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I was recommended this book from Audible due to my browsing/reading history. I read the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did because I loved it!
I downloaded this as an audiobook after listening to the audio sample. I loved the narrator, David Rintoul. He brought the story and characters to life with his clear and precise reading.
Thomas Fool is a wonderful character. He is an "Information Man", a policeman to you and me, who investigates things when the denizens of Hell cause chaos or misbehave. I really liked this person. I don't know what he did in his previous life to end up in Hell, but I got the impression that he was a good man. Perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a denizen is found murdered in a very brutal way, Thomas and his fellow Information Men are sent to investigate and quickly find themselves facing a dangerous adversary.
Though I am not a huge lover of horror, I love detective stories. I started to listen to the story with no idea of what to expect. What I got was an unexpected journey through the eyes of the main protagonist, Thomas Fool. Hell is not a pleasant place to be in this book, and the demons are not exactly puppy dogs either. I love the descriptive quality of the horror in this book, though it can be pretty graphic and a little shocking. Some readers may find it too gruesome. Then again, my imagination can be a little too quick to paint vivid pictures and some may find that it may not be graphic enough for them. As only a moderate reader of horror, this story definitely shocked me (in a good way). I was quickly hooked and sat entranced as the story unfolded. It was a pleasure to see Thomas Fool's character grow throughout the story. He has to make some hard decisions in the course of his investigation. I wasn't so keen on his superior, Elderflower, though I only met him a few times. He reminds me too much of a government official, which I suppose he was to some degree. The Angels' Adam and Balthazar are interesting characters in their own way too.
The story has several twists and turns that kept me guessing for quite some time. I am a huge fan of detective novels, and this story has several red herrings and distractions cleverly placed so that when the culprit is revealed, the reader is surprised. There is another surprise near the end that I never saw coming but, after thinking about it, it made perfect sense. I felt sad when I reached the end of the book because Fool has become a friend and I will miss him. I wonder if he will be investigating anymore incidents in Hell in the future? I sure hope so.
Simon Kurt Unsworth has written a fantastic debut novel. I love his writing style, which starts slow but quickly picks up speed. I also love the flow of the story, the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found a fan in me and I would definitely consider reading more books written by him in the future.
Due to the use of graphic horror and gore, as well as the use of foul language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers and to those who have a nervous disposition. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love horror, suspense and detective stories. - Lynn Worton
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Where does The Devil's Detective rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
It's the first I've completed, but it's been a great start to audiobook listening.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Devil's Detective?
Scenes with The Man of Plants and Flowers.
What does David Rintoul bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Great dramatic delivery.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It filled me with dread and morbid fascination - like any good horror/thriller should.
Any additional comments?
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Do I hate this book? Do I love it? Fool. Indecisive fool.
I am unsure. I think I love it but love dies. So maybe I would stick to hating to love it. Fool. Tom Fool, poor, small like able fool.
As far as world-building goes, this book is above par so much that the par is lost from sight. Fool, poor confused fool.
As far as character growth goes! Amazing. Epic is the word that comes to mind but poor Fool, Hell's fool.
Right. I loved this. Listened to it on audible and listened to certain passages again, and again and again. Poor stupid Fool.
To whom would I recommend this? Nobody. Everybody but take note. You will love or hate this book. A golden middle is not the path Fool takes.