Dead Men's Boots: A Felix Castor Novel by Mike Carey
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|Dead Men's Boots: A Felix Castor Novel by Mike Carey|
|Reviewer: Natalie Baker|
|Summary: A high-paced, witty urban fantasy with a distinctly British tone, and a clever plot, Felix Castor, Exorcist, has far too much on his plate, and life (and death) just won't let up.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 544||Date: September 2007|
You know when a book starts with a funeral it's not exactly going to be a barrel of laughs.
Unless, of course, you're in a Felix Castor novel.
The dead, for reasons of their own, have started coming back, and certain people who have certain abilities have worked out their own ways of becoming exorcists. Fix, as he's more commonly referred to by his friends, is one such exorcist. Not a sleek, suave American type with his own TV show, but one who hangs around North London with a pitch-perfect cynical North-London attitude, and then wonders why his life is quite as out-of-control as it is.
It's an intricately-plotted, fast-moving tale, which makes it difficult to give away any kind of synopsis - a murder scene with a supernatural element, in some way related to another exorcist's - a friend's - apparent suicide. And then there's the possessed man who Fix is somehow responsible for. It all keeps piling up, every scene alters the story somewhat, and there's a large cast of neatly sketched, weird and wonderful characters - the various exorcists, the lawyers, the cops, the zombie, the succubus, and other members of the undead corps. It gets complex. It gets good.
Although this is the third book in the series, it doesn't feel as if there is too much explanation and exposition of previous plots - if anything there's not quite enough. However the story is strong enough to carry the reader along, and a particular forte, as far as I'm concerned, is the voice - it's first-person written, and although I always find this an intellectual disadvantage in what is essentially a crime noir novel - it allows for such a wonderfully wittily-sarcastic tone that really got me hooked (crime thrillers aren't my favourite, so while I admire the twists and turns of the story, it was the narrative voice that really kept me interested). I also spent a couple of years living in North London, and therefore really enjoyed the descriptions, and comments on, all the areas and places up there. For me, it was an extra level of fun (and I don't have a hard time believing there's all kind of supernatural beings roaming the streets of London, either!)
Some of his ideas are witty - the succubus who's suppressing her desire to consume men by living in a lesbian relationship and going vegetarian, and the group Breath of Life that campaigns for rights for the dead; others seem a little bizarre - calming spirits by playing them a tune on a tin whistle, for example. I've always found tin whistles intensely irritating, and if I were a poltergeist, I'd be making straight for one and throwing it as hard and fast as I could. But perhaps I am being too harsh! This book is a fast-paced read, packed chock-full of plot and interesting characters. If you're looking for a good page-turner, an urban fantasy with a uniquely British voice, this is definitely a book to consider.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Dead Men's Boots: A Felix Castor Novel by Mike Carey at Amazon.com.
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