Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Urban Fantasy, Anyone?

I've mentioned before that my pleasure reading these days is mostly confined to urban fantasy.

I recently finished Thicker Than Water, the fourth in Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels.

Carey's books are darkly witty and entertaining; so much so that I forgive him his major flaw: uneven pacing. I'm curious as to whether the fact that Carey began his writing career as a graphic novel writer rather than as a prose novelist has anything to do with the pacing issue.

By the way, Carey is an award-winning graphic novelist. He wrote Lucifer and Hellblazer and is the current writer on Marvel's X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four.

In Thicker Than Water, Castor's past catches up with him when a bully from his childhood is found murdered in the front seat of a car with Castor's name in blood on the windshield.

Here's some sample dialogue. In Chapter 11, Castor is ambushed by a zombie on an elevated train station. The zombie picks him up and throws him down toward the tracks in the path of an oncoming train. However, the zombie's timing is off, and Castor hits the roof of the first car, bouncing off into the high grasses, which break his fall. Chapter 12 begins with Castor in the hospital visiting with Nicky Heath, a friendly computer hacker who is also a zombie.

"You any good at syllogisms?" I countered.

"Socrates is my bitch."

"Then work it out. Everyone in a hospital eats hospital food. Everyone in a hospital is sick. Conclusion?"

"Right. I heard it was even worse than the shit they give you in prison."

"Makes sense. In prison, most people are strong enough to fight back."
Okay, I'll admit my humor can be adolescent on occasion, but I loved that "Socrates is my bitch" line.

I had to order Thicker Than Water from the UK, but it was well worth it. If you love urban fantasy, try to scare up one of the four Felix Castor novels. Thicker Than Water is my favorite. I just ordered The Naming of the Beasts, the fifth novel which came out last week in the UK, from a bookshop in Southport, England. Paid $19 for a new paperback to be shipped to Texas.

And some people believe I can't commit!

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