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Thicker Than Water (A Felix Castor Novel) by Mike Carey

01/05/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Thicker Than Water in the USA - or Buy Thicker Than Water in the UK

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pub: Orbit. 480 page paperback. Price: 7.99 (UK), $10.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84149-656-6.

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Felix is danger sly close to being played out. He's making mistakes, sentiment is too dangerous and his past is too close, way too close. His skill as an exorcist is to use his penny whistle to charm the demons, spirits, shape-changers and zombies right out of this plane of existence but sometimes good old-fashioned violence is a necessary short-cut. He should know that violence breeds violence and there is already too much in his life.

His chosen helpmate is a succubus, Juliet. She's a demon that looks like the most devastating woman ever but could suck your life out for a light snack starting with your balls. She's not a good enemy and as a friend, she could kill you starting with a look. Good to watch your back, though. Luckily, she's gone native and happily, nesting in a same-sex relationship that keeps a healthy glow on her that isn't the hellfires burning.

Felix's best friend, Rafi, trapped with a ferocious demon of his own because its sharing his skin is also a liability. It's the guilt that keeps Felix going. As if all this baggage was not excess, the re-appearance of one of old Felix's old play buddies from Liverpool with his blood plastered all over the inside of his car seems to overload the case.

Thanks to the name, 'F. Castor' written in the victim's blood on the windscreen, it looks like our man is headed for the slammer. That old acquaintance don't forget was a vicious bully and it looks like he is going to take Felix to wherever in Hell he might be heading. Then, of course, there is brother Matthew, a Catholic priest now but who shares the same grim memories of Liverpool with Felix.

Families, you gotta love 'em.

With the ever-present rising dead, Felix has to confront his own past that seeks to engulf him. He's in the centre of a vortex of evil that is threatening to overwhelm the present and future, if there is one. His decision to help his friend Rafe escape from his carefully lined cell is not one he takes lightly but it precipitates a horrifying chain of events. Can he control the demon inside Rafi and find out why his old tormentor is part of a terrifying spate of violence on a grim London housing estate? Now he's unsure who is playing what or who, he just knows that he can't quite make out the tune.

This has been a great series of stories that always delivers some hard-hitting violence with certainties and realities constantly being shattered. Mike Carey has assembled a good cast of characters who support Felix and all contribute to a well-rounded story. It now looks like it might be coming to its natural end with perhaps a nice big send-off for our hero. I would love poor Felix to ride off into the sunset with the love of a good woman but it can only get worse before it gets better.

Sue Davies

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