hook. It worked, as far as that went; all eyes turned to me. "Watch very carefully," I said, taking a new prop out of one of the cases and putting it on the table in front of me. "An ordinary cereal box. Any of you eat this stuff? No, me neither. I tried them once, but I was mauled by a cartoon tiger." Not a glimmer; not a sign of mercy in any of the forty or so eyes that were watching me.

"Nothing special about the box. No trapdoors. No false bottoms." I rotated it through three dimensions, flicked it with a thumbnail to get a hollow thwack out of it, and held the open end up to Peter's face for him to take a look inside. He rolled his eyes as if he couldn't believe he was being asked to go along with this stuff, then gave me a wave that said he was as satisfied of the box's emptiness as he was ever going to be.

"Yeah, whatever," he said with a derisive snort. His friends laughed, too; he was popular enough to get a choric echo whenever he spoke or snickered or made farting noises in his cheek. He had the touch, all right. Give him four, maybe five years, and he was going to grow up into a right bastard.

Unless he took a walk down the Damascus Road one morning and met something big and fast coming the other way.

"O-o-okay," I said, sweeping the box around in a wide arc so that everyone else could see it. "So it's an empty box. So who needs it, right? Boxes like this, they're just landfill waiting to happen." I stood it on the ground, open end downward, and trod it flat.

That got at least a widened eye and a shift of posture here and there around the room-kids leaning forward to watch, if only to check out how complete and convincing the damage was. I was thorough. You have to be. Like a dominatrix, you find that there's a direct relationship between the intensity of the stamping and trampling and the scale of the final effect.

When the box was comprehensively flattened, I picked it up and allowed it to dangle flaccidly from my left hand.

"But before you throw this stuff away," I said, sweeping the cluster of stolid faces with a stern, schoolteacherly gaze, "you've got to check for biohazards. Anyone up for that? Anyone want to be an environmental health inspector when they grow up?"

There was an awkward silence, but I let it lengthen. It was Peter's dime; I only had to entertain him, not pimp for him.

Finally, one of the front-row cronies shrugged and stood up. I stepped a little aside to welcome him into my performance space-broadly speaking, the area between the leather recliner and the running buffet.

"Give a big hand to the volunteer," I suggested. They razzed him cordially instead-you find out who your friends are.

I straightened the box with a few well-practiced tugs and tucks. This was the crucial part, so of course I kept my face as bland as school custard. The volunteer held his hand out for the box. Instead, I caught his hand in my own and turned it palm up. "And the other one," I said. "Make a cup. Verstehen Sie 'cup'? Like this. Right. Excellent. Good luck, because you never know ..."

I upended the box over his hands, and a large brown rat smacked right down into the makeshift basket of his fingers. He gurgled like a punctured water bed and jumped back, his hands flying convulsively apart, but I was ready and caught the rat neatly before she could fall.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Devil You Know by Mike Carey Copyright © 2006 by Mike Carey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"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 Starred Review

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Devil You Know 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I can see the small similarities between the Harry Dresden series and this one. There are differences though. I found Felix Castor more dark and grittier than Dresden. It definitely more "noir" and having the setting taking place in London is perfect. London is so dark and wet most of the time and cold. I think the setting fits well and is described perfectly for this novel. The world here is much different than present day. The dead and ghosts are actually out and we're aware that they are. Most of the time though, they actually don't bother us except for a select few that have risen up to settle some differences. There is plenty of magic but it's not in the way of Harry Potter it's more darker and more realistic. I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book. It started off a little slow and I had to nearly force myself to get into it. Eventually it started picking up and I got more interested. It was especially interesting that although it's paranormal in regards to ghosts and other creatures (there's a loup garou but not what you usually think it would be..it's different). There's also an underlying realistic element in it as naturally the ghost is there with a reason and has a story to tell (ie; how she became a ghost) so real life comes into play just as much as the paranormal side does in this book. Which is good it's a nice mixture and it's done nicely so that the magic parts come naturally and it doesn't seem so out of the ordinary, it actually feels like everyday life. I think the other reason why it took me a while to get into it, is because in the beginning, Felix goes through a huge narration on explaining how he got to this point, and how he met certain characters and their background stories. He does this throughout the book and although the explanations are great and provides a nice depth to the novel, some of them are too detailed and rather long winded. Then I'm left wondering where did we leave off and what does this have to do with it? although the background information is nice, it should have been done in small specific paragraphs but not deviate entirely from the main plot. This could be a deterrent to some readers and those reading might feel like putting the book to the side and leave it for another day, but try and get through it. You'll find it connects the dots in one way or another and it leaves the story more complete and more detailed. As for characters I like Felix. He's got wit and a dark sense of humor. I'm not sure if you could call him your typical detective in a noir book as although he does have an eye for the ladies I don't think he really has much of a charm or is that charismatic. To me he's more like a good guy friend who you'd have a drink with and just relax. He's likable, don't get me wrong and there are certainly parts in the book where I found myself laughing at him because of comments he's made either towards others or towards himself but he's lacking in something. He just falls short of standing out. I guess what I am trying to say is, it took me a while to warm up to him and even then although I like him, there's no strong attachment or anything. Overall, it's not a bad book! give it a try if you're a fan of Harry Dresden but want something more realistic, more dark, and with more grit. You'll find it's actually quite good and well worth the wait.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
At times Mike Carey's writing is a little "too" British for me, whatever that means, but I enjoyed his tale of supernatural detective, Felix Castor. The mystery was really superb but I had trouble keeping some of the characters sorted in my head. Probably more my fault than the author's. I look forward to the next novel in the series.
TallyDi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The character of Felix carried me through this book. His character flaws get him into situations he need not have faced but those same flaws get him back out. Along the way he does some good for someone else, but may have put himself in a worse position.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a cross of urban fantasy with a gritty detective novel. The story is set I. A world where ghosts have increased. Felix is a exorcist, kind of making his living in London. He's had a rough life. He accidentally fused a human soul to a demon. Luckily for him, he has good friends that are willing to help him along. When Felix's landlady needs some money, Felix has to go out and take a job. When the call comes for a simple exorcism at an archive, Felix gets into more trouble than he can handle. What I liked- Felix is a likable character. He has some issues, but he isn't a loner. The characters have a bit of depth and are more than background characters. The story gained momentum and kept it. My only issue is the ending when the mystery is revealed... It was overly complicated. I escpecially loved the very end. I think Juliet is one of my favorite character from the story.So to sum it up, it's a well written dark detective story. Likable characters, interesting plot. If you need to read something a bit darker than a lot of the urban fantasy stories out there, this is it.
ada-adjoa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
He's a sexy thing. Wish there had been more descriptives ofhis appearance. I do like a man who gets the job done! And yay for a man who sees a sistah and sees a love- OK, lust and like, interest!.
revslick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine a British 'Brother Odd' and add in a little Mickey Spillane - a fun supernatural book with lots of snarky comments.
sensitivemuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can see the small similarities between the Harry Dresden series and this one. There are differences though. I found Felix Castor more dark and grittier than Dresden. It definitely more "noir" and having the setting taking place in London is perfect. London is so dark and wet most of the time and cold. I think the setting fits well and is described perfectly for this novel. The world here is much different than present day. The dead and ghosts are actually out and we're aware that they are. Most of the time though, they actually don't bother us except for a select few that have risen up to settle some differences. There is plenty of magic but it's not in the way of Harry Potter it's more darker and more realistic. I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book. It started off a little slow and I had to nearly force myself to get into it. Eventually it started picking up and I got more interested. It was especially interesting that although it's paranormal in regards to ghosts and other creatures (there's a loup garou but not what you usually think it would be..it's different). There's also an underlying realistic element in it as naturally the ghost is there with a reason and has a story to tell (ie; how she became a ghost) so real life comes into play just as much as the paranormal side does in this book. Which is good it's a nice mixture and it's done nicely so that the magic parts come naturally and it doesn't seem so out of the ordinary, it actually feels like everyday life. I think the other reason why it took me a while to get into it, is because in the beginning, Felix goes through a huge narration on explaining how he got to this point, and how he met certain characters and their background stories. He does this throughout the book and although the explanations are great and provides a nice depth to the novel, some of them are too detailed and rather long winded. Then I'm left wondering where did we leave off and what does this have to do with it? although the background information is nice, it should have been done in small specific paragraphs but not deviate entirely from the main plot. This could be a deterrent to some readers and those reading might feel like putting the book to the side and leave it for another day, but try and get through it. You'll find it connects the dots in one way or another and it leaves the story more complete and more detailed.As for characters I like Felix. He's got wit and a dark sense of humor. I'm not sure if you could call him your typical detective in a noir book as although he does have an eye for the ladies I don't think he really has much of a charm or is that charismatic. To me he's more like a good guy friend who you'd have a drink with and just relax. He's likable, don't get me wrong and there are certainly parts in the book where I found myself laughing at him because of comments he's made either towards others or towards himself but he's lacking in something. He just falls short of standing out. I guess what I am trying to say is, it took me a while to warm up to him and even then although I like him, there's no strong attachment or anything.The plot is great and albeit for the slow start, putting the pieces together was a puzzle for me and it was fun trying to guess what it was. You're left guessing what it is and in the end I was sort of right, but wrong as well. I had the wrong idea. It was well done with how the ends were all tied and no questions asked except in regards to Felix' past and what will happen next (there are more books to this series). The ending was great and I'm curious as to what will happen. I will be reading the second book definitely however I'm hoping it won't be as slow starting as this one.Overall, it's not a bad book! give it a try if you're a fan of Harry Dresden but want something more realistic, more dark, and with more grit. You'll find it's actually quite good and well worth the wait.
Mardel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in Mike Carey's Felix Castor series. I thoroughly enjoy this book. there are zombies, ghosts, werwolves (a form of undead spirits in Felix's world) and demons inhabiting London alongside regular humans. Felix Castor is a ghost exorcist. Some people don't like him, some people do. He is hired to exorcise a ghost from a building that holds archives, but things don't go so smoothly. Felix ends up in danger, and finds that he wants to solve the mystery of why this ghost is a ghost afterall. Mike Carey is an extremely good writer. The dialogue is snappy, there are many twists and turns, and the main character is not a perfect male speciman, but a guy who makes mistakes and can admit them.The book has very strong mystery elements, and is one of the few books that didn't have me saying, come on! figure it out already! to the character. I liked his original take on the undead, and the way the characters interact with each other.I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series, which was also provided to me by a very sweet person.... (thanks sweet person!).If I wasn't so tired I would put up links- I still might at a later date.If you like paranormal mysteries, thick books, and down to earth characters...even the undead characters, you'll enjoy this one. One challenge I had (being an American) was reading the British idioms - which I plan to look up for a wider understanding. This wasn't an irritating challenge, just something that made me want to learn a little more about British slang and word usage- it's rare that a book makes me want to actually learn something, so this is a plus for me.
kayceel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What happens to ghosts once you exorcise them? Felix Castor, a professional "exorcist," has never spent much time pondering this question - he's simply whistled a tune (his preferred form of exocism), then collected his paycheck. Or, rather he *used* to - he's now semi-retired, and performing magic at birthday parties.When he's asked to exorcise a ghost in a museum, he's intrigued (a little bullied) enough to look into it, but the ghost is not as easy to find as he first expected...This is creepy and dark, with a charming, sarcastic, a bit tortured, and definitely reluctant hero. I *really* enjoyed it!
FicusFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed [The Devil You Know] by Mike CareyIt was very good, if a little long and wordy. He starts out having the POV do the same thing over and over (traveling around). He uses it as a way to pass information about the world set up on to the reader, and to paint in the background. Its not bad, but its a newbie thing, and could have been tighter. The author also not only assumes that you are from the UK, but that you are a native of London. I was fine with most of it, but could put others off. The main character an exorcist, Felix Castor, is down and out. He mistakenly welded a demon into the body/soul of his best friend while trying to exorcise the demon. Because of that he has given up exorcism, and is using his magic to entertain - at kids parties. For various reasons he gets sucked into a job of exorcising a ghost from the Bonnington Archive. It houses old documents, not important enough to be on display in museums. The case is more than it seems. He ends up trying to track down who the ghost is, and how she came to be dead, rather than just exorcising her. The trail leads him into the sites of a porn-monger/pimp and East End crime boss. Someone calls up a Succubus to drain him to death and when she is prevented in their first encounter she stalks him, and pops up at interesting moments.The writing was good, if a bit wordy and occasionally too colloquial. The main character was likable and believable. The minor characters were interesting and not too flat. There were several that should be recurring and they were quirky. The story was interesting.All in all a very good first book. I will read the next one in the Felix Castor series.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Felix ¿Fix¿ Castor is in trouble. His landlady and close friend, Pen, is counting on him to help her pay the mortgage so she can keep her ancestral family home. The problem is, Fix made a mess of his last gig¿doing magic tricks at a bratty kid¿s birthday party¿and the kid¿s dad threw Fix out without any pay. So now Felix is in a real bind. He doesn¿t have the money to pay Pen, and the only way he can find to come up with it is to take a gig in his old job¿freelance exorcism. But Fix gave that job up long ago, after a botched exorcism left one of his best friends trapped with a demon named Asmodeus stuck in his body and confined to an asylum. Without any real choices left, Fix has to take the exorcism job. A female ghost with a red veil over her face has been haunting an archive, and she just got violent, attacking one of the staff. Ghosts aren¿t usually violent, and Fix is intrigued. The deeper he gets into the case, the more he realizes that the real story isn¿t how to get rid of the ghost; it¿s figuring out how she got to be a ghost in the first place. Fix is suddenly finding himself pursued by werewolves, a succubus, a rival exorcist, and a sleazy local crime warlord/pimp, and he has to not only figure out what all of that has to do with the woman at the archive, but survive it all with his skin intact. Oh, and get paid, too.Fix is a hard-boiled, sardonic, deeply flawed but still somehow likeable investigator who could rub elbows with the best of the classic trenchcoated PIs, making this paranormal mystery romp an enjoyable ride for those willing to suspend a bit of disbelief. Gritty and amusing by turns, this would be a good match for fans of Jim Butcher¿s ¿Dresden Files¿ series.
nilchance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Strong, terse writing and a likeable protagonist. It takes a while for this book to get rolling, and the setting (a historical archive in London) isn't immediately engaging, but once Carey gets started he doesn't stop. The climax of the book is fierce and unflinching.
okeres on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read. The Devil You Know is a detective story set in a London where the dead tend to rise - as ghosts, zombies & were. Oh, and there's demons too. Felix "Fix" Castor is a freelance exorcist who uses music (via tin whistle) to capture ghosts. Fix is wonderfully and darkly humorous. Although the book had me snorting with laughter here and there, the story itself is not at all comedic. It's a good and dark detective story, filled with interesting characters - living and dead. I'd recommend it, as well as the next book Vicious Circle, to anyone who enjoys their urban fantasy or paranormal mysteries a bit on the darker side.
andykenben1971 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Felix Castor is an exorcist/spiritual private eye, who works with ghosts in and around London. You either will read the book now, or run screaming the other way reading that description. Felix is an anti-hero along the lines of Mike Hammer, and Spenser, but with a twist. His clients usually want him to help with people already dead. It¿s a great hook. In The Devil You Know Felix is called to The Bonnington Archive to weed out a reclusive specter. Naturally things are not what they seem, and Felix finds himself getting trapped deeper and deeper in trouble. The delicious parts of this novel are when Felix is cornered, and has to think his way out of the box. Couple this with the fact that his best friend is host to a demon from hell, and his landlady is a practicing naturalist/shaman, and you have all the ingredients for a novel you will have trouble not finishing in one, or two, sittings. It is a strong, fun, scary read. 9/10.
raypratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Darker than other urban fantasy I've encountered, somewhat like a depressed Harry Dresden. Good characterization and gripping plot kept the pages turning. I'll be checking out the rest of Carey's work.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fix Castor is an exorcist in a world where ghosts and other creatures possessed by the dead are becoming more and more common. He reluctantly accepts a job and the Bonnington archive because he really needs the money and finds himself in the middle of a mystery. This is a great book if you really like urban fantasy and mysteries. Fans of Jim Butcher should enjoy this new series. The second is coming out this summer. Mr. Carey can really write. His descriptions are never tedious and his characters are very real.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had heard wonderful things about the Felix Castor series and it has been on my book shelf forever, I finally got around to reading it. It was a very enjoyable book. Right now there are six books planned for the series and Book 5, The Naming of the Beasts, just came out in the US last year. The sixth book is scheduled for a late 2011 release and is, as yet, untitled. The book has a creative take on the paranormal world and Felix is snarky and lots of fun to read about.After a particularly bad possession Felix Castor has tried to give up exorcising as a job. He is taking a leave of absence and trying to be a magician at children's parties...well it's just not working out. He finally is forced to take a case because he needs the money to pay rent. The case seems to be straight forward; the local Archive is being haunted by a female ghost with no face and they want Felix to exorcise her. No problem right? Well Felix is finding that this is no ordinary ghost and ends up getting into some pretty dangerous stuff very quickly.I really enjoyed the world created here. Basically all supernaturals are different types of possessions; as such exorcists are very important where ghosts and possession are a fact of everyday life. The book all takes place in London, which is a wonderful setting. All of the characters have depth and are interesting. Felix himself is incredibly funny, with a dry sense of humor, and he is constantly getting himself beat up or stumbling into situations that are better left alone. He is a bit of a anti-hero and constantly ends up trying to do the right thing despite his best efforts. There are a number of laugh out loud points in this book.The plot has many layers of deception and takes a number of twists and turns. My only problem with the plot is that ultimately it was fairly predictable...I guessed what had happened in general terms in the beginning of the book and was kind of let down when I was right.The action scenes are well done and the book itself was very readable. Things moved at a pretty good clip, although there were times where it felt like Felix was kind of stalled on the main case and there were a couple times when the story went off on dubious tangents. Still, it was very engaging and interesting overall.This is definitely a solid urban fantasy of the investigative variety; no romance and not a ton of magic (besides the ghosts). Definitely for adult readers only; there is a lot of swearing, violence, and sexual situations (talk about rape, hookers, etc.).The book wrapped up nicely and I look forward to reading about more of Felix adventures in the future.Overall a fun and engrossing urban fantasy. I enjoyed the world that's built here, I liked Felix as a character, and enjoyed the humor woven throughout. The plot was a bit predictable and the storyline lagged a little at points. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series; this world and the characters were just so fun! I will be checking out Vicious Circle next.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Felix Castor is an exorcist; not the Catholic priest kind, but an exorcist all the same. He accepts jobs from people who are having problems with ghosts that won't leave; he comes in & gets rid of them. As the story gets going, the job he accepts is at the Bonnington archive, where several of the workers have seen a ghost haunting the place. His task is to exorcise her, but once he gets going to try to figure her out, he realizes he is more involved than he thinks. Someone, somewhere, does not want him nosing around and it takes everything he has to solve this case.This was a pretty fun paranormal mystery story and I certainly hope that the author continues to write books with Felix as the main character. In a sense, he kind of reminded me of John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside books, with his ability to find himself in a really nasty paranormal situation or two and still finish the job. The book is fun to read and I'm a sucker for the odd paranormal detective-type story. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre and really, to anyone who doesn't have problems lifting their disbelief and having fun with a good old ghost story. Mystery readers who don't mind a bit of the supernatural as part of the plot would also like this book.Keep them coming, Mike Carey! I'll be waiting right here for the next one, which I think I'll go ahead and order from the UK. recommended
amberwitch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A well told urban fantasy, with a mundane crime at its center. In a world where the dead are increasingly refusing to move on, the conflicts that arise between the living and the dead are usually solved by calling in an exorcist. The setting is a gritty London whose mundane population is greatly augmented by ghosts, zombies and demons, and showcase inventive reinterpretations of mythical creatures. In this world Loupe-garous (or werewolves) are animals possessed by human ghosts who rearrange the host body into a human shape. Felix Castor is a retired exorcist whose landlady¿s lack of funds forces him to pick up his old trade. He gets hired to exorcise a ghost who has attacked an employee at a map museum. In order to exorcist the ghost he has to know it. While working on that, he uncovers a number of puzzling facts, and gets entangled in power games and political in fights. As a genuine Don Quixote he feels driven to figure out how the ghost died, and resolve her responsibilities. With a minimum of words Carey manages to present a cast of real characters whose actions defines them clearer than any amount of descriptive passages could. The novel does not avoid or softens the harsh realities of the crimes it describes, but neither does it wallow in them. The matter of fact way the most degrading treatment is described is disconcerting. Fortunately the 'bad guys' get their just rewards. This is clearly the start of a series - there is the opponent who got away swearing revenge, the dangerous for-now-ally who has the power, but currently not the motivation to kill Felix as well as a whole host of other supporting characters whose further development will hopefully be charted in forthcoming books.
yarmando on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Unoriginal, but entertaining. Sticks pretty closely to antecedents: Jim Butcher's Dresden, Hellblazer, etc. You get your supernatural, your cocky hero, and gritty urban environment with organized crime (in this case, women kidnapped into sexual slavery). Fix Castor is a professional exorcist, binding ghosts to his music, and when he stops playing, the ghosts go where the music goes. But he's developing a conscience about it: when ghosts are crying out for justice, is it right to silence and banish them? Throw in a sexy but deadly succubus sidekick, and you've got a series that I'll probably keep reading.
fnrlr1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Felix Castor sees dead people. And exorcises them. But after a bad incident over a year ago, Felix has quit profession until he gets a call from the Bonnington Archive. A ghost has gone from haunting the archive to attacking the staff. It should be a straight forward exorcism, but the more Felix learns, the more he discovers that nothing and no one is as they appear to be, living or dead.Excellent read, very compelling, rate this PG-13 for sex and violence, think modern police procedural novel with a fantasy background.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
He's not really a medium, he's an exorcist, but I knew I'd never find it again if I didn't give it a familiar tag. This is the very entertaining twist on the usual story of an ordinary guy who gets caught up in a crime mystery. I loved the scene where he was attacked by the succubus. I feel certain there will be a sequel.
drneutron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sort of a Dresden-esque kind of thing, only better written. I was hoping it would be a bit spookier instead of horrific crime, but I enjoyed it and will keep my eyes open for follow-ons.
ScifiandScary More than 1 year ago
The Devil You Know was my second book by Mike Carey, although I didn’t realize it until after I’d already purchased the book. The first, of course, was The Girl With All The Gifts. While it wasn’t exactly filled with suspense, there was a good bit of a mystery involved in it. Carey did a great job of giving as a familiar yet unfamiliar world. You also can’t help but root for the main character. There were so many snarky quips in this book that had me rolling. Michael Kramer does a great job delivering Castor’s lines with such a dry wit that it takes a minute to realize the insult that’s just been delivered. If you are quite the religious person, I highly recommend that you avoid this book. Castor is decidedly anti-church, and he let’s people know it, both in direct remarks and in thoughts. A paranormal mystery with an exorcist slash beginner gumshoe, The Devil You Know is set in a world where all sorts of abnormal creatures walk the earth. There are zombies, rougaroos, ghosts, demons, succubi, so on and so forth. The world has been dealing with this new state of things for quite a while, so you get a sense of ‘the new normal’ after the world has adjusted to the big event. There were not many references to what happened, or to the details of how it happened, and I found that refreshing. Sometimes you don’t need an epic recounting of a calamitous event. The after is just as fun. From beginning to end, the book is well-paced and intriguing. The characters aren’t exactly fully fleshed out, but they don’t need to be. Felix is a fantastic grey-shaded protagonist. He has no qualms with admitting to why he does things. He’s also not above blackmailing or doing whatever is necessary to get things done. Underneath it all, though, he’s essentially a good guy, and that’s part of why he’s so darn likable. This is not a book for the easily offended. But, if you’re able to enjoy a little bawdy humor and a good dose of snark, you’ll love what you’re reading/listening to. I definitely intend on picking up the rest of this series. The Devil You Know was just too entertaining for me to walk away from it after just one book. (And that’s extremely rare for me.) I definitely recommend fans of paranormal and supernatural mysteries pick this up. And from what I’ve read of The Dresden Files, if you’re a fan of that type of urban fantasy, The Devil You Know will be right up your alley as well.
anne_jindra More than 1 year ago
Carey spent most of his career writing graphic novels, but his debut novel is just as gripping, and just as adult. Felix Castor can see things that other people can't- he's always been able to. While in modern day London that's more accepted than you'd think, it still isn't a great way to make a living. But for a guy who's in a downward spiral, there's always one more job. This one last job is in a museum and is fascinating in its twist and turns. Clues pop up as supernatural events challenge the happy little world of museum employees, and they're not nearly as amused by the occurrences as Felix. The veil between worlds is ripping and the population is having a harder time maintaining their comfortable level of mild disbelief, and this final exorcism might be more than Castor can handle. In the style of the Constantine Comic Books, The Devil You Know is gritty, dark and gripping. Grab it if you want something a little different. Tatianna Anne Jindra On YouTube BadFantasyRx https://badfantasyrx.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-devil-you-know-mike-carey.html