A stunning new thriller from the critically acclaimed author of The Devil's Detective. Thomas Fool, now the head of Hell's Information Men, must solve a new mystery that crosses the divide between Heaven and Hell.
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This is the second book in the Thomas Fool series. I loved it! I was originally recommended the first book from Audible due to my browsing/reading history. When I heard this audiobook was available to pre-order, I quickly bought my copy without even reading the synopsis and began listening to it as soon as I could. I was not disappointed. I found myself gripped by the storyline.
This audiobook is narrated by David Rintoul. I love his narration. He brought the story and characters to life with his clear and precise reading. His pacing was excellent and I was amazed at how he could vocalise the various characters without losing his voice. He gave some of the characters incredibly gravelly voices that came across as menacing, which made me shiver, as well as lighter tones for the female characters. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.
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. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like his character grew as much as it did in the first book.
In this story an arsonist is setting fires in Hell. Thomas and his fellow Information Men are sent to investigate and quickly find themselves facing a mysterious adversary. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with the Evidence, a new group of demon-lead investigators that shadow the human Information Men. Sent on a mission into Heaven, Thomas realises that all is not well in paradise. As danger threatens and both Heaven and Hell prepare to go to war, Thomas will have to dig deep for answers.
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, though I knew it was going to be a huge roller coaster ride. 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. Heaven is more peaceful, though no less dangerous. 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.
I must admit that I was a little disappointed by the world building of Heaven. I can understand why the author would make it this way, but still, I am not sure I would want to go there if all I'm going to do is sleep and dream for the rest of my afterlife. However, as I said, I can understand why the author did this: Thomas would see it as a boring and uninteresting place to want to stay. Having said that, the mystery surrounding the fires in Hell and the disappearances in Heaven kept me hooked. The author also introduced some new characters, such as Mr. Tapp, the leader of the Evidence, and the angels Benjamin and Gadriel, who bring their own prejudices/dislike of Hell's denizens and denial that there is anything wrong in Heaven. Then there is Mayall (sorry, not sure of spelling due to being an audiobook so have nothing to compare with), who is the Angel of Chaos and requested Thomas's help. There is also a new Information Man called Marianne, who has only recently been born into Hell. She brings a touch of romance into the storyline. There are also a few characters from the first book who make a return appearance, like Rachshasas (again, I have no idea of spelling so am doing it phonetically), and a couple of characters who make a surprise return.
The story has several twists and turns that kept me guessing right until the end. 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. I must admit that the ending left me feeling rather sorry for Thomas. I will not say why because of spoilers, so I will leave it to you to find out for yourselves. I hope that the author is working on the next book (if there is one), because I am eagerly looking forward to listening to/reading it as soon as possible.
Simon Kurt Unsworth has written a fantastic sequel to his 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