Friday, December 31, 2010

Dead Men's Boots by Mike Carey

Dead Men's Boots
I was really surprised to see another Felix Castor novel out so quickly from Mike Carey, and when I was searching Amazon for the title, I saw a fourth installment in the offing. Good news. Dead Men's boots takes place a few months after Vicious Circle. After the events of that book, nefarious forces are trying to get Fix's friend, Rafi, and his demonic rider moved out of the sanitarium into a supernatural research facility, where they can do nasty things to him/them. So, there's a subplot throughout the book of Fix and Pen showing up in court trying to get that action blocked. Pen's not exactly speaking with Fix at this point, but she does have to put up with him to help keep Rafi out of Professor Jenna-Jane Mulbridges icy clutches.

The action actually begins at the funeral of a fellow exorcist, John Gittings, who has just nibbled on the business end of a shotgun. Gitttings' widow, Carla, asks Fix to come home with her after the funeral for emotional support, but it turns out that she has an ulterior motive...John has gone "geist" and is tearing up their apartment. Fix plays a special little lullaby on his tin whistle to give both the ghost and Carla some rest, and then, of course, gets roped into taking over some of John's unfinished business. John had gone schizophrenic near the end, and his notes on the exorcism he'd been working are even more cryptic than the Da Vinci Code.

Shortly after that, Fix is contacted by the wife of a man who has just been jailed for the gruesome murder of another man. No surprises, she believes he's innocent, even though he was caught with the victim's blood all over him, and left behind matching DNA evidence at the scene. Fix promises to look into things for her, and we have a third plot thread. His old buddy on the police force, Gary Coldwood, is the lead investigator on the case, so he pays him a visit. It turns out that his former exorcist's apprentice, the succubus Juliet was called in to "read" the scene, so he has a chat with her, as well. Together, they visit the killer in prison and find that he is being possessed by the ghost of a female serial killer, which technically might make him innocent, even though his hands committed the crime.

One great line from early in the book, "But then Juliet Salazar never did hold with cheap sentiment. In fact, she probably didn't have any to sell even at the market price."

As usual, Fix bulls his way through these cases, getting into and out of hot water along the way. He very nearly is killed in a falling elevator, gets run off the road by Satanists, has a knifepoint deposition by an evil lawyer, gets slapped silly by a succubus, is shredded a touch by a loup-garou, but eventually survives to save the night from the evil dead. Can't wait for  the next sequel.

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