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The Devil's Detective - Review.

The Devil's Detective: A Novel - Simon Kurt Unsworth

Publication Date: Available Now from Randomhouse UK Ebury Publishing

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no reward or satisfaction, because Hell has rules but no justice. Each new crime is stamped “Do Not Investigate” and dutifully filed away in the depths of the Bureaucracy. But when an important political delegation arrives and a human is found murdered in a horrific manner—extravagant even by Hell’s standards—everything changes.

 

So, The Devil’s Detective then – a brilliantly imaginative, darkly violent yet very compelling tale, taking us on a round trip to Hell and back…

 

Honestly even though this was Hell quite literally, it was so entertaining you ALMOST want to live there…only almost mind. We meet Thomas Fool, he is an information man. When you land in Hell you have no memory of what you have done to deserve being there – you are allocated a role in “life” and that is it. The conditions are truly terrible, there is damnation around every corner and the only hope of escape is to be elevated by the Angels, a random happening that has no rhyme nor reason.

 

Thomas investigates crime. Sort of. Mostly he stamps things and sends them back but suddenly a murder occurs that must seemingly be actually solved. Thus starts a real awakening for Thomas and a truly rip roaring and often scary adventure for us.

 

First of all I have to give a nod to the terrific world building here – the Heaven/Hell dynamic is beautifully drawn, a political landscape with its own hierarchy, even if it makes no sense to anyone in it. Descriptively speaking you will definitely feel the heat – there is a devilishly twisted landscape to be found with surprises everywhere, magnificently twisted creatures inhabiting every corner and an ever ebbing and flowing landscape brought to vivid horrific life.

 

Then there are some really really great characters. I adored Fool, the way he talked himself in and out of things without really understanding why, falling from one moment to another, developing friendships (almost unheard of) questioning the law (not always a good idea) but ending up absolutely determined to do his job. For a tale such as this there is a lot of emotion to be had there (I was gutted at some of the things that happened and mad as, well, hell, about others) the character arcs are utterly gripping and very original.

 

It is a heady mix of crime, horror and fantasy – not easy to pull off but done elegantly here – I wouldnt really like to put a label on it at all. We have an enigmatically drawn mystery, a true horror movie feel alongside an almost urban fantasy. Hell may be Hell but there is a lot of worldly comparisons to be made, the demons aside (or maybe not who knows what lurks in our shadows?) and as such the whole thing is grounded and eminently readable.

 

I loved it. The only thing now is, will there be more? I want more. For a start I havent been to Heaven yet…

 

Highly Recommended

 

Happy Reading Folks!