“The Unwritten Volume 2: Inside Man” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo, 2010)

Unwritten: Inside Man

The dynamic duo of Mike Carey and Peter Gross return with the second volume of the complex and fascinating story of the Unwritten, continuing to magically blend the worlds of reality and story together.  Tom Taylor is a real person, but he’s also the son of a missing bestselling author whose incredibly popular books (think Harry Potter) feature a main character named Tommy Taylor.  In the final volume the character supposedly passes from the world of fiction into reality.

In the previous volume, Tom Taylor was implicated as the instigator of a massacre, and now finds himself incarcerated at Donostia prison in Southern France; his cell mate is an undercover journalist with some strange powers.  Taylor finds the world of real and unreal blending once more as he is pulled into the epic tale of the Song of Roland, a story that is purported to have taken place close to the prison location, ending in another great massacre.  And just as Taylor thinks himself done and free from his current predicament, he finds himself pulled into another reality, another time: Stuttgart, 1940, where he must save a novel written by a Jewish dissident, Jud Süss, only it’s being turned into an anti-Semitic propaganda film by none other than Joseph Goebbels.

Carey and Gross continue the story of The Unwritten along a most mysterious road, making it one of the most interesting pieces of writing being written today as the reader has very little idea of what is going to happen or where the characters are going to be taken next.  Fortunately, while this is an entertaining story blending the worlds of fiction and reality, Gross’s artwork keep the definitions clearly defined, preventing any confusion for the reader.  The question is where will The Unwritten go next?

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Originally written on October 26, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“The Unwritten Volume 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo, 2010)

The Unwrittenstarstarstarstar

In their first full series collaboration since the award-winning Lucifer, writer Mike Carey and artist Peter Gross present The Unwritten: a unique story about tales and writing and magic, taking the reader on journeys into different and unusual worlds with some familiar and recognizable characters and some very unpredictable happenings.

A bestselling fantasy series that is as big as Harry Potter features a hero by the name of Tommy Taylor.  The creator of the series, Wilson Taylor, has gone missing, disappeared, and hasn’t been seen in years.  Meanwhile his son, Tommy Taylor, is reaping the benefits of the series, attending signings and conventions, and has become a worldwide sensation.  “A literary legend made flesh.”  Only rumors have started that Tom Taylor may not actually be who he says he is; and while the well-known man flees from angry crowds, he finds himself joining up with unusual characters, as well as finding elements of the story he knows so well somehow coming true.

Mike Carey and Peter Gross have created a fresh and original series that explores a fantasy world and a world of supposed real life and then magically blurs the borders, both with powerful words and incredible art, keeping readers thinking, but completely hooked, wanting to know what’s going to happen next.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on January 25th, 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.

“Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere” by Mike Carey and Illustrated by Glenn Fabry (Vertigo, 2007)

Neil Gaiman's Neverwherestarstarstarstar

A most unique and magical book of fantasy and amazement has now been transformed into a beautifully illustrated and fantastically written graphic novel.  Mike Carey, author of the successful Lucifer comic books series (from the Lucifer character in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman), brings his own slant and viewpoint with his graphic novel adaptation of Neverwhere.  Together with Glenn Fabry, who also illustrated the comic book series The Authority, Carey has managed to not only skillfully adapt the book into the graphic novel version, but also make the scenes run from one to the next and get the whole story told in under two hundred pages of graphic work, as opposed to the four hundred page book.  Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere serves as an excellent introduction for those who haven’t read the book but are interested, and it makes the perfect segue, after completing the graphic novel, to just go straight to the book.  Being one of my favorite books ever, I’m glad to say that this adaptation lives up to all my hopes.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on April 14th, 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Mike Carey check out BookBanter Episode 16.

“Dead Men’s Boots” by Mike Carey (Grand Central Publishing, 2009)

Dead Men's Bootsstarstarstarstar

The intrepid exorcist, Felix Castor, returns under the skilled writing hands of Mike Carey, and this is his biggest adventure yet!  After ignoring calls from a fellow exorcist, John Gittings, he finds his friend dead, an apparent suicide and feels guilty.  He agrees to work with the wife in putting her husband to rest, along with dealing with a slimy lawyer who’s trying to execute Gittings will to be cremated.  At the same time Castor is brought onto a case about a man who’s been brutally raped and murdered.  As Castor begins putting the facts together it’s starting to look like a dead female serial killer may somehow be behind it all.  Joining up with his quasi-friend and succubus-turned-exorcist, Juliet, and importing some help from his zombie friend who always has answers, Nicky Heath; Castor will have to travel to Alabama to get some answers and put the case together.  Dead Men’s Boots continues in this third book in the excellent series that just gets better with each new release.  If only the US could get the books published as fast as the UK, which already has the fourth book out, with the fifth due out in the fall.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on June 10th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Mike Carey check out BookBanter Episode 16.

Originally published in the Sacramento Book Review.

“Vicious Circle” by Mike Carey (Grand Central Publishing, 2008)

Vicious Circlestarstarstar

Mike Carey, author of the great graphic novel series Lucifer, and after the success of The Devil You Know, the first of his Felix Castor series, returns with the next installment in Vicious Circle.  Nothing much has changed for Castor.  Life is still really tough on him, he’s not making a lot of money, and taking whatever jobs he can to stay afloat.  Meanwhile his emotional baggage and history continue to weigh on him, as he tries to ignore his past.  But then he mysteriously lands a job that promises to pay well and does at first.  He must track down a girl, well actually the dead body of a girl, well specifically the ghost of a dead girl whose parents have lost contact with her and want her back.  Castor also gets called on to help a succubus who has turned over a new leaf – even if she is still extremely tantalizing – to find out what is going on in a church that left people dead and the surrounding neighborhood terrified.  Finally he helps out the Metropolitan police department with some very strange and satanic homicide cases.

As the story develops, the plot thickens, and it’s no real surprise that everything is linked.  Seeking out the help of a zombie friend to get him some info, something really weird is also going on in London: people keep dying, more so than usual.  Castor finds himself up to his neck, deep in it, and this time, if he doesn’t do it right, he won’t survive.  Neither will his friends, the only people he cares about.

Carey ratchets up the adventure, the mystery, and the excitement with Vicious Circle that will leave readers gasping for breath at Castor’s near misses, as he barely survives to fight another day.  Just in time for the third book in the series, Dead Men’s Boots.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on April 16th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Mike Carey check out BookBanter Episode 16.

“The Devil You Know” by Mike Carey (Grand Central, 2007)

The Devil You KnowStarStarStarStar

Mike Carey, a well-known writer for the successful comic book series Lucifer and Hellblazer, makes his debut in the world of novel writing.  The Devil You Know includes story and character elements from his comic book writing, but also has its own individual feel about it; Felix Castor is a similar character to John Constantine, but this is also Carey style’s and one big reason why people enjoy his work.

Welcome to a somewhat alternate world where it seems to be the present day in cold and gloomy London, except that in this world ghost and zombies exist.  Now I’m not saying they’re walking around like ordinary people, well, actually, in some cases they do just that.  It’s a world where those who know about the reality of some of the dead coming back to life pretend it isn’t going on.  In most cases, the zombies are more dead people who aren’t exactly sure why they’re still alive, but keep themselves well hidden from being recognized for what they are; while ghosts have a reason for not being able to move on to the next life, are trapped where they are, to relive the suffering they experienced at their deaths.

Enter Felix Castor: a ne’er-do-well, down and out, alcoholic, depressed, impoverished exorcist who is currently taking a break from work after his last exorcism leaft a close friend doomed with a demon trapped inside him.  And yet he needs money to pay for things like food and a place to stay, so when an opportunity is offered to him, he takes it and finds himself investigating a ghost sighting at the prestigious Bonnington Archive, where the incorporeal spirit has recently physically attacked one of the archivists.

The Devil You Know takes a few pages to get up and running, but as Castor puts more and more pieces together, the mystery expands and becomes more complex, as more characters and details are added, and the conspiracy begins to grow.  Near the end it seems like anyone and everyone could be to blame, and it will be up to Castor — who is everyone’s enemy at the moment — to solve the case and hopefully free the ghost.  The Devil You Know is the first in the series with the recurring character of Felix Castor, much like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and with the second book in the series, Vicious Circle, already out in Britain, with the third, Dead Men’s Boots, due out in September, it’s merely a case of time before they get published on the other side of the pond.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on June 23rd 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Mike Carey check out BookBanter Episode 16.

01/13 On the Bookshelf . . .

Received an interesting collections of books for review over the last couple of days:

Carrion Comfort
I’ve been wanting to read Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons for some time, almost saving it as a weighty book that I much look forward to.  And now with this impressive new paperback edition, I guess it’s finally time I read it.

Secret Circles

While I don’t remember specifically at the time why I wanted to review Jack: Secret Circles by F. Paul Wilson, as it is the second in a trilogy, it still sounds an interesting story.

Lost City of Z

I was interested in this book when it came out in hardcover, but wasn’t able to get a copy at the time, but now I’ve managed to snag the paperback which is due out in a couple of weeks; should be  a fascinating read.


I was recommended this book by my wife who knows the author, and have now received a copy of review.  Sounds interest and may turn into an interview for BookBanter.


After hearing Mike Carey talk so much about his love for The Unwritten, I’m very happy to get a copy of the first collected volume.