Ever wondered about Hell, what it would be like, the pain, imprisonment, maybe some torture, red hot fire’s and demons. Well Hell sure isn’t empty and all the devils are most definitely in attendance. Now I've read many portrayals of hell over the years and I've got to say, this is one of the best, a place with little hope and no belief, disturbing and it felt real, believable.
Simon Kurt Unsworth's journey into hell is a searing vision, dark and dirty, man living with demon, forever hoping for ascendancy, hard work, rife with prostitution and murder. A true city of sin, almost a free for all, with no thought for consequence.
In fact the only form of repercussion is the Information man, Hells police and there's only three of them to investigate the plethora of violence, murder and irreverence that is commonplace in the anguish of an everlasting depravity.
If you're looking for hope you've come to the wrong place. This is Hell, and sins often go unnoticed and almost always unpunished.
Thomas Fool is an Information man and his life of avoiding hells interest and filing the many 'did not investigate' cases is about to change, he's about to become noticed. He's about to demand the attention of Hell and its denizens.
Hell calls and Fool must answer.
First of all, the Angels from heaven are here, the Bureaucracy of heaven trading with the Bureaucracy of Hell, a chance for redemption, the only slither of hope for the people in this depraved place and everyone dreams of ascendancy.
Then a murder, different from all the others, one they must investigate, the Archdeacons of Hell demand it. A body subjected to a violence that has split the soul and the flesh, the soul is gone, consumed. The search is on, something old and powerful, powerful enough to eat entire souls is on the loose. And the oldest place in hell, the home of the ancient demons bares the intense scrutiny of one man, as all around him riots to the tune of purgatory.
I had a feeling I'd like this and damn was I right, The Devils Detective is a debut novel and I have to say there was a wonderfully dark imagination and vision on show here. The world building for me was the highlight, ferocious and frenzied, violent and brimming with nightmarish demons from the smallest orphans to the scariest monsters wreathed in fire. Humans just existing, playthings for now but the tide will turn, it's time for change.
Got to put a quote in, although this is an advanced proof so it may not be in the final version but I thought it showed something of this place, of Hell.
"This is Hell, Balthazar, a place of savageries so vast and shifting that you cannot even conceive of their beginnings or endings, and only some of those are of the flesh. Souls burn here, little angel, but the flames are rarely seen".
Now I can only hope that more comes from this Hell, it feels like there could be other stories for this world to tell and it deserves to be revisited.
The Devils Detective was provided for review by Netgalley and Doubleday books and my thanks to both.