6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2007
Mike Carey is more widely known as a comic book writer - and for exploring the area of the occult in the comics Lucifer and Hellblazer (both available from DC Comics) He also writes about superheroes. He's somehow found time to write a series of novels starting with The Devil You Know. Vicious Circle is the follow-up to that and takes us through another case of the exorcist Felix Castor.
Mike takes us to a London where the dead are no longer staying in the shadows. They are rising in great numbers and there is even an Act going through Parliament aimed at giving the dead legal status.
With this backdrop Castor takes on a request from the parents of a kidnapped girl. There is only one problem - she's dead and ghosts can't just be picked up and pocketed. Not that stops Castor taking on the case - the mystery and the grief of the parents persuades him - though the money may help too.
Mike does plot very well. The story is focused and well planned. The other thing he's good at is hiding the twists and turns until the several `d'oh' moments that occur. Everything moves along at a page-turning pace.
What is frustrating is the need to supply plot seems to leave Felix and the other characters getting less development time than they deserve, because Carey paints them so well you do want to spend more time with them. But as this is a first person tale there are perfectly good reasons why our focus can't shift to the secondary characters too much. The only way would be to have Felix in their presence but being with them too long might give stuff away before everything is fully set-up.
Instead, you get to see him out and about, ducking and diving, exploring the seedy world that attracts his services. So you don't notice this lack of progress until the conclusion, which itself makes you wish you knew Castor a little more.
Throughout the book Felix remains a bit of a mystery - but that's how it should be. As is the way with all detectives - you see enough of their home life to make them human but not enough to shift the focus away from whatever they happen to be investigating.
Even though it's not mentioned in the cover VC has all the markings of the second book of a trilogy. Character and storylines started in the first book play an important part here and the anticipation is that they will feature in the next one as well.
Whole heartedly recommended but read The Devl You Know first.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2006
Possibly even more gripping than his first book in the series, 'The Devil You Know', this story grabs you from chapter one and leaves you reading the last page in frustration that there isn't another 500! It continues the tale of the life and (numerous) trials of Felix Castor; a somewhat cynical if reformed exorcist. In this book he reluctantly accepts a seemingly 'straightforward' job to find the kidnapped ghost of a little girl, only to find it snowballing (or rather, fireballing) out of control and all hell breaking lose quiet literally. With satanists, demons, succubi and zombies (these latter two actually forming part of the 'good guys') you'll find yourself compulsively reading chapter after chapter until the small hours of the morning... Brilliantly entertaining, I only wish the third in the series was available to devour!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2007
I love the ideas that Mike Carey brings to this book and the first in the series (The Devil you know), but... I didn't think that this second book had the same edge, the same sparkle as the first. There was more detail, more depth, which was good, but you can have too much of a good thing. I think the book could have been about 50 pages shorter and still have had the depth and character, that seemed a little stretched in the novel as published. All of that said, the wit and the noir feel keep me coming back for more. I want to find out what happens to Fix and his friends(?). Will he ever be able to pay off the credit card that is his soul?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2006
Again the hero felix castor struts his stuff in Mike Carey's apocalyptic future where ghosts, zombies and were beasts walk the streets in daylight. Very similar in feel to Constantine and Hellblazer, perhaps a parallel universe version of Constantine.
It also has echoes of Chandler's hard bitten detective - used, abused and eventually sorting things out - ish.
I loved it - as good as "the devil you know".
But definitely a dystopian noir view of the world.
For me one of the best bits was the descriptions of parts of london I have been in - I used to live next to what Mike Carey calls the Stanger and it is pretty weird and obscure.
I used to wonder what went on there - medical staff hung around but it was not the usual nhs sort of place that advertised its business.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The second Felix Castor novel and one that will endeavour to entrench the Exorcist deeper into the psyche of the British reader. To describe Felix is a tricky thing and is perhaps best summed up as the British version of Hellblazers, John Constantine (which Mike also wrote for a while.) A rollercoaster of a ride as Felix struggles with day to day tasks of trying to earn a living. Hard up and living hand to mouth the reader will see traits within the character that is not only realistic but is something that will allow the reader to get a hook into him. Whilst not always the most pleasant of characters there is a certain charm that will make him a character to watch and with the fourth book due out next year readers will have a firm affinity with him. A book of interest and one that demonstrates that Urban Fantasy in the UK is alive and well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2012
I enjoyed this just as much as the first one in the series.
Felix Castor is a great character. Basically a less self regarding John Constantine ( Hellblazer). There were plenty of other interesting characters as well, especially Juliet!
The thriller/crime elements of this worked very well and the supernatural elements were very well integrated and internally consistent.
Though at times maybe Castor was a little too slow on the uptake.
The action scenes were well done and in general everything made sense and there were no real plot holes.
There was plenty of witty dialogue and the London background was interesting.
The book is quite long but it never seemed to outstay its welcome. I am looking forward to reading the third book in the series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2012
(Review for whole series) I read this on the back of the Dresden Files. Its a similar sort of thing, set in London, but written well enough to stand on its own. It can be at turns witty, funny and tragic with interesting plots and well developed characters. It generally feels quite gritty and at times even bleak and has enough original material to set it apart from other works one could imagine it was inspired by. An original and compelling work, well worth the read if you like this sort of thing and probably even if you don't.
on 13 January 2010
I am turning into quite the fan of these Felix Castor books, so thanks to my friend for pointing them to me.
The only thing that really ruins it for me, is that so far in each book, Carey develops favourite words and phrases and NEVER LETS THEM GO!!! Please, please, please get someone unbiased to proof read your work my man! It was awful to be reading a highly suspenseful scene, where it's all coming together and I'm on the edge of my seat, and everyone is still being TRUCULENT!!! I know people get favourite phrases, but in writing it really ruins it if you keep thinking, 'he said that exact thing before', 'he's used that description before' or worse, 'dammit that's 6 times in 4 pages!' Remember Memoirs of a Geisha? <shudder>.
Other than that, it is good. I'm amazed how it all came together and as I have said before, authors are allowed these little trial and error sessions. I am confident things will only improve from here with this series.
on 4 January 2011
This series does a pretty masterful job of integrating noir and fantasy. Carey creates a cohesive definition of the supernatural that lets Castor's exorcist persona interface with almost all its aspects without straining the verisimilitude built on the basic premise of a possible impending spirit vs human war. It's definitely at the darker edge of the spectrum with fewer humourous touches than, say, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, but manages to establish a distinctively British noir sensibility.
That said, Carey's vision is just a bit too relentlessly bleak for extended reading - I'm leaving breaks between reading each book, whereas, after reading the first Dresden, I just ordered them all and read them straight through.
on 15 December 2010
...don't buy this without checking editions first. This may seem like me being picky, but when I order things online, I want the thing I see on the screen to be what arrives. The image displayed by Amazon didn't actually relate to the edition they had in stock. Which means when it arrived it didn't match the other Mike Carey/Felix Castor novels I already owned.
And that's the reason for the 4 stars - I have no faults with the book, the plot and character progression are great, and the storytelling is up to Mr Carey's usual high standards (so it's perfect and suspenseful without being hard work to read) but Amazon let me down a little with this one.