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Vicious Circle

by Mike Carey

(Orbit, £7.99, 501 pages, paperback, published 6 October 2006.)

Review by Martin Owton

cover scanVicious Circle is the second book by British author Mike Carey featuring his freelance exorcist/private detective Felix Castor, and, like the first book The Devil You Know, the setting is contemporary London with the twist that there has been a great upsurge in supernatural events since the Millennium.

At the beginning of the story Castor is hired to find a missing girl. Sounds simple enough except this girl is dead and her ghost has gone missing. Sounds weird? Well that's just the start of it; within a few pages Castor is up to his ears in bad guys, the police think he killed the missing girl and his landlady has thrown him out. But things can get worse; there's a congregation gone violently nuts because there's a major demon in the fabric of their church and a mysterious Satanist who is just out of reach. Castor is again out on his own, but somehow (and believably) handles it.

The Devil You Know really rocked along with an exquisitely paced corkscrew twisty plot and Vicious Circle is no different. There's scarcely time to breathe as the plot drives forward, the dialogue is sharp and the characters nicely realised. My only niggle is that the chief bad guy is maybe a bit too much of a Bond-style Ubervillain. You could read this as a standalone and not miss too much, but why cheat yourself. This is an admirable follow-up to The Devil You Know. Go read it.

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