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The Devil You Know    by Mike Carey order for
Devil You Know
by Mike Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Mike Carey, a well-known writer for the successful comic book series Lucifer and Hellblazer, brings us his debut novel, The Devil You Know. It includes story and character elements from his comic book writing - for example, Felix Castor is a similar character to John Constantine - but also has its own individual feel.

Welcome to an alternate world similar to present day (cold and gloomy) London, except that ghosts and zombies coexist with humans. It's a world where those who know about some of the dead coming back to life pretend it isn't going on. In most cases, the zombies aren't exactly sure why they're still alive, but keep themselves from being recognized for what they are. On the other hand, ghosts have a reason for not being able to move on to the next life. They're trapped where they are, to relive the suffering they experienced at their deaths.

Enter Felix Castor: a ne'er-do-well, down and out, alcoholic, depressed, impoverished exorcist who is currently taking a break from work after his last exorcism left a close friend doomed with a demon trapped inside him. And yet he needs money to pay for things like food and a place to stay. So when an opportunity is offered to him, Felix takes it and finds himself investigating a ghost sighting at the prestigious Bonnington Archive, where the incorporeal spirit has recently physically attacked one of the archivists.

The Devil You Know takes a few pages to get up and running, but as Felix Castor puts more and more pieces together, the mystery expands and becomes more complex - more characters and details are added, and the conspiracy begins to grow. Near the end it seems like anyone and everyone could be to blame, and it will be up to Castor - who is everyone's enemy at that point - to solve the case and hopefully free the ghost.

The Devil You Know is the first in the series with the recurring character of Felix Castor - much like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. With the second book, Vicious Circle, already out in Britain, and the third, Dead Men's Boots, due later this year, it's merely a matter of time before the sequels also get published on the other side of the pond.

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