Top positive review
Good, but not quite as good as the first two books of the series
Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2011
"Dead Men's Boots" is Mike Carey's third novel starring free-lance exorcist Felix Castor. As with his first two books in the series, this novel opens with Felix in a rough spot. One of his fellow exorcists has died after unsuccessfully seeking Felix's help. Felix's friend Rafi, who has a demon trapped inside of him, is about to be kicked out of his care facility and turned over to a not-so friendly medical researcher. And finally, a woman wants him to prove that her husband isn't guilty of murder and that a long-dead serial killer is. This book takes place a few months or so after the events in his second novel "Vicious Circle."
I don't give plot spoilers in my reviews of fictional work, so I'll give my impressions of the book. The key element of how Castor's universe differs from our own (besides demons, ghosts, zombies, etc., being real) is that in the book, ghosts and zombies are becoming more populous and are noticed by mostly everyone, to the point that legislation is being considered that would afford the dead some rights and protections. Not everyone who dies returns, but many are, and no one knows why they are becoming more and more frequent.
Unlike his first two novels, which jumped out of the gate and quickly grabbed your undivided attention, the first half of this one is not as tightly written and wanders a bit. It could be just me, but it felt like that Felix was just running from place to place without the tension appreciably building up. However, about half-way through, everything started to come together, and then like the first two books in the series, the story became enthralling, and I had a tough time putting the book down at decent hours in order to go to bed. The overall writing is excellent, and the plot is outstanding, with no major logic holes. One thing I don't like, though, and it's more of a personal preference than a real problem, is that Mr Carey "over-writes" some scenes, and the book can occasionally feel a little ponderous as a result. But that's really a small personal nit.
While I liked the first two novels a little bit better, this one is still a great read, particularly once you get into the second half of the book. The author makes plenty of wry observations and has some laugh-out loud humor generously sprinkled throughout the book. While you might be able to read this one without having read the first two novels, you really should read them in order, so as to better appreciate the characters and recurring parts of the story line. Four Stars.