Comic-book writer turned novelist Carey (The Devil You Know, 2007) resurrects his hero, exorcist Felix Castor, for another throw-down with supernatural forces in this intricately plotted tale set in London.
Although many second novels disappoint, Carey's fans have nothing to worry about. If anything, this book ratchets up the action, making it even more compelling than The Devil You Know. This time around, Castor is working from his own slightly seedy office when a couple visits him with a compelling story. They have lost their young daughter in a terrible accident—but even more distressing is what happened to the child's ghost following her death. Castor, moved by their story, takes their case and unwittingly mires himself in a complex and deeply dark plot that pits the worst Hell has to offer against a shadowy band of men who not only want to stop it, but also kill Castor in the bargain. At stake: one simple, innocent soul that could, if wrongly used, bring Castor's greatest nemesis to date to the pinnacle of earthly power. Castor and his usual bunch of cronies from the previous novel—his landlady, Pen; Nicky, a zombie who is right at home on the Internet; and Juliet, an alluring succubus who has hung out her shingle as one of Felix's competitors—are all once again caught up in Felix's case, which only turns more deadly at every twist and turn. The story line never falters under the author's deft plotting, and his main man Felix retains that all-important dark sense of humor that somehow matches the London he inhabits.
Carey juggles characters and bits and pieces of plot like a man with a thousand arms, catching each word and positioning it in exactly the right place in this deftly crafted, can't-turn-the-page-fast-enough read.