Friday, June 18, 2010

Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

Mike Carey's Felix "Fix" Castor series is one that is maturing nicely. In Thicker Than Water, Fix's fourth outing, he finds himself--much against his will--thrust back into his own past, dredging up memories he'd just as soon remained submerged and forcing a deeper examination of his own ghosts than he'd prefer.

DS Gary Coldwell, Fix's sometimes grudging friend and ally on the police force, awakens him in the middle of the night to call him in to do a reading at a crime scene. After his heart rate evens out Fix is relieved; just weeks before he and Juliet had quite literally stolen their friend Rafael Ditko--who is also the vessel barely containing the powerful demon Asmodeus--out from under the nose of the nefarious Professor Jenna-Jane Mulbridge, who conducts questionable experiments on the dead, the undead, and the possessed. What a relief, then, that Coldwell's pounding on his door is not to investigate that crime.

That relief, however, is short-lived, for when they arrive at the crime scene Fix discovers that not only is the victim, Kenny Seddon, someone he knows--a bully from his childhood on the estate he grew up in back in Liverpool--but that Kenny has apparently scrawled Fix's name, in his own blood, across the inside windshield of the car in which he's found stabbed and slashed almost to the point of death.

Oh bother.

The ensuing action--in which Fix is, for the most part, a semi-fugitive, as he's sorta kinda been implicated in the crime--takes him back to Liverpool (a journey he has no interest in making, and even dreads), where he must face some of his own personal (albeit, thankfully, figurative) demons.

Mike Carey has done a nice job of developing his characters over the course of this series. In this book, in addition to further glimpses into Juliet's transformation into a more human being, we also gain great insight into the character of Matt, Fix's brother, who is a Catholic priest.

The end is a true cliff-hanger, leaving us only with the knowledge that the next book will be fully (and finally!) about Rafe Ditko and his personal (literal, I fear) demon, Asmodeus.

I can't wait!


You absolutely must read the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  Starting with Storm Front, this series chronicles urban wizard (the only one in the Chicago phone book) Harry Dresden as he takes on vampires, werewolves, fae, and other assorted mythological creatures.

What I'm reading now: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.  Having read both Swan Song, a classic of post-apocalyptic horror from the eighties, and The Passage, the most recent entry in the genre, within the last month; and, earlier this year, having read Sleepless, a new and exciting take on the post-apocalyptic novel, this time from the perspective of crime fiction, I felt I owed it to my study of the genre to dip back into some of the novels that started it.  Alas, Babylon was published in 1959, almost at the very peak of Cold War fears of nuclear warfare, and is a straight-forward, almost clinical account, of how a small society might remake itself in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear attack.  

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