A hybrid between horror fantasy and crime procedural, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s novel had this writer hooked from its first opening, fiery lines.
If you thought the afterlife was a time to set work aside then you’d be wrong.
We once again join Thomas Fool – now head of the Devil’s Information Men (a very literally damned detective unit). This time he has a new mystery to solve – arson in Hell. Fool has been thanked for his hard work in Unsworth’s first novel of the series – The Devil’s Detective – with new enemies. The shady Mr Tap from a new and rather more traditionally demonic department in Hell - the Evidence - has Fool in his crosshairs.
The novel twists and turns as Fool joins a delegation from Hell to Heaven while trying to solve the series of arson attacks plaguing the world below. Oh, and there’s a dead body to deal with. As the pages turn you and Fool discover there are alarming parallels between the celestial and the Satanic. Especially when it comes to red tape!
Fool is fascinating as he discovers more about himself – he doesn’t remember the sins which damned him – as he investigates the universe around him. It’s an unusual soul who strives to do the right thing despite being stuck in the worst place ever.
It’s hard for a series to feel fresh and original, but Unsworth does it well. He manages to use demonology and concepts of Heaven and Hell in an innovative way, combining it with the familiar twists and turns we expect from detective fiction. Well-paced and witty it’s a good read. There’s a few ‘oh my god’ (or should we say Devil?!) moments which give the novel a fast pace. There’s also a heavy helping of political intrigue, backstabbing, and murder. He uses gothic imagery with a modern writing style to conjure up a world you can be transported into with ease.
Unsworth has built a very horrible, yet believable universe with characters who you can hate as well as root for. While you don’t need to read the first novel to enjoy the second in the series, we really do recommend you start at the beginning. There’s a lot to take in and a great deal of character development to enjoy. A real page turner.
THE DEVIL’S EVIDENCE / AUTHOR: SIMON KURT UNSWORTH / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW