Book Reviews

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

by Simon Kurt Unsworth
Published by Doubleday on 7.5.16
Genres: Crime, Dark Fantasy, Dark Fiction, Extreme Horror, Fiction, Horror, Mystery & Detective, Occult & Supernatural, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
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Thomas Fool—the resilient investigator doomed to catalog Hell’s atrocities in Simon Kurt Unsworth’s stunning debut, The Devil’s Detective—is back. The man with no memory of who he was or what led to his damnation is now in command of the Information Office of Hell. This power has only inspired new, deadly enemies like Mr. Tap, the cunning leader of a shadowy organization known as the Evidence. Fool alone has survived the wrath of both demon and angel, and now he faces his most thrilling and complex challenge.
Troubling and deadly fires are spreading throughout Hell, and it is Fool’s job to sift the ashes and find their source. The clues he finds are mysterious and unsettling, implying something different from the usual litany of cruelty he sees. But one fact is the most disconcerting: the fires have left his masters at the Bureaucracy terrified.
In the midst of the chaos, Fool is sent to accompany a political delegation to Heaven. It is unprecedented for a condemned human to enter the land of the elevated, but Fool is protected as one of Hell’s own. When his arrival coincides with the discovery of an impossible murder, he faces a catastrophic paradox. Violence, corruption, and fear are Hell’s currency; how does one investigate evil where those concepts cannot exist? Impossible or not, the killings are real, and the evidence leads Fool deep into the contradictions of a visionary landscape, where danger can present itself in any form, and to the heart of a conspiracy with the power to upset the balance of Heaven and Hell.
The Devil’s Evidence is an exotic crime thriller as exhilarating as anything in recent fiction. It is a provocative novel of horror, filled with sharp twists and propulsive action that will keep you riveted through the final page.

Whether it be in the eternal fires of hell or in the eternal joys of Heaven, Thomas Fool, Information Man, conducts his investigation and nothing, be it angel or demon better get in his way.

I loved the creativity of this book! Building upon the hell he established so well in The Devil’s Detective, (click to see my review), this time Simon Kurt Unsworth turns his imagination to building a heaven. Turns out, his heaven is just as warped as his hell; maybe even more so. There are angels, the Malakim, (the messengers of heaven) and the Estedea, (“Pray their sadness never reaches you.”) Lastly, there’s Mayall, (not of the Bluesbreakers variety), heaven’s own version of a clown. Or is he more than that?

While conducting his investigation of several mysterious fires in hell, (I know, mysterious fires in hell?  It sounds crazy, but I’m telling you, it works), Thomas is called for and sent to heaven to investigate….something. The angels don’t want him there, the demons and the Evidence back in hell don’t want him there, but someone does. Why? You’ll have to read this to find out.

I believe that it would be difficult to pick up this book and understand everything that’s going on without having read The Devil’s Detective first. There are terms and people, (the Man of Plants and Flowers, for instance), that are introduced in the first book and without any knowledge of them, I think much of the impact of this story would be diluted.

I enjoy the way Unsworth writes. For instance, as Thomas leaves Heaven to return to hell:

“His last view of Heaven was of a motionless rank of beautiful, somber angels surrounded by falling snow and, behind them, the chapel of all faiths standing alone and mute in the storm light.” 

I love that quote because I can picture it perfectly in my mind.

I did have an issue with the self-deprecating Thomas Fool beating up on himself every 5 minutes. (Stupid little Fool! Know nothing Fool!)  It became irritating but after about halfway, it occurred less often.

With fascinating world building, highly imaginative and creative ideas, it’s difficult for me to find any other faults with this book. I’ve never read anything like these Fool books before. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will meet Thomas Fool once again.

If you liked the first book I HIGHLY recommend you pick up The Devil’s Evidence.

*Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my 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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