Book Reviews

{Review} The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth

by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Published by Doubleday on 3.3.15
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Dark Fiction, Extreme Horror, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Supernatural
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
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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.


Thomas Fool is an Information Man and the setting is Hell with a capital H.

Turns out that an Information Man means Detective, even though not much detecting has ever been tried in Hell. He and two others start out on their journey to discover what is sucking souls dry while the reader hangs on for the ride. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, because it would be a disservice to interfere with the author’s fine telling of this dark fantasy story.

The world building here is phenomenal -and the creativity and imagination? Outstanding! The pacing was fast and the mystery intriguing. The one drawback I felt was that the story was relentlessly dark and I had to take a quick break to read a short story here and there, to lighten my mood. For that, (which is a picky complaint, I admit), I deducted one half star.

This tale was impressive, intricate and imaginative. I’m looking forward to a sequel-I so hope there’ll be one.  In the meantime, I think I’ll check out more of Mr. Unsworth’s work. This visually striking imagery put me in mind of Clive Barker’s work, (the Man of Plants and Flowers? I imagine him vividly!) Highly recommended for horror fans, but especially to fans of Barker!

*A free e-ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is it!*


About Simon Kurt Unsworth

Simon Kurt Unsworth was born in Manchester in 1972 and has not yet given up the hope of finding that the world was awash with mysterious signs and portents that night.

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 novel The Devil’s Detective, a dark and savage thriller set in Hell, available from Doubleday in the US and Del Ray in the UK, available now!

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