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Mike (M.R.) Carey

Mike Carey(1959- )
Mike Carey (aka M.R. Carey) is best known for his comic book work including the Eisner-nominated horror/fantasy series Lucifer, Hellblazer and The Sandman Presents. His other projects include Ultimate Fantastic Four, Crossing Midnight, X-Men: Legacy, Coalition Comix, The Unwritten, and Ender’s Shadow: Battle School. He’s also penned two screenplays for Hadaly Pictures in “Frost Flowers” and “Red King,” is working on The Stranded TV series for Virgin Comics/SyFy Channel, and has a short story collected in the Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy anthology. Here’s Mike Carey’s website.


Hellblazer: All His Engines

John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines by Mike Carey (writer) & Leonardo Manco (artist)

There are so many options available to the reader who wants to meet John Constantine for the first time. He was created by Alan Moore in his groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing (Moore's entry into American comics). Another good place to start is with Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer: Original Sins, the volume collecting the first issues of Constantine's solo title Hellblazer — the longest running title in the history of Vertigo, DC's line of comics with adult content and adult themes (both in terms of being explicit and being intellectually complex). Unfortunately, DC just recently canceled this title at issue #300 and has replaced i... Read More

The Devil You Know: Fresh urban fantasy

The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

In a genre that has become over-saturated in recent years with second and third-rate carbon copies looking to feed off the successes of more popular series such as Laurell K. Hamilton’s ANITA BLAKE novels, The Devil You Know is quite a breath of fresh air. At a glance there may seem to be a lot of similarities: the contemporary setting where the paranormal has become a part of everyday life, the down-on-your-luck main character who narrates in a first-person perspective, the blending of horror, crime noir and humor elements, and so on. Yet, these would only be superficial observations, because if you were to take a closer look at what The Devil You Know brings to the table, it becomes pretty apparent tha... Read More

Vicious Circle: Bigger and Better

Vicious Circle by Mike Carey

Out of all of the urban fantasy novels that I read in 2007, Mike Carey’s prose debut (The Devil You Know) was one of my favorites. Basically, Mr Carey took everything that I love about the genre — including the supernatural tangoing with the ordinary, mixing humor with horror, and creating a protagonist that is impossible not to root for — and gave the formula a refreshing makeover. Even so, there was room for improvement and in Vicious Circle Mike Carey has delivered a sequel that is in every way bigger and better than its predecessor.

For one, the writing is sharper. By that, I mean the story is better plotted, the pacing is more consistent, and the voice of Felix Castor is more vibrant, particularly his ability to describe London with such unique flair, and a talent for clever barbs, descriptive metaphors and humorous commentary:
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Dead Men’s Boots: Another delightful Felix Castor novel

Dead Men’s Boots by Mike Carey

Dead Men’s Boots is the third Felix Castor novel after Vicious Circle and The Devil You Know. Like the previous volumes, the book finds Felix dealing with several different issues that may or may not be connected. In this case, there’s the suicide of a fellow ghostbreaker (exorcist) who leaves a message for Felix; a wife who hires Felix to clear her husband’s name of murder; a Chicago mob femme fatale who seemingly continues to kill decades after her execution; and the legal fight for Rafi’s power of attorney. Aiding Felix in his latest escapades are Juliet, Nicky — one of my favorite characters — and the demon Moloch, who drops some tantalizing hints about ‘the great project’ and why the dead are rising with increasing volume.

Compared to th... Read More

Thicker Than Water: Best Felix Castor novel to date

Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey

The fourth Felix Castor novel starts out with a bang: the liberation of Rafi from the Charles Stanger Care Facility under the nose of Jenna-Jane Mulbridge, told in a clever departure from Felix’s usual first-person narrative.

From there, Thicker Than Water follows the same formula as the other Castor novels — a tangled supernatural mystery comprised of seemingly unrelated parts — but with some significant differences.

For one, the case is personal this time, revolving around an old childhood acquaintance who was brutally attacked with razors and Castor’s name written in blood.

Also involved somehow are Felix’s brother Matt, the Anthemata, a zombie who is following Castor, stigmatas, and a haunted housing district. Throw in great roles played by regulars Juliet, Nicky, R... Read More

The Naming of the Beasts: Another fantastic urban fantasy from Mike Carey

The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey

The fifth Felix Castor novel had the unfortunate task of following in the footsteps of what I strongly believe is the best volume in the series thus far (Thicker Than Water), but The Naming of the Beasts was up to the challenge, mainly because the book revolves around an escaped Rafi/Asmodeus and the carnage/horror trailing in the demon’s wake.

Of course, with any Felix Castor novel there’s always other stuff happening... and The Naming of the Beasts is no exception. Besides the threat of Asmodeus hanging over Felix, Pen, and anyone else close to Rafi, there’s something strange happening to the succubus Juliet, an unlikely alliance with Jenna-Jane Mulbridge and the Metamorphic Ontol... Read More

The Unwritten by Mike Carey

The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & the Bogus Identity (Vol 1) by Mike Carey (writer) & Peter Gross (artist)

The Unwritten by Mike Carey is one of the best current series being published right now. It is one of the few titles put out by Vertigo — DC's mature line of comics — that has kept Vertigo from losing its respected place in the world of comics. Vertgo was started by Karen Berger with Neil Gaiman's wonderful Sandman stories, and many of my favorite comics have come out with the Vertigo label on them. However, in recent years, Vertigo has lost its edge for the most part except for a few excellent works like Read More

The Girl with All the Gifts: Even a worn-out meme can have power

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Melanie is ten years old, with skin as white as snow, just like in the fairy tale. But she doesn’t live in a tower; she lives in a cell, and is taken from there through the corridor to the classroom, and the shower room, where she is fed grubs once a week before a chemical spray falls from the ceiling. She knows that the place she lives in is called the block, and that the block is on the base, which is called Hotel Echo. They’re close to London and part of Region 6, which is mostly clear because the burn patrols kill the hungries. Her favorite teacher is Miss Justineau, who makes school days interesting and full of fun.

We quickly learn that the hungries are zombies — and at that point, I groaned; not another zombie novel! Haven’t we worn out this meme yet? But M.R. C... Read More

The Boy on the Bridge: Interesting characters can’t rise above established tropes

The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

M.R. Carey’s 2014 novel, The Girl with All the Gifts, was lauded by both Terry and Ray for bringing new life to tired zombie-fiction tropes. The Boy on the Bridge (2017) occupies a prequel/companion/sequel position, in that most of this novel takes place before Melanie’s story, but a twenty-years-later epilogue swoops around and seems to pick up after The Girl with All the Gifts ended. (Full disclosure: I haven’t read that novel yet, but I’m familiar enough with the plot/events to recognize significant places and people like Beacon, Hotel Echo, Dr. Caldwell, and others as they’re mentioned.) Do not follow my example, of course; read the books in order, as wha... Read More

The Book of Koli: Has pretty much everything I want

The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

Koli lives in a far-future post-apocalyptic England. He has never been beyond the walls of Mythen Rood, his tiny village, because outside are wild animals, vicious plants, and who knows what other dangers. The leaders of Mythen Rood are the Ramparts, a small group of people who have magic that allows them to work the salvaged technology of the ancient humans who used to be masters of the Earth (that's us).

When kids in Mythen Rood turn 15 years old, the Ramparts test them to see if they have the magic to work the technology. If they do, the kids join the Ramparts. If not, they’re relegated to lower jobs. After Koli fails to pass the test, he discovers a secret the Ramparts have been hiding from the villagers. Then, after stealing some technology from the Ramparts, Koli is banished from Mythen Rood.

Koli is completely unprepared to be in the wilderness on his own -- he has no idea wha... Read More

The Trials of Koli: Feels like a middle book, but a good one

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

M.R. Carey’s The Book of Koli was one of my favorite reads this year. I loved everything about it and was eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Trials of Koli (2020), which was, thankfully, released only a few months after The Book of Koli appeared. There will be some spoilers for The Book of Koli in this review, so beware.

Koli is still on the run. He misses his mother and sisters but can’t go back home or he’ll be hanged. He continues to travel with Ursula, the strange woman who knows a lot about science, medicine, and technology and who is accompanied by a piece of “tech” that is able to diagnose illnesses, shoot down enemies, and other such handy thi... Read More

The Fall of Koli: Plenty of surprises in this finale

The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Fall of Koli (2021) is the third and final novel in M.R. Carey’s RAMPART trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was one of my favorite books of 2020. In my review I said it has “pretty much everything I want in a novel” – lovable characters, intriguing setting, captivating storytelling, and a great sense of humor.

The second book, The Trials of Koli, was entertaining but definitely felt like a middle book, so I was hoping for a return to form in the final book, The Fall of Koli, and I was ... Read More

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden (ed.)

FORMAT/INFO: The New Dead is 400 pages long divided over nineteen short stories. Also includes a Foreword by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies on all of the anthology’s contributors. February 16, 2010 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The New Dead via St. Martin’s Griffin. Cover art provided by Per Haagensen. The UK version will be published on February 18, 2010 via Piatkus Books under the altered title: Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead. Subterranean Press is also producing... Read More

Masked: Superheroes move into the realm of prose

Masked edited by Lou Anders

Superheroes — and supervillains — have always been problematic. They are usually all but impossible to kill, but have a single vulnerability that everyone seems to know about, and to aim for, a tradition that goes all the way back to Achilles (who was invulnerable because he was dipped in the River Styx as a baby — except for the ankle by which his mother held him when doing the dipping). Even after death, they always seem to come back in some form or another; Superman, for instance, has been resurrected quite a few times (though losing him led nearly 20 years ago to one of the best graphic novels ever written, World Without a Superman). Because they are so superhumanly strong, they sometimes appear ludicrous, fighting off impossible task after incredible burden after outrageous situation. No wonder authors have sometimes taken their creations in odd directions, as Read More