Friday, March 15, 2013

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

The Devil You Know
Mike Carey

Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping 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. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London--just to pay the bills, you understand. But 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. That's OK: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off...

Warner Books Inc


Rosy's scrawlings on The Devil You Know
The tone of this book, and all those that follows, is deeply noir. From the outset Felix is a shadowy smoker acting the clown and playing revenge tricks on spoilt and nasty children by revealing ghost, from their past, to them. And that's during his day job, the one where he's supposed to gain enough money for rent. It is also revealed that he's friends with a man possessed by a demon. Upon visiting, the split personality of Felix's friend Rafi and the bloody violence of the demon half begin a roll of horror and darkness that takes over Felix's life. Felix, though, is not at all surprised and mostly capable of dealing with what comes. Mostly.
This book is a mix of noir, detective stories and gothic ghost fiction with the inclusion of the demonic. For every light shade of grey allowed into the text there's a deep darkness to follow and sink into. It should comes as no shock, then, for me to say that Mike Carey is one who writes dark, noir-like comics - check out Lucifer and Hellblazer if you're interested. One interesting aspect of the writing style is that the imagery and pace are quite comic-like, in a dark way, with a focus on certain colours, certain movements and simple events even though the entire story is intense and complex. In fact, the series is so intense I've had to take a breather half way just to glimpse some light again. Never fear, I'm definitely going back to finish it.
There's a continual tumble of events that leads to further and greater chaos, the repercussions of which flow over into the next book and so on. In this, the story is in line with many recent urban fantasy books as it is quite popular of late to right out all or nearly all hope and light within stories. This does provide and edge to the story but the edge can hurt both the book and the reader's impression by seeming one sided, dismal and constrictive. Luckily, The Devil You Know and those that follow escape this (I say this despite my need for a breather) because of the comic aspects and the inclusion of detection rather than continual blast 'em up action. By having detection as a major factor of the story there's room for thought and a slower pacing that allows a reader to take in the glorious doom and gloom at their own speed.
As a short P.S. I have to say that the demonic possession of Rafi is one of the best I've ever read, as noted in my best demon possessions post.

I'd recommend this book to: lovers of gothic stories, Gotham city minus the superheroes, ghosts and demons as well as noir crime and detective stories.

No comments:

Post a Comment