Review: The Naming of the Beasts (Felix Castor #5) by Mike Carey

The Naming of the Beasts (Felix Castor #5) by Mike Carey
Orbit/Jan. 2011
Urban Fantasy
Felix Castor Series

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but if you ask Castor he’ll tell you there’s quite a bit of arrogance and reckless stupidity lining the streets as well. He should know. There are only so many times you can play both sides against the middle and get away with it. Now, the inevitable moment of crisis has arrived and it’s left Castor with blood on his hands. Well, not his hands—it’s always someone else who pays the bill: friends, acquaintances, and bystanders. So Castor drowns his guilt in cheap whiskey, while an innocent woman lies dead and her daughter comatose, his few remaining friends fear for their lives and there’s a demon loose on the streets. It’s not just any demon—this one rides shotgun on his best friend’s soul and can’t be expelled without killing him. It seems that Felix Castor’s got some tough choices to make, because expel the demon he must or all Hell will break loose—literally.

The aftermath of the disastrous events of Thicker Than Water still has Felix Castor reeling. They’ve left his former best friend (possessed by a rather nasty demon) free, and Felix an emotional mess, drowning himself in alcohol and sorrow. After a pretty nasty binge, Felix shakes off his sorrow in an attempt to get a handle on a mess that deep down, he blames himself for; finding Rafi Ditko and freeing him from the demon Asmodeus once and for all. The demon definitely has his own agenda, and after visiting the crime scene of his first victim, Felix knows he must track him down, at all costs. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one working the case. His old nemesis, Dr. Jenna-Jane Mulbridge, is also on his trail, not to mention the Anathemata, who was the cause of the massive mess that set Rafi free. To add to the considerable stress of finding Rafi, Juliet, Fix’s sometimes partner and incidentally, also a succubus demon, is acting very, very strangely, to the detriment of her wife, Sue. It’s getting worse all the time and Fix is at a total loss as to how he can help, but he’s determined to do what he can. Eventually, he’ll have to seek the help of Jenna-Jane and her crew, which now includes Trudie Pax, a former Anathemata member, and also the nephew of a man that was killed during an exorcism gone wrong, and he blames Fix for his death. You can imagine that things are a bit strained, but Fix will need everything at his disposal to find Rafi and get rid of Asmodeus for good, before he kills everyone Fix loves, and then heads after Fix himself.

The Naming of the Beasts is the 5th book in the Felix Castor series, and it’s just as good as the previous four. No one writes like Mike Carey. He has created an alternate London full of ghosts, zombies (not of the brain eating kind), loup-garous, demons, and other supernaturals that lovers of urban fantasy and noir will want to visit again and again. Fix is tough and smart, but certainly not superhuman, and it’s his rumpled charm that will get you every time (at least it does me). We get to wrap up a huge storyline in this one, with explosive results, but I have no doubt that Mike Carey has plenty more in store for Fix and his friends. There are endless possibilities with this series, and I hope Mr. Carey keeps Fix’s world alive for some time to come. If you like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, or Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant novels, you’ll want to dive into this one head first. Superb writing, fascinating characters, and a haunted London steeped in history make these books a must! Very highly recommended.

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  1. Felix Castor is a fantastic character and I adore this series. As a Londoner I adore the little touches he does to bring the city to life – like riding on the tube. Have to agree with you – this is one of the best UF series and I’m desperate for another fix, but I don’t know if there will be one!

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