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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dead Men's Boots, by Mike Carey (hardcover, $25.99)

This is the third in the Fix Castor series. Fix is an exorcist, but not in a William Blatty kind of way. No long priestly skirts for Fix. No holy water or twisting heads, either. Well, maybe one or two twisty heads.

Set in a version of London in which the dead have risen – as ghosts, as loup-garous, and as zombies – Mike Carey plays with the concept of human rights and entitlements applied to the undead. Demons, however, are another story. One of Fix’s best “friends” is Juliet, a succubus, but he trusts her only as far as he can throw her … or she can throw him. Fix gets beaten up a lot in this episode, not just by Juliet but by practically everyone else as well.

Jim Butcher, creater of the fabulous Harry Dresden series, has a similar “take.” He has a world in which regular folk co-exist with supernatural beings. Butcher is the master of the hard-boiled demon hunter genre. (Of course, there are very few others who could contend in this category!) Mike Carey’s books are a little raunchier and more visual. Quite a few more people (human) violently bite the bullet in his books than in Butcher’s.

In the latest book, Fix has what appear to be two problems: a fellow exorcist whose ghost will not rest easy, and an ordinary guy who suddenly beats another man to death. On behalf of their spouses, Fix must help the ghost to rest and find out why the ordinary guy would suddenly turn violent.

The talk is still snappy, albeit a little rough sometimes, and Fix is still beguiling. Read it for fun and to see Fix take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.

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