Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Orbit (6 Sep 2007)
It seems strange that this is only the third of Carey's Felix Castor novels, following up to Vicious Circle. To some extent, it's more of the same: Felix is still that most interesting of creations, a Chicago private eye who's not actually in Chicago, but rather haunts London, and isn't actually a private investigator. Rather, he's in the Spiritual Services business. He used to be an exorcist for hire, but he's ended up with a conscience, and isn't entirely sure that banishing ghosts off to the next world is actually quite as moral as it could be.
Quite why the turn of the century seems to have lifted the lid off the afterlife isn't actually clear. And anyway, what's recently happened isn't new in kind, only in quality, as this story eventually bears out. But there are new risks - Juliet (the succubus who's settled down as a lesbian because no man would survive the night with her) isn't the only demon around. And when Felix's former fellow exorcist John Gittings commits suicide and then raises a real haunt, Felix attempts to help the widow, a near old flame of his. But the suicide raises more questions, and an old conspiracy is revealed.
Carey has does a nice job of taking one genre and repurposing it as supernatural fantasy. By also insisting that the ghouls and ghosties follow rules, he also brings an order to his hauntings. These ghosts do exist for a reason. And sometimes Felix can find out these reasons, and that is makes the story. Carey's invented a sub-genre much better than an Anita Blake-style fangbanger.