Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

This is the fourth instalment of Carey’s Felix Castor novels, and I can’t give you a non bias review of this book as I am a massive fan of the rest of the series.  Carey presents intelligently written urban fantasy with a dark humour and a plot meaty enough to keep you hooked and on edge waiting for the next instalment. 

At this point in the series we see an established cast of characters headed up by freelance exorcist Felix Castor, backed ably by fellow exorcist and succubus on the wagon Juliet and zombie and techhead Nicky.  My least favourite character in the series is Felix’s landlady Penny, who manages to be less annoying then usual in this novel – which is nice! 

The story blazes to life with the elaborate kidnapping of Fix’s friend from the mental institution he is incarcerated in.  And as the police knock on his door he thinks he has been caught but in fact the shit is only just about to hit the fan! He is taken to a crime scene where the words “F Castor” have been written by the victim in blood. The victim turns out to be a guy that Fix grew up with in Liverpool who had once tried to kill him.  So with the finger pointed well and truly at Fix he begins to investigate.   

He begins his investigation in a run down council estate in London, with disturbing results, the entire populace of the estate is being affected by something, but he doesn’t know what.  As Fix investigates the phenomena it leads him almost to his death and on a trip to his childhood in Liverpool.  Fix has to rely in this book on almost all of his contacts and the results are not all good and are incredibly shocking towards the end. 

This book is a breathless rollercoaster of the sort of gritty realism many so called Urban Fantasy novels are completely missing.  The section of the story dealing with growing up in Liverpool is particularly evocative, and makes you both long for your own childhood and be eternally glad it’s over.   This book raises as many questions as it answers of its own mythology which is both satisfying and gripping and the only criticism I can level at it is that it is not a suitable starting off point for any new readers.  In fact new readers would probably be completely baffled, but then book four isn’t a good joining in point in any series so it isn’t much of a criticism.  I would give this book (and whole series) 5/5 and urge anyone to pick up a copy and fall as madly in love with Fix as I have.

Stacey Whittle

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4 comments

  1. Lee Grice /

    Nice passionate review! I’ve read a wee bit of Carey’s and can’t say he’s really set me alight (I did really enjoy his RE-GIFTERS from Minx), however I’ve got this friend (a total stalker-type) who loves him and is forever going on about the Felix Castor novels so I expect she’ll twist my arm (did I mention she’s violent too?) and make me read one one of these days.

    ;-P

  2. Lee Grice /

    Yeesh I can’t even post a comment properly! that should’ve said “…I’ve read a wee bit of Carey’s comics work…”

  3. Felix Castor totally rules and so does this book! 🙂 The ending has got me gasping for ‘The Naming of the Beasts’, can’t wait to read it.

    Great review Stace!

  4. geeksyndicate /

    Great review Stacey. I have to admit to not knowing anything about these books but they sound right up my alley.

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