The Devil's Detective by Simon Kurt

The Devil's Detective by Simon Kurt (Thomas Fool #1)
Debut novelist Simon Kurt Unsworth sends the detective novel to Hell. In The Devil's Detective, a sea change is coming to Hell . . . and a man named Thomas Fool is caught in the middle.

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. The murders escalate, and their severity points to the kind of killer not seen for many generations. Something is challenging the rules and order of Hell, so the Bureaucracy sends Fool to identify and track down the killer. . . . But how do you investigate murder in a place where death is common currency? Or when your main suspect pool is a legion of demons? With no memory of his past and only an irresistible need for justice, Fool will piece together clues and follow a trail that leads directly into the heart of a dark and chaotic conspiracy. A revolution is brewing in Hell . . . and nothing is what it seems.

The Devil's Detective is an audacious, highly suspenseful thriller set against a nightmarish and wildly vivid world. Simon Kurt Unsworth has created a phantasmagoric thrill ride filled with stunning set pieces and characters that spring from our deepest nightmares. It will have readers of both thrillers and horror hanging on by their fingernails until the final word. In Hell, hope is your worst enemy.
3 out of 5, here's why: 
When I started The Devil’s Detective I knew it might be a bit of a challenge but it called to me. It’s been described as bleak and has also been compared to Clive Barker and, though I’ve always adored Barker’s work, I’ve always had to give him my 100% attention because his stuff is rich with description and layer upon layer of dread.

I’m not going to lie. This book made me work. It’s filled with a despair that I just can’t put into words. The author painstakingly recreates Hell as a place you’d never, ever want to visit but not because there is some evil entity setting your ass on fire. No, in this version of Hell you don’t even know why you’re here so there’s not even a sense of “I was an asshole. I deserve this.” You arrive with no memory, are given a job and then you’re not allowed to do it properly. Talk about an exercise in frustration! Your existence is one of despair, tedium and malaise. And that’s all there is.

The story follows an “Information Man” called Fool who is dispatched to investigate the dead bodies that turn up in Hell (it is Hell and overrun with demons, after all). Fool catalogues endless crimes and murders but no one follows up on any of it until one day he runs across a body whose soul appears to have been eaten. Deliciousness! But that’s weird, even in Hell, so The Powers that Be get their ears all perked up and Fool is given a mission as well as a forbidden smidge of hope that maybe, perhaps, this one case will be one he’ll actually get to solve.

The best part about this book is the imagery. The characters, if I’m being honest, are rather uninteresting. There’s a female or two and they’re pretty useless creatures, whining and wailing and lamenting and carrying on and crap. Meh, go away. I have no patience for you. A livelier Fool would’ve made this one go down easier because he’s too bland for my taste. The descriptions are 100% what kept me reading but at a bit of a snails pace. I never felt an undying urge to keep going to see if he solved the mystery but keep going I did. I don’t regret it though because as I said the imagery and savagery is worth the time.

“He raised his head, feeling something that had to be blood roll down the side of his face. He lifted a hand to it, finding a short tear just below his hairline, another wound that would scar to a keloid ridge and add to the story of his time here, a story written across his skin in the language of Hell.”

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  1. Well, it does sound different and at least you enjoyed it somewhat. :) Great review.

  2. Thanks Stormi, many of my horror reading friends loved it so it may just be the book didn't mesh with my peculiar tastes.


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