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The Devil You Know (Felix Castor #1)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  12,426 Ratings  ·  977 Reviews
Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghost buster 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 ...more
Hardcover, 406 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published April 6th 2006)
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4.0 stars. This book was much better than I had anticipated it to be which was a very pleasant, if UNEXPECTED, SURPRISE.

I thought this was going to be a decent, but somewhat cheesy Urban Fantasy knock-off of the Dresden Files. While certainly these two series share many basic themes (as most UF does), this was a TERRIFIC READ. In fact, in two very important respects I thought this book was actually SUPERIOR to the Dresden books. Given that the Dresden books are the current “standard” at least
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
The tone of this novel is bleak, saturnine, and wry. Shades of horror and dark urban fantasy blended into a noir mystery that kept me guessing until the end. I love when a writer is able to pull all the elements together that he introduces to me, from beginning to end. And that's what Mike Carey does here. Tight plotting and subtle characterization. Even the characters that would seem stereotypical have depth and intensity.

Felix Castor gets added to my roster of male lead urban fantasy go-to cha
Apr 20, 2011 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: urban fantasy lovers, hard-boiled detective fans
Recommended to Carol. by: Goodreads, of course
Solid three and a half stars. I'm rounding up in Carey's case, because I think his hero is suffering from comparison to Carey's own Constantine, and Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. I too thought of Harry Dresden while I was reading, but I found Felix Castor to be more likeable, and the overall story more enjoyable. It is clearly a "first book in a series," meaning that there is a great deal of world building. I felt it was worthwhile, and not excessive to me, but I enjoy a well-thought out world an ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
There's something about all detective novels that provide a very nice pace for the prospective reader, a gentle lulling between beatings and the solving of murders, and this is only enhanced by the inclusion of ghosts and Succubi.

I only learned later into the reading of this that he's the author of other Constantine stories, so my initial connection made perfect sense. Hell, I like Constantine, so this is pretty much perfect for me.

I know I'm going to like the rest of the series, if this is a g
Sep 19, 2010 Felicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-paranormal
Yay, this was on my Kindle for a long time, and since my romance-kick has cooled, I picked it up. VERY HAPPY I DID! Felix Castor is an exorcist in an alt-London, attitude-y and very enjoyable. This is a non-romance-type paranormal, so it was a nice break from my usual, and I really loved the mystery aspect of the book, it was well done. In addition, it kinda creeped me out, so I had to check the closet twice before bed-time. Ghosts can be creepy even in print!

Jim Butcher fans will like this seri
Rosa, really

Great urban fantasy (Urban Fantasy?) but man does it move slooooow. Also, it's one of those books where the main character does a lot of thinking and explaining to the audience and I'm left wondering what the other characters are doing when he's taking 10 minutes to explain demons or whatever. Playing All Hail the Queen [*headdesk*] God Save the Queen with their armpit? Making a trip to Burger King? Summoning their own demon?

However, it was quite nice to a have a different type of Rosa (a charac
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

“You move on. You move back. On because you're always getting older, back because there's always a set of habits and routines to catch you and suck you back in when your guard is down.”

I loved Mike Carey's writing style, it's sublime - colorful, poetic flow, funny when it's supposed to be, dramatic when it's supposed to be. Not all of the British terminology is familiar, but I adore the British writing tone as long as it's not bone dry. And hey, learn something new every day?

The protagonist Fel
Jul 27, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Cover: 3/5
Story: 5/5
Action: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Favorite character(s): Felix, Rafi/Asmodeus, Scrub
Most annoying character(s): Juliet, Gabe, Rich, Damjohn

Loved this book. However, I'll take away 1 star because of the bad ending. Seriously? (view spoiler)

4 stars!

This big expert on paranormal phenomena is doing a lecture tour of the UK, and he gets to Aberystwyth on a Friday night. And he goes into the hall, and it's packed. Shuffles his
Mike (the Paladin)
Okay, I picked this up on the strength of a recommendation that if I liked Jim Butcher's Dresden series, I'd probably like these. I can't say that. There is a huge difference in this character, the world he functions in and the overall "feel" of the book. When I say the world is different I'm sure some thought (or said aloud) well of course the world's different, did you expect it to take place in the same world?

No. My meaning there was that the world is a much darker more negative place. "Fix"
Sonja Arlow
Dec 11, 2011 Sonja Arlow rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, 2016-read
To be honest I cant be bothered to write an extensive review on this.

Sometimes readers and books just don't click.

I started reading this in the hope of lining it up as my next urban fantasy series as I am running out of Dresden books but the plot was too slow, the characters bordered on boring and it was too light on the fantasy elements.
Aug 20, 2007 Karen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the masses, as long as they like the supernatural
I'm seriously supposed to write down "what I learned from this book"? (I am not impressed by this review form but as this is my first review I should probably curb my disdain a bit.) Very well then.

What I Learned from This Book: I learned that I very much enjoy books about ghosts and other supernatural creatures that have infested our modern world. I learned that I especially like books of this nature when they are narrated by sardonic and somewhat seedy male narrators who make their livings pe
Sarah Anne
It's extremely tempting to give this book five stars simply because this is easily one of my favorite series of all time. The writing, however, is a bit rough and it definitely has the feel of a book where the author is setting up his world and character rather than just telling a story.

It may be a bit flawed, but man this is such a great book. I love Felix, I love the supporting characters, I love books that involve supernatural aspects anyway, as long as those aspects are not vampires and were
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
I have so many conflicting feelings about this complex book I don't know where to begin. The overall feeling of the book is sadness and loneliness which works really well but still left me feeling sad myself at the end. the next book is much less depressing which is good. The protagonist is believable and multi-layered and I really liked him. The bad guys are really bad but still not flat. The good guys are regular people. All of the characters feel real to me. The plot is good and had me guessi ...more
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party"
This book was a major disappointment :( I’m a huge fan of Mike Carey’s work for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, and I thought he did a masterful job crafting new tales for characters created by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. So when I heard he was working on a series of novels, I was eager to see what he could do with a world of his own creation. Sadly, the answer turned out to be…not very much.

The premise of following the exploits of an exorcist-for-hire sounds promising, but Carey just doesn’t do eno
Oct 19, 2011 Petertpc rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A darker, edgier version of the Dresden Files, with a more sophisticated, mature plot than the more crowd-pleasing Dresden stories. I really liked Felix Castor and the more gloomy world created by Mike Carey. I think I'm a fan, and am going to check out book 2 to confirm.
Good London-based urban fantasy about an exorcist who's been on hiatus but takes an innocuous sounding job because he desperately needs money. I tried reading this 18 months ago and quit at 1/3 because I couldn't get into it - no such problem this time!
~4.5 (Original first read rating was 4.)

Despite the etymology of his name, Felix "Fix" Castor feels anything but happy or lucky. In his altered world, in which the dead have risen and now pace the streets as zombies and ghosts, Felix's skills as an exorcist are at a premium. After a terrible accident in which he helped to bind a friend's soul to a demon, Felix is trying to take early retirement from the ghostbuster business. With money tight and fear on the rise, it's just not that easy for Feli
Dec 14, 2011 Lightreads rated it liked it
Urban fantasy, same general map references as The Dresden Files -- loner magical protagonist with a tragical past, a supernatural mystery, that sort of thing. And if you line them up for comparison, this book is:

*Three times better written on a mechanical prose level,
*Approximately 50% less sexist,
*Equally creative on the magical front,
*Immeasurably more mature, philosophically.

And yet, I cared about it roughly a third as much.

Sometimes trying to feed the emotional centers of my brain something
Aug 21, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a solid 3.5 stars but I'm rounding up for series potential. There was a ton to like here I just felt it bogged down a little in the middle but for a series book the ending was really good.
M Hamed
May 03, 2016 M Hamed rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy, 2016
what makes a writer-especially a well established writer-sits down and wastes his life writing mediocrity.

to write hundreds and hundreds of CW TV episodes material
maybe this is all he got to give ,maybe he wants to Pay the bills and raise the kids .

i really should start lowering my one is going to give me what i want ,no war between a modern day shadow and light ,humans and others vong and republic .
one day i will write it and i will piss on all of them .
Jul 18, 2011 Dean rated it really liked it
This book came up as a suggestion after I read the first two installments of the "Sandman Slim" series by Richard Kadrey.
I am SO glad I did.
My pat line is that I do not go too far into plot as that is better left to jacket covers.
I used to read "Hellblazer" religiously (pun intended) so I was most definitely intrigued by Mike Carey's writing in Novel form.
Herein Constantine is reborn with a tin whistle as Felix Castor or "Fix." Exorcist and scamp extraordinaire.
This is definitely a pulp noir de
Jamie Collins
Dec 28, 2007 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
Recommended to Jamie by: Unauthorized Cinnamon
3.5 stars, a good read.

Felix Castor sees dead people. Actually, in this world everyone sees dead people but only a talented few can make them go away - which is how Castor used to earn his living, as an exorcist, before a tragic mistake made him question his calling. He takes the job back on due to financial pressures, of course, and tries to solve the mystery of a haunted documentation archive.

The adventure, which takes place in an alternate modern-day London, is populated with ghosts, demons,
Apr 30, 2011 Bandit rated it liked it
I don't care for paranormal detective genre, I don't appreciate its ubiquity and the way it comes across as a cop out/sell out option for many good authors instead of them writing original fiction. I also don't particularly like series or mysteries, but that's just a personal choice. Having that been said, I can appreciate a good book regardless of a genre and this was a good book. Mike Carey is a talented writer, capable of nicely turning out a phrase or fleshing out a character or creating sus ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Lindsay rated it really liked it
A slow-paced detailed urban fantasy murder mystery.

Felix Castor, "Fix"" to his friends, is an exorcist in a world where ghosts and spirits have become commonplace. However, he hasn't practised in a year because he made a critical mistake a year ago and hurt his friends. But now he's at a financial dead-end and he ends up taking a job to exorcize a ghost from a document archive. But nothing is simple about this job, and he receives a warning that the job will be the end of him.

Through most of the
Jan 18, 2013 Aldi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, paranormal, meh
[For some reason, full formatting only shows up here. Goodreads' html has defeated me :p]

A little while ago I bought a pack of prawn crackers, expecting, you know, delicious cracky prawny snackness. I tore into the pack in full anticipation of shortly crunching down on a mouthful of yummy processed crustaceans, only to find a bag full of hard little plasticky discs that looked and tasted like casino tokens (if I even actually eat a casino token, I'll make sure to take notes to compare). After a
Jul 19, 2013 Brainycat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of modern paranormal fantasy and thrillers with a HUGE noir bent
Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
boobs: 3
blood: 2
bombs: 0
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 5

See also Lady Danielle's excellent review, I'm not going to repeat her synopsis but I do want to share my own thoughts.

I F'ing LOVED this book. It started off as a modern paranormal thriller (blessedly devoid of any of the typical trappings of the PNR genre), and then oh so subtly became a really well done whodunnit. Felix is another one of the antiheroes I admire so much, the kind who obstinately follows his own moral compass even
Nicholas Karpuk
Jun 04, 2012 Nicholas Karpuk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a guy trying to get published writing fantasy in a contemporary setting, I recently realized I had little to know actual familiarity with any writing of that style. Only after really thinking about it for a bit did I realize why:

They're written as mysteries. Quite often with private detectives. Even the early Harry Potter books follow that formula.

Something goes afoul, authorities want the protagonist to stop looking into it, red herrings abound, and it almost always ends up with a character
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, english-lit
The first in a new series of novels by Mike Carey, whose Lucifer and Hellblazer runs I really like. The series is set in a world very like ours—except a few years ago, the dead started to come back: as ghosts, as zombies, and as were (possessed and altered animals). Our narrator and guide to this world is the improbably named Felix Castor, an exorcist who's always been able to see dead people and who communes with them through music—his exorcism ritual involves a tin whistle; he's like the Pied ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

Not quite sure what to say about this one.

I liked Fix and his snarky humor and deprecating wit, even if everything reminded me a bit too much of Constantine. Not that there weren't differences, 'cause there are, but I felt the influence was obvious, at the least - in some of the humor, the whole guilt about past mistakes with magic hurting friends, that sort of thing.

But while Constantine is a more all-purpose magician, Fix is more just an exorcist. Well, a retired one, until he's forced to t
Ms. Nikki
2 1/2 stars

Felix Castor exorcises ghosts. At least he used to, until he binds a demon to one of his closest friends causing him to be locked in a facility. He lives with his other friend Pen. A case comes along just at the right time and he takes it. He doesn't think too hard about where they go, as long as they go. However, this case makes him figure out what exactly happened to the ghost who turns from an "it" to a "she" in his mind. I think this is a turning point for him.

Well, let just say
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Song list 1 14 May 14, 2014 12:37PM  
What happened to Felix Castor? 2 81 Dec 06, 2013 10:54AM  
Urban Fantasy ser...: July BOTM: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Mike Carey 37 60 Sep 14, 2013 12:05AM  
Who's Your Author?: September BOM: The Devil You Know 4 14 Sep 09, 2013 08:54PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storyli
More about Mike Carey...

Other Books in the Series

Felix Castor (5 books)
  • Vicious Circle (Felix Castor, #2)
  • Dead Men's Boots (Felix Castor, #3)
  • Thicker Than Water (Felix Castor, #4)
  • The Naming of the Beasts (Felix Castor, #5)

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“I took a strong dislike to him right then to save time and effort later.” 33 likes
“It wasn't what I was expecting, but like I've always said: if life gives you lemmings, jump off a cliff.” 4 likes
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