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You might think that helping a friend's widow to stop a lawyer from stealing her husband's corpse would be the strangest thing on your To Do list. But life is rarely that simple for Felix Castor. A brutal murder in King's Cross bears all the hallmarks of a long-dead American serial killer, and it takes more good sense than Castor possesses not to get involved. He's also fi You might think that helping a friend's widow to stop a lawyer from stealing her husband's corpse would be the strangest thing on your To Do list. But life is rarely that simple for Felix Castor. A brutal murder in King's Cross bears all the hallmarks of a long-dead American serial killer, and it takes more good sense than Castor possesses not to get involved. He's also fighting a legal battle over the body - if not the soul - of his possessed friend, Rafi, and can't shake the feeling that his three problems might be related. With the help of the succubus Juliet and paranoid zombie data-fence Nicky Heath, Castor just might have a chance of fitting the pieces together before someone drops him down a lift shaft or rips his throat out. Or not. . .


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You might think that helping a friend's widow to stop a lawyer from stealing her husband's corpse would be the strangest thing on your To Do list. But life is rarely that simple for Felix Castor. A brutal murder in King's Cross bears all the hallmarks of a long-dead American serial killer, and it takes more good sense than Castor possesses not to get involved. He's also fi You might think that helping a friend's widow to stop a lawyer from stealing her husband's corpse would be the strangest thing on your To Do list. But life is rarely that simple for Felix Castor. A brutal murder in King's Cross bears all the hallmarks of a long-dead American serial killer, and it takes more good sense than Castor possesses not to get involved. He's also fighting a legal battle over the body - if not the soul - of his possessed friend, Rafi, and can't shake the feeling that his three problems might be related. With the help of the succubus Juliet and paranoid zombie data-fence Nicky Heath, Castor just might have a chance of fitting the pieces together before someone drops him down a lift shaft or rips his throat out. Or not. . .

30 review for Dead Men's Boots

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I think this novel deserves a good long run and a mighty jump... the waters might be cold, but it's like Fix says about death. You get used to it real damn quick. This world of mystery continues along its deep mystery roots, including such near caricatures of women that it nearly passes through to the other side, as if through death, to become something utterly strange and familiar. Femme Fatale? Try Femme Demonic, and you'll be on solid, unconsecrated grounds and wishing you'd paid just a little I think this novel deserves a good long run and a mighty jump... the waters might be cold, but it's like Fix says about death. You get used to it real damn quick. This world of mystery continues along its deep mystery roots, including such near caricatures of women that it nearly passes through to the other side, as if through death, to become something utterly strange and familiar. Femme Fatale? Try Femme Demonic, and you'll be on solid, unconsecrated grounds and wishing you'd paid just a little more attention to what your mother tried to tell you about 'dem women. I'm not just talking about Juliet. I'm talking about all undead women forced into poltergeist holding patterns of serial murder. (But don't assume you'll really guess the un-beating heart of this locked-room mystery. Things tend to shift and slide as in all good mysteries, but it can get awfully complicated when you throw in immortal demons feeding on lusts or rarified murders, zombies being brutally mistreated by uncaring main characters, or plain old sympathies for the devil. Welcome to the jungle.) I have to admit I like this one better than the previous two volumes. There's enough twists and turns and eventual reconnecting threats and threads to make anyone's head swim, but it's the cold heart of Fix that ties everything back together in the end. Is Fix really that likeable? Jury is still out on that one. He borders a lot more closely to being an anti-hero than two-books would have you believe. It's easy to assume, since he is pretty passionate about helping the downtrodden dead, that he might be able to give a shit for any of the living. Frankly, I'm not really sure about that. He gets along all right and enters into all types of social contracts readily enough, but like I said, his heart's really not in it. It's probably pretty fortunate that he's not an overpowered UF protagonist. He might then have the power potential and the heart to murder the world. (Am I the only one to think this? lol, maybe... but I just can't bring myself to TRUST him.) Still, a fine and entertaining read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This was another terrific book by Mike Carey. It's a pleasure to read a book written by such a talented author. His use of language is just a step above most authors. When he describes a scene, I see it clearly. His descriptions are original and extremely vivid. He uses language in an extraordinary way; unfortunately I can't describe it was well as he does it. I put a few references in my comments, but I'd have to quote almost every page to capture the number of times I was amazed and impressed. This was another terrific book by Mike Carey. It's a pleasure to read a book written by such a talented author. His use of language is just a step above most authors. When he describes a scene, I see it clearly. His descriptions are original and extremely vivid. He uses language in an extraordinary way; unfortunately I can't describe it was well as he does it. I put a few references in my comments, but I'd have to quote almost every page to capture the number of times I was amazed and impressed. The story continues the tale of Felix Castor as he gets wrapped up in another adventure through his job as a "spiritual adviser." Fix used to be an exorcist, but he now feels uncomfortably aware that he doesn't know where he's sending the ghosts he exorcises, so has an uneasy relationship with his skills and basic nature. I think the book would work well as a stand-alone, but it helps to know Fix and his back story. This tale is dark, funny, thoughtful, mysterious with a touch of adventure. Felix is still a bit of a mystery to me, sort of a typical mystery lead male character, sarcastic, stubborn on a case, loyal to his friends, and reluctantly heroic. There are several stories in this book that weave together to a satisfying whole, with some nice foreshadowing of an even bigger story to come. The parts about Felix's friends Pen and Rafi might seem a little out of place to a new reader, but to those who've read the previous books it would have been very out of character for him not to have followed up with his friends. I thought it added a touch of realism, that no matter what extraordinary things happen in life, the rest of the world still carries on and needs to be dealt with. The exploration of Juliet's nature and character are sure to be fan favorites, she's a terrific character. Overall, it's a great book and a great series. Any fan of dark mysteries or urban fantasy is sure to enjoy Mike Carey's books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    3.5 rounding up. I think I enjoyed the plot of this one the most - there are serious stakes and some interesting tidbits from London's criminal history. Some good wins in this one for our heroes, too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    ~4.5 Felix "Fix" Castor, ex-exorcist and provider of "spiritual services" (no, he doesn't know what it means either) is having woman troubles, and not just romantic ones. Sure, after the events of Vicious Circle, Pen, his unrequited love interest, isn't speaking to him, and Juliet, demonic succubus and his unrequited lust interest, has a committed relationship with another woman, but he has far more problems than that. Pen has gotten him embroiled in a nasty court case over his demonically- posse ~4.5 Felix "Fix" Castor, ex-exorcist and provider of "spiritual services" (no, he doesn't know what it means either) is having woman troubles, and not just romantic ones. Sure, after the events of Vicious Circle, Pen, his unrequited love interest, isn't speaking to him, and Juliet, demonic succubus and his unrequited lust interest, has a committed relationship with another woman, but he has far more problems than that. Pen has gotten him embroiled in a nasty court case over his demonically- possessed friend Rafi, all while trying to ignore his existence. Carla Gittings, widow of another exorcist, is being haunted by the angry geist of her late husband and has enlisted Fix's help. If that weren't enough, Fix has been hired by a distressed wife to prove that her husband didn't commit a murder--an extremely dead psychopathic American murderess did it instead. As I said. Woman troubles. As Fix begins to try to make sense of the situation, he begins to think that the cases are related and that Carla Gittings' husband may have stumbled into a horrific conspiracy of murder and possession. As Fix's involvement brings him to the attention of some of the most deadly antagonists he has yet faced, it's time to follow "The gospel according to Castor, Chapter 1, Verse 1: When in doubt, duck." As always, Carey's book was a wild ride. I love Fix's wry voice, and the vivid writing and dialogue bring the characters and world to life. As always, I'm not sure this is a perfect fit for fans of The Dresden Files; not only are the world and tone much darker, but even the basic structure is somewhat different: Harry Dresden typically goes up against antagonists several power grades above him, but his formidable magical talents make him a serious threat. Fix has the same powers as any exorcist, but nothing more; only his determination, guile hero tendencies, and dependence on stronger allies allow him to make it through. As Fix himself says, "I'm like Avis rent-a-car: Because I'm insignificant, I try harder." The world itself is fascinating. Personally, I think that Castor is in the middle of the Rapture, and for once, the protagonist had nothing to do with bringing about the apocalypse. The mysteries beyond the grave come back to haunt the living, and society has no rules defining the interactions with the undead. Exorcists, as Fix once did, contend that the ghosts and zombies are nothing but echoes and that exterminating them is as benign as flipping off a radio. Some, like Fix's colleague Jemma-Jane Mullbridge, take advantage of the lack of guidelines to perform experiments on the undead that no ethical board would allow any living creature. A growing group of bright-eyed idealists have become activists who assert that both human rights and life itself continue "after breath". Fix Castor isn't sure what happens after death, and now carries a heavy weight of guilt from his past actions as a carefree exorcist. All of the supernatural beings in Fix's world, other than demons, are human in origin, so there are no easy and guilt-free salt'em-burn'em solutions as there are in most other urban fantasy series. In the end, every atrocity Fix encounters is inherently a human one, so the story repeatedly explores the lengths humans will go to retain some semblance of life. Even the interactions with demons are an exploration of humanity. Juliet is now in a relationship, apparently in love with the bookish Susan Book. She seems as confused as the reader in understanding what this means, and I was intrigued by her attempts to construct a human identity and to rationalize her own past as a being repeatedly forced to use her sexuality to destroy others. Juliet's actions raised one aspect of the books that I had difficulty in describing coherently: the portrayal of women. The hardboiled/noir genre has a proud history of partitioning women into either "damsels in distress" or "femme fatales," but Carey goes one step farther, utilizing the gender divisions from the 19th century. All but one of the women in every single book (as far as I can recall) are repeatedly described as vibrant, animalistic, and ruled by their passions, while men base their actions on logic and calculation. The only individual to break the dichotomy is Jenna-Jane Mullbridge, and Castor actually describes her as "unfeminine" a few times. Personally, I think it's a generalization best left to the Victorian times. On a lighter note, Carey is one of the few writers in the genre who creates honest-to-goodness mystery stories, and I think this is his best so far; you'll figure out much of what is going on before Fix does, but it will take half the book instead of half a dozen pages. There is also an encore of one of the creepiest instances of a were-beast I've personally encountered...it might even make you look at all those internet kitty memes a little differently. One of the formulas for naming your hardboiled/noir protagonist is to combine a mundane first name with a proper-noun-and-meaningful last-name. That's how you get Harry "the building was on fire and it wasn't my fault" Dresden, Alex "I see the the true future" Verus, James "Sandman Slim" Stark, etc. "Castor" is indeed apropos: castor oil is used therapeutically as a purgative, but it also happens to be a major source of ricin. Like his namesake, Fix starts out attempting to do good, but his presence is often disastrous for those around him. His given name and nickname have a certain irony: he is certainly not happy, his presence is rarely felicitous, and however hard he tries to fix all of the problems he sees, he is doomed to failure, at least in his assessment of himself. Fix Castor is a man drowning in his own guilt, submerged and isolated from the rest of humanity by his remorse and self-loathing. He walks the mean streets, dragging his crushing weight of guilt and self-hatred behind him, making every interaction into a hostile one because he fears that forming attachments will eventually lead him to fail someone else he cares about. Every single story that Fix has told about himself is a story of self-recrimination, from his childhood dealings with Katie to his failure to save Rafi. Every single story he tells us, including the major plot of each novel, ends with him blaming himself. Considering Fix as an unreliable narrator, this is an interesting effect: either Fix remembers all incidents in his life from the perspective of his own failings, or he is actively attempting to present himself negatively to the reader. In either case, it creates an oddly vulnerable, human, and ultimately likeable character, to be seen not as a lost, violent soul, but only as a hollow man. Yet again, the most depressing aspect of the book for me was the isolation, which is in no small part created by Fix's shell of hostility. Fix has scant trust and even less respect for most of the people he encounters, and in the dingy world that Carey has created, it is difficult to blame him. After the last book, his friendship with Pen and Coldwood have practically disintegrated, and the events of the story put even his relationship with Juliet into jeopardy. As always, Fix and Nick are openly and aggressively hostile, with Fix going out of his way to antagonize the zombie; I can't comprehend why Nicky ever lets Castor through his doors, and I really don't understand why he continues to help. Yet as usual, Fix tries to be there for whoever leans on him, from Carla to Juliet to Pen. Yet again, he sees himself as failing them all. Dead Men's Boots is a deeply satisfying story: a tightly plotted, entertaining mystery placed in an imaginative world that explores the boundaries of humanity and death. I can't wait to start the next book. Excerpted from my (rather verbose and quote-filled) review on Booklikes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

    I liked this one better than the previous one, but I still don't like the women in here. I can understand Juliet, she isn't a woman after all, but... What the Hell, Pen?? Are you moron?? And I don't like Felix martyr... Oh... poor me... I'm the cause of everything wrong in the World... No, man, no, the Universe is bigger than you.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I really enjoy the mystery aspect of these books - the mix of mystery, ghosts, zombies, and demons is really fun. I also liked seeing more Juliet this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    One of my personal faves in the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dhuaine

    Third installment of Felix Castor series. The blurb advertises it as "three cases in which Castor gets hopelessly tangled even though he should know better". Not very promising... however, the reader should know better than to trust a blurb. The book's main plot, however, focuses on only two of these cases, while the other provides some sort of backstory which looks completely useless. I guess it's needed as a base for future development, since Castor novels are not standalones in their own migh Third installment of Felix Castor series. The blurb advertises it as "three cases in which Castor gets hopelessly tangled even though he should know better". Not very promising... however, the reader should know better than to trust a blurb. The book's main plot, however, focuses on only two of these cases, while the other provides some sort of backstory which looks completely useless. I guess it's needed as a base for future development, since Castor novels are not standalones in their own might, but some threads carry on between volumes. This time Castor is hired to get to the truth behind brutal murder that looks like crimes committed by serial killer who died 40 years ago. As he digs in, he uncovers a whole lot more than he hoped to find. This volume is much darker than previous ones. There are moments that involve more horror and thriller than supernatural or mystery. Usually I don't like the "it's a world-wide conspiracy" type of plot, but here it was executed really well. There was only one issue that wasn't addressed by the author - but maybe the consequences will be presented in the next volume. The one thing that I really like about Castor is that he simply gets things done. He doesn't whine and go emo, doesn't sort out personal issues which later miraculously turn out to be deeply connected to the plot from the blurb; he simply focuses on his work without annoying sidetracking. Thanks to that, action moves very fast, it's literally hard to put the book down. In my opinion, third volume of the series is the best one so far. I enjoyed the setting, was surprised by plot twists. Carey managed to take a different look at some cliche elements he used. Overall, it's a very good book, both due to enjoyment factor and technical value.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Castor's cases get mixed up again and he and Juliet end up investigating the suicide and subsequent haunting of a fellow exorcist along with a vicious rape and murder by someone who may be more innocent than he appears. I think I'm done with this series. Castor becomes increasingly less likable to me as the series continues, so the stakes keep getting lower. His primary means of interacting with people, including his friends, is by bullying and even he doesn't even particularly like his friends u Castor's cases get mixed up again and he and Juliet end up investigating the suicide and subsequent haunting of a fellow exorcist along with a vicious rape and murder by someone who may be more innocent than he appears. I think I'm done with this series. Castor becomes increasingly less likable to me as the series continues, so the stakes keep getting lower. His primary means of interacting with people, including his friends, is by bullying and even he doesn't even particularly like his friends unless they can do something for him or they're involved in something interesting. He uses and abuses with impunity. The only shining light in the book is Juliet and in a lot of ways she's not much better than Castor. She is better than Castor though: her relationship with Sue Book is more genuine than anything that Castor has in his life. I think it says something when a literal soul-sucking demoness from hell has a more human relationship than anything that the main character has going on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danie Ware

    Three Felix Castor books down, and loving every one of them. Plotlines intriguing and perfectly woven, a marvellously droll sense of humour, and a particularly visual (and occasionally visceral) use of simile that I've mentioned before. Add to this, the best depiction of demons bar none - not only Juliet, sensual and terrifying as ever (and very touching, as her story unfolds) but also the portrayal of Moloch, with very Miltonian echoes. And props to Mike Carey for being the only author I know wh Three Felix Castor books down, and loving every one of them. Plotlines intriguing and perfectly woven, a marvellously droll sense of humour, and a particularly visual (and occasionally visceral) use of simile that I've mentioned before. Add to this, the best depiction of demons bar none - not only Juliet, sensual and terrifying as ever (and very touching, as her story unfolds) but also the portrayal of Moloch, with very Miltonian echoes. And props to Mike Carey for being the only author I know who can put Bukkake and The Waltons in the same sentence. A sentence that I never need to read again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    There is something about the way these books are written that I really enjoy. I think it's the slightly twisted occult London where ghosts have come back. It's not as mystical and magical as others and the realism adds to the spookiness. I also really enjoy the writing style. I was a bit disappointed in the 2nd book in the series, there were far too many car chases and shopping malls. This one felt much more like London. For the most part Felix had to rely on public transport. The story involved There is something about the way these books are written that I really enjoy. I think it's the slightly twisted occult London where ghosts have come back. It's not as mystical and magical as others and the realism adds to the spookiness. I also really enjoy the writing style. I was a bit disappointed in the 2nd book in the series, there were far too many car chases and shopping malls. This one felt much more like London. For the most part Felix had to rely on public transport. The story involved a friend who had died and a murder that was done by the ghost of an American serial killer, rather than the man who was in prison. Everything wove together beautifully and as usual with Mike Carey there were no real good or evil but everything was delightful shades of gray. I borrowed this one from the library but enjoyed it so much I went ahead and bought the next volume in the series instead.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Good continuation of this series in which Felix finds himself helping the widow of another exorcist, who killed himself. Of course, nothing's as it seems and everything gets much more complicated. I did catch a couple of continuity errors, which I always find distracting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Another entertaining supernatural noir mystery featuring hard-luck exorcist Felix Castor. Those (like me) who were disappointed at Juliet's near-absence in the last novel, will be happy to find she has a far greater presence this time round.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Picky Virgo

    I can only quote Bilbo Baggins here: ...I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.. Mike Carey crafted this book meticulously. I really wanted to like it, but I found myself working to finish it. In my mind there’s too much mayhem, painstakingly detailed, with no real relevance to the plot. When I got to the end I didn’t recognize the significance of the final courtroom scene, even after it was done. And watching as Felix alienates his allies one by one, then manages to at least s I can only quote Bilbo Baggins here: ...I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.. Mike Carey crafted this book meticulously. I really wanted to like it, but I found myself working to finish it. In my mind there’s too much mayhem, painstakingly detailed, with no real relevance to the plot. When I got to the end I didn’t recognize the significance of the final courtroom scene, even after it was done. And watching as Felix alienates his allies one by one, then manages to at least sow the seeds of their forgiveness by the end of the book, is becoming tiresome. My favorite Mike Carey book by far is Fellside. (I found his critically-acclaimed The Girl With All the Gifts somewhat tedious.) I will continue to borrow the Felix Castor novels from the library because my husband enjoys them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This one seemed to drag a bit. The story wasn't bad, but it was just tedious getting there.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Another solid book in the Felix Castor series. Dry, deadpan, and sarcastic, what more could you want?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Saxton

    LOVE this series. :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I suspect that this is the best Felix Castor book. It's definitely my favourite of the first three, and I doubt the last two will outdo it. It starts with the funeral of one of Felix's friends, which leads to him rather naturally getting involved in whatever it was that led to his friend's suicide. Soon he's investigating dead gangsters with little idea as to why. I think it's the best written of the three; the niggling irritations of the first two are gone. The world building all naturally blen I suspect that this is the best Felix Castor book. It's definitely my favourite of the first three, and I doubt the last two will outdo it. It starts with the funeral of one of Felix's friends, which leads to him rather naturally getting involved in whatever it was that led to his friend's suicide. Soon he's investigating dead gangsters with little idea as to why. I think it's the best written of the three; the niggling irritations of the first two are gone. The world building all naturally blends into the story now and Felix actually seems to investigate more actively in this one. Carey also blends the supernatural and the real much more effectively. The first book had a very grounded mystery, and the second an outlandish one. This book found a better balance of the two with understandable villains with logical motivations, who were very much the villains of a supernatural mystery. It's a thrilling book that often manages to be fairly moving. Carey has really hit his stride with this one. I'm really excited to read the next one. So what I’m getting at is this. Okay, maybe it’s cold in the grave. Maybe you come out of the light and you think, Fuck your mother, this is bad. This is worse than anything I would have guessed. But the trick is to clench your teeth, get a running start and dive. When I hit that other country, from whose bourne no traveller back-pedals, I’m going to be moving fast. I’m gambling that the first ten seconds or so will be the worst.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Baal Of

    I keep flipping between a 3 and a 4 star rating. Why can't Goodreads give us the ability to use half stars? Anyway, the mystery in this book seemed tighter than the previous book, and I enjoyed the reading while it was happening, but a few days later, and the details have already faded. There was a musical reference to Primordial by Rudra which I did not expect. Then there was the phrase "blind trusts and offshore-shelf companies" which was either an intentional pun, or a mistake in which he mea I keep flipping between a 3 and a 4 star rating. Why can't Goodreads give us the ability to use half stars? Anyway, the mystery in this book seemed tighter than the previous book, and I enjoyed the reading while it was happening, but a few days later, and the details have already faded. There was a musical reference to Primordial by Rudra which I did not expect. Then there was the phrase "blind trusts and offshore-shelf companies" which was either an intentional pun, or a mistake in which he meant shell company. I was baffled by this sentence "I had the ultimate ordeal of dinner with Juliet and the lovely Mrs. Juliet to look forward to." and I think I only just now parsed it correctly while typing it. Maybe a wee bit more editing would have been good. I'm on the fence now whether I will continue this series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brainycat

    Brainycat's 5 "B"s: blood: 3 boobs: 1 bombs: 1 bondage: 2 blasphemy: 4 Bechdel Test: PASS Deggan's Rule: FAIL Gay Bechdel Test: PASS When I finished the previous book in this series, I was disappointed that Felix didn't grow very much. Having now read the third installment, I forgive Mr. Carey for his earlier transgressions and applaud the way he rescued the series. Felix is becoming a proper heavy-hitter in the corner of this alternate London concerned with animated post-mortem kerfuffles, and as such h Brainycat's 5 "B"s: blood: 3 boobs: 1 bombs: 1 bondage: 2 blasphemy: 4 Bechdel Test: PASS Deggan's Rule: FAIL Gay Bechdel Test: PASS When I finished the previous book in this series, I was disappointed that Felix didn't grow very much. Having now read the third installment, I forgive Mr. Carey for his earlier transgressions and applaud the way he rescued the series. Felix is becoming a proper heavy-hitter in the corner of this alternate London concerned with animated post-mortem kerfuffles, and as such he's attracting more attention from some bigger heavies. Not to say Felix has gotten over himself and he's come to appreciate the people around him who save him from himself regularly, but he certainly does come to realize how often his sanity and survival are made possible by his friends and allies. He even starts to show real twinges of conscience, but even by the end of this book he isn't too ready to listen to that tiny voice of goodwill he's worked so hard to bury. I wouldn't recommend this book as a place to start the series. Interested readers should definitely start with the first book and work through them sequentially. While we're on the subject, there's not a whole lot that's new regarding setting, characterization, voicing and all the other technical elements of a novel. If you liked the mood, tone, style and pace of the first two books you'll like this one too. It's another finely crafted whodunnit. Unlike the previous books, Felix finds himself embroiled in a number of disaparate situations that turn out to be related via root cause, though thankfully it's not nearly as predictable as the second book's scenario. The mystery progresses along in typical Felix fashion - by alternately threatening violence, guiling his friends and allies and getting beat up regularly he starts to piece together a conspiracy so large he and Juliet had to travel to the US to get some of the clues. All the while, as Felix follows his obsessions and twisted moral compass, he uses up nearly all his remaining cachet and is increasingly forced to come to grips with the selfish way he's lived his life. This installment of the series feels like it puts Felix's internal life first and foremost, reflected in the way his relationships are changing. While the whodunnit was better than most in the genre, it's not as good as the first story and ultimately concludes with a monologue with the antagonist driving the whole conspiracy. Fortunately, it didn't sink to the depths of "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die..." but it felt like Mr. Carey was truncating the denoument. A minor quibble, again, because it provided more opportunity for Felix to have to come to grips with his own feelings and his responsibility to those around him. I'm very happy to see Felix changing, and the world around him changing, but I realize that I'm starting on the last half of the series. I'm not one of those readers who draws out the end of a series trying to make it last. I'm eagerly devouring them as fast as I can, knowing the end is coming: So what I’m getting at is this. Okay, maybe it’s cold in the grave. Maybe you come out of the light and you think, Fuck your mother, this is bad. This is worse than anything I would have guessed. But the trick is to clench your teeth, get a running start and dive. - Felix Castor Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    I must say I picked up the first of the series, The Devil You Know, and found it just didn't live up to my hopes. It was "borrow from the library" rather than "buy at the the book store". Which is what I did for Vicious Circle and didn't regret it. It was enjoyable but not really must have. I have to say, that's changed with this one. This felt a lot more polished and developed than it's predecessors. Mike Carey is definitely growing as a prose author and the series is improving. The biggest area I must say I picked up the first of the series, The Devil You Know, and found it just didn't live up to my hopes. It was "borrow from the library" rather than "buy at the the book store". Which is what I did for Vicious Circle and didn't regret it. It was enjoyable but not really must have. I have to say, that's changed with this one. This felt a lot more polished and developed than it's predecessors. Mike Carey is definitely growing as a prose author and the series is improving. The biggest area of improvement is, to my mind, the pacing and plot structure of the book. If the series prior had one big problem, it was that it was disjointed. The scenes felt like vignettes strung together and interconnected but in a jerky, incomplete way. I suspect it's a result of the author's background in serialized comic books rather than prose. That's largely gone in this one, with the semi-exception of the Rafi sub-plot, everything really does hang together quite well. Even before the plot threads converge it feels whole. Events build on each other rather than merely follow them. It's hard to explain exactly there's a definite change for the better in the plotting. The story itself is pretty darn good. It wasn't necessarily the most original thing but it was quite entertaining. There are two plots which, predictably, converge. The twists and turns kept, while some what stock, were still it the story going at a brisk and enjoyable pace. Even the Rafi subplot, which felt so extraneous in the first two books, is slowly gaining relevance to larger events. There are some big hints (I think) to larger events concerning Asmodeous, Juliet, and the gradual rise of the supernatural forces. Other little bits, like Peckham Steiner, Jenna-Jane Mulbridge, and some other things all seem to be feeding into this as well. I's very gratifying to have the sense of larger events going on. It definitely helps things hold together rather it than it just being "wacky hi jinks happen to main character". The one area there was some improvement, not a lot but some, is the characterization. Felix himself is developing a bit beyond being a supernatural-noir cypher. Not a lot, characterization remains a weakness, but enough that you can identify and understand the characters. Juliet in particular gets a big dose of character revelation; not so much development as exploring what makes her tick. Even Penn gets a little bit of character thrown in. All in all it's improvement even if it's not exactly the strong suit. The one thing that does still get me is the sparseness of the descriptions. I don't need anything super elaborate but these are bordering on too minimalistic. It becomes obvious the author is used to accompanying pictures and so there are some times spareness of description that hampers the story. In particular it seems to me to strike when talking about the characters themselves, very definitely when talking London geography, and occasionally the action scenes. Not enough to seriously impair my enjoyment of the series a but tic that I've noticed with the series. Overall, I really enjoyed this installment. The characters had more life and the story felt a lot tighter. There are also some very gratifying hints to a larger narrative lurking under the surface. It's definitely the best yet and whets my appetite for US versions of the next two books in the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Anne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I would possibly rate the book a little lower than four stars, but what the heck. I still enjoyed it. I do agree with those who have said that this is their least favorite Castor book of the first three books. I suppose that tends to happen. There are two reasons I didn't like this book quite as much. First, Castor would make reference to characters we'd encountered before but wouldn't give a complete explanation. Maybe this was only once: he mentioned Cheryl, from the first book, and I wasn't su I would possibly rate the book a little lower than four stars, but what the heck. I still enjoyed it. I do agree with those who have said that this is their least favorite Castor book of the first three books. I suppose that tends to happen. There are two reasons I didn't like this book quite as much. First, Castor would make reference to characters we'd encountered before but wouldn't give a complete explanation. Maybe this was only once: he mentioned Cheryl, from the first book, and I wasn't sure who he was talking about. Of course there's no information on Wiki, and I was thisclose to flipping through the first book (not quite so easy on a Kindle) before I remembered who she was. And yes, no big deal, particularly in terms of plot, but a little more information would be nice. There was an additional something about some guy's daughter, but no follow-through there. I'm pretty sure I remember that one, but still, a little extra information wouldn't hurt. No doubt she'll come into play later. The second reason I didn't like this book so much is the three storylines running through the book. Even if the Rafi one wasn't as significant in terms of action, I still felt a bit lost. Why do I start with the things I didn't like? Who knows. Here's what I loved: I really like Felix Castor as protagonist and narrator. I thought the plot was unique and full of twists. I liked how this story was different, and I like that part of the mystery was figuring out just how stuff was happening. The explanation was interesting and thought-provoking and seemed to cover all the bases, but it also brought about a strange concept for me: yes, ghosts possessing bodies isn't too out there (by out standards; it's fairly regular in other spooky stories), I really like the idea of the ghost not changing too much, despite reincarnations, and the ability to change a possessed body so much that the fingerprints change. At first I found that really odd and... well, unrealistic. But the explanation of a ghostly passenger having such a huge, even physical, effect is quite spooky and cool. I like the concept. But I'm not liking Pen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    The mystery comes together piece by piece, most of which Fix has to actively search out. This isn't a bunch of evidence that falls conveniently into his lap; he has to work for it and put all the pieces together himself. A couple of time I thought "well, that's convenient" and found out a few chapters later what I thought was a coincidence was not so much after all. That being said, Fix must have 48-hour days with everything he manages to accomplish between sunup and sundown, and this world seem The mystery comes together piece by piece, most of which Fix has to actively search out. This isn't a bunch of evidence that falls conveniently into his lap; he has to work for it and put all the pieces together himself. A couple of time I thought "well, that's convenient" and found out a few chapters later what I thought was a coincidence was not so much after all. That being said, Fix must have 48-hour days with everything he manages to accomplish between sunup and sundown, and this world seems to be one in which people only need a couple hours' sleep to function. (Actually, I'm kind of envious.) Worldbuilding is always an important facet in paranormal fiction, and Carey has not skimped out on that. His "hierarchy" of the dead is original and fascinating, filled with ghosts and zombies and poltergeists and the occasional loup-garou (which is what happens when a human ghost takes over an animal body). The world is very dark, with some nasty creatures bumping around and at least one rather gory showdown. The supporting supernaturals are a bit part of what made Dead Men's Boots so much fun for me, I think. With characters like Nicky the intelligent and paranoid zombie, terrified of the inevitable decay his dead body will undergo, and Juliet the succubus demon and her utter inability to understand humanity, it might be worth a read just to check out what Fix's buddies are up to. I know a lot of people are getting oversaturated by all the many many options available in urban fantasy, but rest assured this is not a book about a Buffy wannabe with a bad attitude dealing with the evil but sexy vampires and werewolves. For one, in case it wasn't clear enough before, Felix is a dude, which is rare enough in this sort of thing. Add the fact he's an exorcist and deals strictly with ghosts and zombies (and the occasional demon), a London setting, and a noir tone not unlike the Harry Dresden series, and you've got the sort of thing that will end up on a lot of must-read lists.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    Felix "Fix" Castor is in over his head in Dead Men's Boots, when he is asked for help by the widow of a fellow exorcist. Toss in the apparent murder by a 40-years-dead American serial killer and a legal battle over his demon-inhabited friend Rafi and Castor has more to deal with than 3 men can handle. Carey has really come into his own with the third Castor novel, reminding me of the early Dresden novels by Jim Butcher. Carey has a firm grip on his characters, and his plotting is tighter than eve Felix "Fix" Castor is in over his head in Dead Men's Boots, when he is asked for help by the widow of a fellow exorcist. Toss in the apparent murder by a 40-years-dead American serial killer and a legal battle over his demon-inhabited friend Rafi and Castor has more to deal with than 3 men can handle. Carey has really come into his own with the third Castor novel, reminding me of the early Dresden novels by Jim Butcher. Carey has a firm grip on his characters, and his plotting is tighter than ever. I really enjoyed his expansion on Juliet, the succubus who almost wasted Castor in the past, and like how they've almost moved past that earlier calamity. I was somewhat disappointed that most of the Rafi saga was "off screen" and really did very little to enhance the plot other than to give Castor one more thing to agonize over. In any regard, Dead Men's Boots is a worthwhile read and a fine addition to the Castor saga. I do admit I had a bit of trouble with keeping up with some of the lesser characters, but I believe that's probably due to my sporadic reading times during this book. Despite that, I enjoyed the novel and look forward to the next in the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    The setting and supernatural elements were refreshing. And I adore books with male leads. Unfortunately, this particular male protagonist fell flat for me. While other guy leads in his profession are charming and snarky, the only endearing trait I could stick to Felix Castor was his nickname 'Fix'. Felix was sorely lacking emotion towards a prime character's tragedy, and his other relationships were as lifeless as flat soda. The only character he seemed to have even the slightest affection for w The setting and supernatural elements were refreshing. And I adore books with male leads. Unfortunately, this particular male protagonist fell flat for me. While other guy leads in his profession are charming and snarky, the only endearing trait I could stick to Felix Castor was his nickname 'Fix'. Felix was sorely lacking emotion towards a prime character's tragedy, and his other relationships were as lifeless as flat soda. The only character he seemed to have even the slightest affection for was Juliet. Felix seemed incredibly icy, cynical and apathetic. While Felix was the fatal blow, the book itself was slow and muggy, like a swamp on a foggy day. Difficult to get through. Applause to the writer for showing men in vulnerable, horrible situations, helping to prove that men are just as vulnerable as women to pain. Other than that, the writing style and events were a chore to trudge through. My male leads don't need to be Mary Poppins. They can be as anti-social as they want. But at least sprinkle SOME magic on top of that sundae. Give him a friend, a mentor, someone he bonds with. THEN I'll go on his adventure with him.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    I'm enjoying this series, which is urban fantasy set in modern-day London. I really like the way Mike Carey writes. There is the occasional spot where I can't figure out what he's talking about - references specific to the UK, I presume, although I like to think that I understand most of those. I've visited London, and it's fun to be familiar with some of the geography as Castor wanders around the city. As usual, the plot in this book is advanced way too much by confessions from the bad guys. In I'm enjoying this series, which is urban fantasy set in modern-day London. I really like the way Mike Carey writes. There is the occasional spot where I can't figure out what he's talking about - references specific to the UK, I presume, although I like to think that I understand most of those. I've visited London, and it's fun to be familiar with some of the geography as Castor wanders around the city. As usual, the plot in this book is advanced way too much by confessions from the bad guys. In fact, there are altogether too many scenes where a character sits Castor down and explains the situation to him. But this was a fun read, and there's an overall story arc that is growing more interesting, so I look forward to the next book. My eyebrows went up when Castor made a bizarre visit to a fictional small town in Alabama (not far from where I live), but the trip turned out to be not especially exciting in itself.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clay Kallam

    “Dead Men’s Boots” (Grand Central, $25.99, 420 pages) is Mike Carey’s third installment in the Felix Castor series and is three-quarters hard-boiled detective novel and one-quarter urban fantasy. In some ways, it’s like Liz Williams’ Inspector Chen series, in that the boundaries between heaven and earth have been breached a bit, and demons, ghosts and other spirits are hanging around modern-day earth. Castor gets involved in the usual convoluted detective novel plot, which does sometimes get in “Dead Men’s Boots” (Grand Central, $25.99, 420 pages) is Mike Carey’s third installment in the Felix Castor series and is three-quarters hard-boiled detective novel and one-quarter urban fantasy. In some ways, it’s like Liz Williams’ Inspector Chen series, in that the boundaries between heaven and earth have been breached a bit, and demons, ghosts and other spirits are hanging around modern-day earth. Castor gets involved in the usual convoluted detective novel plot, which does sometimes get in the way of the story, but Carey controls the narrative with a sure hand, and it all sort of makes sense, and gets sorted out, in the obligatory explanation scenes at book’s end. After reading “Dead Men’s Boots,” I’m not going to run out and track down the first two (“Vicious Circle” and “The Devil You Know”), but I will be willing to go along for the ride from here on out. Maybe this urban fantasy stuff has more going for it than I thought.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    I've been thinking 3 star ratings may be a bit low for these books, considering how gripping the narratives are, how rich the scene-setting is and how complex and imaginative the plots are. This third installment in the series definitely deserves a higher rating, taken as what it is. It scores high as pulpy entertainment that's witty and inventive, and not without its dark, horrific sides. This story starts with Castor investigating a friend who has died and gone geist - become a poltergeist - a I've been thinking 3 star ratings may be a bit low for these books, considering how gripping the narratives are, how rich the scene-setting is and how complex and imaginative the plots are. This third installment in the series definitely deserves a higher rating, taken as what it is. It scores high as pulpy entertainment that's witty and inventive, and not without its dark, horrific sides. This story starts with Castor investigating a friend who has died and gone geist - become a poltergeist - and develops into another high-stakes ride with Castor's succubus-protege Juliet turning against him, long-dead gangsters committing crimes from beyond - or are they - and a strange resurrection racket involving an exclusive, elite London crematorium. Thrilling stuff and it all comes together in suitably cataclysmic conclusion. Excellent storytelling.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This guy has his craft down pat, gripping chapter endings, just enough hints to make you think you missed something, and all the strings pulled together at the end into a neat little bow. Felix just gets better and better

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt Dawson

    Goodreads star system stinks. This book was better than the first two. It wasn't a five star book and it also doesn't retroactively diminish the rating on the first two on the series. So this gets the same rating, even though it was better than the others.

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