Welcome to hell...
.... where skinless demons patrol the lakes and the waves of Limbo wash against the outer walls, while the souls of the Damned float on their surface, waiting to be collected.
When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool, one of Hell's detectives, known as 'Information Men’. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace and everyone is guilty of something?
A stunningly original blend of crime, horror and suspense, The Devil’s Detective is a bold new thriller that will shock and amaze.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was recommended this book from Audible due to my browsing/reading history. I read the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did because I loved it!
I downloaded this as an audiobook after listening to the audio sample. I loved the narrator, David Rintoul. He brought the story and characters to life with his clear and precise reading.
Thomas Fool is a wonderful character. He is an "Information Man", a policeman to you and me, who investigates things when the denizens of Hell cause chaos or misbehave. I really liked this person. I don't know what he did in his previous life to end up in Hell, but I got the impression that he was a good man. Perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a denizen is found murdered in a very brutal way, Thomas and his fellow Information Men are sent to investigate and quickly find themselves facing a dangerous adversary.
Though I am not a huge lover of horror, I love detective stories. I started to listen to the story with no idea of what to expect. What I got was an unexpected journey through the eyes of the main protagonist, Thomas Fool. Hell is not a pleasant place to be in this book, and the demons are not exactly puppy dogs either. I love the descriptive quality of the horror in this book, though it can be pretty graphic and a little shocking. Some readers may find it too gruesome. Then again, my imagination can be a little too quick to paint vivid pictures and some may find that it may not be graphic enough for them. As only a moderate reader of horror, this story definitely shocked me (in a good way). I was quickly hooked and sat entranced as the story unfolded. It was a pleasure to see Thomas Fool's character grow throughout the story. He has to make some hard decisions in the course of his investigation. I wasn't so keen on his superior, Elderflower, though I only met him a few times. He reminds me too much of a government official, which I suppose he was to some degree. The Angels' Adam and Balthazar are interesting characters in their own way too.
The story has several twists and turns that kept me guessing for quite some time. I am a huge fan of detective novels, and this story has several red herrings and distractions cleverly placed so that when the culprit is revealed, the reader is surprised. There is another surprise near the end that I never saw coming but, after thinking about it, it made perfect sense. I felt sad when I reached the end of the book because Fool has become a friend and I will miss him. I wonder if he will be investigating anymore incidents in Hell in the future? I sure hope so.
Simon Kurt Unsworth has written a fantastic debut novel. I love his writing style, which starts slow but quickly picks up speed. I also love the flow of the story, the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found a fan in me and I would definitely consider reading more books written by him in the future.
Due to the use of graphic horror and gore, as well as the use of foul language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers and to those who have a nervous disposition. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love horror, suspense and detective stories. - Lynn Worton
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He lives in a rambling old farmhouse in Cumbria with his partner and assorted children and pets where he writes horror stories (for which pursuit he was nominated for a 2008 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story). He is the author of the forthcoming novelThe Devil’s Detective, a dark and savage thriller set in Hell, available from Doubleday in the US and Del Ray in the UK and due out in March 2015.
His latest collection of short stories is the critically acclaimed Quiet Houses (which was long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Collection prize), which follows on from 2010′s Lost Places from Ash Tree Press (which was, along with Angela Slatter’s Sourdough, reviewer Pete Tennant’s (from Black Static magazine) favourite collection of the year). His work has been published in a number of anthologies including the Ash Tree Press’s At Ease with the Dead, Shades of Darkness and Exotic Gothic 3, Dark Horse’s Lovecraft Unbound, PS Publishing’sPostscripts, Edge Publication’s Gaslight Arcanum and Gaslight Grotesque, IDW’s Zombies vs Robots: Diplomacy, Fedogan and Bremer’s Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth and Gray Friar Press’s Terror Tales of the Seaside, Terror Tales of the Cotswolds and Where the Heart Is.
2014 brings his sixth appearance in Stephen Jones’ The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthology series, and he also appeared in 2010′s twenty year celebration of the series, The Very Best of Best New Horror.
His new collection Strange Gateways is available now from PS Publishing and an as-yet-unnamed collection will launch the Spectral Press Spectral Signature Editions imprint in 2014.
You can find him on Twitter or Facebook and Instagram, or in various haunts in Cumbria staring at his MacBook and muttering to himself.