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The Devil You Know

de Mike Carey

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Felix Castor Series (1)

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1,551739,327 (3.77)115
His long-unused services as a freelance exorcist brought back into demand by a sudden increase in supernatural activity, Felix Castor reluctantly accepts a final job, but finds the ghost in question linked to dangerous and unexpected consequences.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 73 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This feels like the first book in an excellent series -- one of those pivotal books (in the sense that there is a pivot in the book where the main character finds a new path) that I think will lead to good things. Pretty stark, gritty, chilling, and all ghost, all the time. I'm interested to read more, but I might slow down if they are all so grim. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |

'The Devil You Know' has a lot to recommend it: great world-building, a twisty plot, a fresh take on the supernatural and a strong sense of place.

I liked Carey's take on the ways in which the dead return and the impact it had on everyday life, not least of which was to provide a living for freelance exorcists like Castor. I was impressed by his re-imaging of Loup Garou, making them scary and deeply repulsive and by the idea that Castor's exorcism depended on music rather than the Catholic bell, book and candle ritual. I particularly liked the way the supernatural world was grounded by and integrated with the very human depravities of organised crime and people trafficking and that the action all occurred in a London that I recognised, making it easier to believe in.

At this point, I would normally be recommending 'The Devil You Know' to anyone who would listen and wondering how long it would be before I could get to the next book in the series. Instead, I'm wondering whether pr not to bother with the next book.

What got in the way of this becoming a book that I'd recommend?

Michael Kramer

Well, firstly it was the choice of narrator. For reasons best known to themselves, the publishers picked Michael Kramer as the narrator. He's a fine narrator with more than a hundred audiobooks to his name but he was entirely the wrong choice for this book.

'The Devil You Know' is a first-person account by Felix Castor. Felix is English. He's a long-term resident of London, although we know he originally came from somewhere a couple of hundred miles north. The plot is entirely London-centric and is full of local references and observations of English culture and class. So why pick an American as the narrator? Were there no English narrators available?

When I first started listening to the book, I struggled to place Castor's origins and class. His vowels were all over the place. I realised what was bothering me when, in the first chapter, Kramer narrated the London AtoZ as the London 'Eh thru Zee'. No Englishman would ever say zee when reading a zed. The problem isn't that that Kramer's English accent is awful but rather that it's only almost right. To me, this is more distracting than having the narration in a straight American accent. It produces an Uncanny Valley kind of dissonance that becomes more disturbing the longer you're exposed to it.

I'd get used to it but I found that all the taken-for-granted information that a character's accent would normally give me about their class and level of education was blurred or conflicted this what the text told me. Then he'd completely mispronounce something (like describing a boy as sniffing glue from an A S D A bag. For a moment, I didn't know what that was, then I realised he meant an ASDA bag. ASDA is the UK's second-largest supermarket chain. No English person would treat it as an acronym) and I'd be thrown out of the story.

So, if I do continue with the series, I'll be reading the ebook version.

The second problem is Felix Castor himself. Maybe it was the distortion of the accent but I couldn't get a clear fix on what made Castor tick. I could see that I was meeting him at his nadir when he was broken and isolated and in denial about the nature of the work he did but I couldn't picture what an unbroken Castor looked like and I couldn't work up much empathy for him. He was clever, brave and persistent. He was also a pain in the arse, totally up himself and had been emotionally distant for so long that he couldn't hear the echo of his own feelings. But apart from that... Maybe a character that annoys me that much is worth learning more about? Maybe not.

I'm going to give it a while before deciding whether to read more of this series.

If you'd like to hear Michael Kramer's narration for yourself, click on the SoundCloud link below.


https://soundcloud.com/hachetteaudio/the-devil-you-know-by-mike-carey

( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Sep 8, 2021 |
Lots of fun, much better than I expected, and completely different to his most famous Zombie works, even though this is nominally a similar topic - the appearance of the undead.

This time though they're been around for quite a while and everybody is more or les used to them, ghost sighting became more frequent but were usually at worst slightly unnerving. Felix castor makes his living by encouraging the more scary/active ones to depart. Although there are several theories surrounding their appearance, he knows that it's a mistake to treat them as if they were still human, and doesn't much care where they go when they're exorcised. Other than that though he has the requisite sensitivity to detect even faint presences, and enough empathy to console the clients traumatised by the reappearance of their recent dead. Felix also knows that just occasionally it's not only an unquiet spirit that can return, but that darker beings and actual demons can make the journey too. These take considerably more effort to dispatch.

The opening hook has little relevance to the rest of the story other than being an introduction to Felix, and a coincidental source for information. Felix had paused his career, unable to cope with the trauma of his uni-friend condemned to a mental institution because Felix couldn't remove the demon that the friend inadvertently summoned. He'd been doing stage magician tricks to earn a little money, but an arrogant teenager and a stressed parent sends him back to the office to recover his equilibrium, just as the phone rings with the very direct offer of a simple exorcism from a rare book museum. The ghost had turned unexpectedly violent and Felix couldn't resist the easy money. He starts as always by liaising with the staff (some more closely than others) to find out their histories and what could have caused the ghost to appear suddenly only a few months ago. Some of the management are more antagonistic but Felix makes headway with all of them with suspicion resting on some recently acquired Russian files. However a few hints seem to lead to a gang running the local brothels, and Felix realises it may be a lot more complicated than he first thought.

It is told first person through Felix so few of the other characters get much detail, but they all seemed different and resourceful in their own rights, and their motivations if simplistic were believable - nobody being evil just because. I loved Felix's exorcism technique of wrapping the ghosts essence in a corresponding musical theme swaying the two together until when the music stops the ghost is gone. It sounds so elegant and peaceful. I also loved how he started to wonder about the deeper theological backgrounds, and where the ghosts went. I hope this is carried forward into the rest of the series. The finish was decisive, but left a very intriguing set up for the next book! ( )
  reading_fox | Sep 1, 2021 |
Urban fantasy murder mystery with ghosts, zombies and loup-garous.

Loved it. ( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Mike Careyautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Kramer, MichaelNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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His long-unused services as a freelance exorcist brought back into demand by a sudden increase in supernatural activity, Felix Castor reluctantly accepts a final job, but finds the ghost in question linked to dangerous and unexpected consequences.

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