Welcome to hell...where skinless demons patrol the lakes, and the waves of limbo wash against the outer walls while the souls of the damned float on their surface, waiting to be collected.
When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool, one of hell's detectives, known as Information Men. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace, and everyone is guilty of something?
A stunningly original blend of crime, horror, and suspense, The Devil’s Detective is a bold new thriller that will shock and amaze.
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A Fantastic Horror!
- Lynn Worton
A masterpiece that rewards patience
It's the first I've completed, but it's been a great start to audiobook listening.
Scenes with The Man of Plants and Flowers.
Great dramatic delivery.
It filled me with dread and morbid fascination - like any good horror/thriller should.
For me, this wasn't an easy book to pick up momentum with. Perhaps it was because Unsworth's vision of hell is far removed from the conventional judaeo-christian expectation. Apart from the demons, the whole landscape and parameters are alien and devoid of the usual reference points. But such is the genius of the story. This is a hell where people can still die, where suffering occurs, not by the standard 'fire and brimstone', but by a myriad of tortures designed to allow the damned a glimpse of hope, only to have it dashed utterly. Into this landscape enters the protagonist, Thomas Fool; an information man employed by 'The bureaucracy' (if ever there was a hellish concept then this is the nadir.) His job? To investigate a series of grisly murders so savage that the perpetrator rips the very soul from hapless victims. The strength of Unsworth's writing is in the descriptions of hell and its inhabitants. Scenes from the Orphanage and Crow Heights will inhabit my nightmares for many years to come. Such visions are the literary equivalent of painters such as Wayne Barlowe and Zidislaw Beksinski. What seem to be unrelated scenes at first build toward a story climax that is terrifying and cataclysmic.
And so to the narration. David Rintoul has an impressive acting and narrating pedigree, and is the perfect vehicle for Unsworth's depictions and characters. The drama in his delivery lifts this story to even greater heights and I loved his interpretation of characters such as Elderflower, Rakshassas, the demon and The Man of Plants and Flowers - I know, you see how imaginative Unsworth is? As an audio narrator myself, I've marvelled at Rintoul's expression and learned a thing or two as well. With a sequel on its way I'm hoping that author and narrator will be reunited for the audio version.