Review of The Devil You Know by

Book cover for The Devil You Know

I don’t remember how The Devil You Know ended up on my to-read list, except maybe that a lot of people compare it to The Dresden Files, one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. Yet it’s worth noting that I like The Dresden Files in spite of its noir elements, and I like Harry Dresden in spite of the streak of casual chauvinism that runs through him. The Devil You Know is noir with a patina of paranormal, and Felix Castor is chauvinism on overdrive.

Maybe if I had read this book rather than listened to it I could have toughed it out past the 50% mark, which is where I called it. But my library only had the audiobook version, so needs must. When Felix described the latest femme fatale in the following manner, I nearly vomited:

But it was her smell that was having the strongest effect on me … subtle harmonies of musk and cinnamon and dew-wet summer air overlaid on sweet rose, heavy, seductive lily and undisguised human sweat … the total effect was indescribable, the smell of a woman in heat.

First, the the effect is not “indescribable” when you just literally described it. Second … ew. That’s gross. Like, people smell, sure, and sometimes people augment their smell so they smell differently, I guess, but if someone smells like that then there is a problem and you should run the other way, not have a drink with her.

But then it got worse, because not a minute later, the narrator utters the sentence, “I was disconcerted to find that I had an erection.”

Nope nope nope nope

(I so seldom put GIFs in my reviews, but this really calls for it. And I do love Kate Stark.)


We won’t even get started about the exchange between Felix and a bad guy (?) about how Felix is “an arse man” and how apparently these little details are important things for this dude to know about the people he works with.

Look, the writing here is just crude. And I don’t care if that’s par for the course with this subgenre, nor do I care if you like that kind of thing—I don’t. So I am noping the hell out for more interesting and better pastures. The premise and plot development weren’t particularly compelling anyway. I don’t feel like I’m missing out.


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