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The Devil's Detective

(Thomas Fool #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,508 ratings  ·  289 reviews
Debut novelist Simon Kurt Unsworth sends the detective novel to Hell. In The Devil's Detective, a sea change is coming to Hell . . . and a man named Thomas Fool is caught in the middle.    

Thomas Fool is an Information Man, an investigator tasked with cataloging and filing reports on the endless stream of violence and brutality that flows through Hell. His job holds no rew
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Doubleday
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,508 ratings  ·  289 reviews

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Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
(I received a free advanced copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for this review.)

Most of us like to act like our jobs are hell. But what if your job actually was in Hell? Then bitching about the broken microwave in the break room would seem kind of silly.

Hell may no longer go in for casting sinners into burning lakes of fire, but it’s still all about the eternal torment. Now human souls are fished out of the sea of Limbo and crammed into human meat suits and live a grubby existence where the

*Available today!*

3.5 stars

All hope abandon, ye who enter here.

I picked up this book with the initial impression that I was in for an urban fantasy piece in which Hell (and angels and demons) would play a role, but that some of the story would inevitably take place in a concrete, corrupted human city. But no. This is full on, 24/7 Hell, all the time Hell, everything Hell. There is no reprieve. And very little hope. The hope is so miniscule you need a very expensive microscope to see it.

So ye
4.5 stars!

Thomas Fool is an Information Man and the setting is Hell with a capital H.

Turns out that an Information Man means Detective, even though not much detecting has ever been tried in Hell. He and two others start out on their journey to discover what is sucking souls dry while the reader hangs on for the ride. That's all I'm going to say about the plot, because it would be a disservice to interfere with the author's fine telling of this dark fantasy story.

The world building here is phenom
Paul Nelson
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
Bark (2 Dumb 2 Read Blurbs)
When I started The Devil’s Detective I knew it might be a bit of a challenge but it called to me. It’s been described as bleak and has also been compared to Barker and though I’ve always adored Barker’s work, I’ve always had to give him my 100% attention because his stuff is rich with description and layer upon layer of dread.

I’m not going to lie. This book made me work. It’s filled with a despair that I just can’t put into words. The author painstakingly recreates Hell as a place you’d never,
The Shayne-Train
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a powerful, thoughtful, sometimes-gory, and all-the-times kick-ass novel.


(Oh, man, I used an animated gif. THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!)

We follow Thomas Fool (great name, right??) as he investigates crimes in Hell. Not like "I have to pay taxes and go to work? This place is HELL!" but like "Here be the souls of the damned, toiling for eternity." There's a slight difference. Sometimes.

He is one of Hell's Information Men (another great name). Usually he just stamps the crime reports with wha
Bob Milne
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bizarre-extreme
Clive Barker once wrote that “Hell is reimagined by each generation,” and, with The Devil's Detective, it is Simon Kurt Unsworth's turn to do the reimagining. His Hell definitely pays homage to the 'classic' vision, but is more about purgatory and hopelessness than actual punishment. It is a bleak and colorless slum, home to human sinners, fallen angels, demon masters, and all kinds of monsters. Far more dystopian ruin than biblical hell-and-brimstone, Hell is quite literally the ugliest, saddes ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
If you don't have a decent amount of happiness in reserve somewhere, it would be hard to read his book. It is one of the most depressing stories I've read so far. It seems much longer than it is. That's why it is so hard to rate it. However, it doesn't go bellow I liked it and for a debut novel that's pretty good.

Hell in Devil's Detective is a place where fire and burning are replaced with something more subtle and that makes it even worse. The doomed can see Heaven in the sky. A demon fishes
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting something like Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim, but what I got what more like the Hellish visions of Clive Barker. Warning for the uninitiated: DO NOT READ WHILE EATING. There are more than a few scenes in which the descriptive power of the author is in direct confrontation with the possibility of keeping anything down. I want to say something about small demons and semen, but I don't want to ruin the surprise. And the poor souls who work in the fields. *shudder* Sometimes I had to ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a truly interesting read - I saw several references to it and a lot of praise given to it and I saw it going cheap (excellent copy second hand) so why not, and I must admit I wasn't disappointed.

The book basically is a detective novel set in Hell - and this is not the stylised version you see in some books where supernatural and the incredible walk side by side and its the "mundane" that is the odd one out- no this is where harsh realities and petty injustices carry on day and night sl
Liz Barnsley
So, The Devil’s Detective then – a brilliantly imaginative, darkly violent yet very compelling tale, taking us on a round trip to Hell and back…

Honestly even though this was Hell quite literally, it was so entertaining you ALMOST want to live there…only almost mind. We meet Thomas Fool, he is an information man. When you land in Hell you have no memory of what you have done to deserve being there – you are allocated a role in “life” and that is it. The conditions are truly terrible, there is dam
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard of this book, I found the idea of a detective in Hell irresistible and had to give this a try. Thomas Fool is an Information Man in Hell, who spends most of his day stamping crime reports, “Did Not Investigate.” However, when he is asked to actually investigate a murder, he finds that he actually enjoys doing his job and that does not do at all. In Hell it is best not to be noticed, but Fool finds that he is destined to be noticed by far too many and that means danger.

In this
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Was Dante the first author to take his readers on a fictional trip to the underworld? I'm actually not sure, but since then many have followed the suit and served up their own takes on the destination. Unsworth chose quite a famous setting for his debut novel, much to live up to, much to compare with...and has done a genuinely admirable job of it. His vision is bleak, horrific, visceral, frighteningly realistic and stark. Absolutely wild imagination and creativity and so strikingly vivid. He has ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Noir in hell. This is not your grandmothers hell either. This is unrelenting pain, suffering and sadness. We get a 360 degree view of hell. How the souls from limbo enter the suffering bodies, the constant fear of demons and the relentless death.

Mr. Unsworth has crafted a unique vision with this volume.

Surely not for those easily offended.
Frank Errington
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review copy

Angels, demons, humans, Hell and a series of murders. Regardless of whether you believe in a literal Hell or not, The Devil's Detective will give your imagination a strenuous work-out. Simon Kurt Unsworth's debut novel introduces us to Thomas Fool, an Information Man, a detective of sorts who is tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding a series of unusual deaths.

Fool is one of three investigators with specific rights laid out in The Information Man's Guide to the Rules
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really 3.5 stars.
Murders are occurring in Hell, what a surprise. However what is shocking is this particular set of murders where the souls are being devoured is being investigated by information man Thomas Fool.

Not a fun, happy novel, but then again I guess only the reader is to blame if they expect a novel set in hell to be sunshine and lollipops.
Unsworth does an admirable job world building and setting the reader in hell with Fool and given the location there is no shortage of suspects in the
Chris Berko
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Five stars for the setting and the author's descriptive ability, two stars for the story because I guessed the ending within the first twenty pages. There were some really cool scenes throughout and definitely a lot of originality but it never really came together for me and it seemed like a bunch of short stories rather than a cohesive whole. I really liked the main character and for that I'll probably buy book two but not right away. One big gripe is that it seemed like the author overused the ...more
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-detective
Set in a version of hell, where hopelessness is the operative word, this detective story focuses on the efforts of an "Information Man" named Thomas Fool to hunt down a killer wreaking havoc on humans while angering demons as he kills off several in his investigation. Fool is also tasked with escorting a delegation from Heaven for negotiations to determine which residents will be elevated or lowered. The investigation lacks a clear sense of direction or focus, with Fool blundering into leads. Go ...more
K.J. Charles
Wow, that was bleak. A detective novel set in Hell: I sort of anticipated Johannes Cabal type comedy or maybe Sandman Slim all guns blazing, but this was more existential utter misery, with crime solving. Which is fair enough but not exactly fun.

Hell here is full of pain (trigger warnings to *infinity* for body horror, rape, sexual slavery and everything that is awful) but the real refinement is that the inmates don't abandon hope. They are given just enough hope and respite to make it *even god
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
Šī ir no tām retajām grāmatām, kuru nopirku tās nosaukuma dēļ vien. Iegāju savā mīļākajā grāmatnīcā un skatos – vēl neredzēta grāmata ar smuku nosaukumu. Nopirku. Vispār vākam jau ar ne vainas. Parasti, ja runa ir par Elli, tad neiztiek arī bez Asmodeja. Grāmatai pat uz lasīšanu nebija ilgi jāgaida – vien pāris mēneši. Līdz brīdim, kad mani sāka mocīt sirdsapziņa, ka es pērku grāmatas, kuras pēc tam nemaz nelasu.

Esiet sveicināti Ellē. Vietā, kur dēmoni bez ādas patrulē ezeru krastmalas, kur Limb
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Thomas Fool is one of hell's information men. He and two colleagues are sent to investigate crime committed in hell, whilst most of it is ignored a recent spate of murders has got the attention of hell's elite who are keen for Thomas to solve it at any cost.

Who is killing these young men and feasting on their souls, something powerful and old and not something that Thomas was expecting to find in hell
Therin Knite
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
(view spoiler) ...more
Leah Polcar
This review refers to the audiobook version.

Solid 4.5

Everyone and their brother has already said all the things I would say about this novel. See Kemper's (once again) excellent review if you need detailed information: Kemper's Review . However, if you are not so inclined to fully peruse others' thoughts, and wish to hear what I think, then I will sum-up:

1) The world-building here is extraordinary;
2) The concept is brilliant;
3) The characters are well-developed and the plot keeps one engaged
Ginger Nuts
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They say, "he who sups with the Devil should eat with a long spoon." If that is the case then I suspect that Simon Kurt Unsworth not only has a long spoon, but one that is also cast from solid silver. His debut novel The Devils Detective is one of those books, that if you believed in such things, was penned by a writer who had made a deal with the devil.
Thomas Fool is an Information man, one of Hell's special brand of Detectives a man who, up until he is given the call to investigate a brutal de
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

First thing first: if you're looking for nice things, Happy Ever Afters and something else than bleak prospects, this is not the book for you. But the fact it's set in Hell, only in Hell and nowhere else, makes this fact kind of obvious anyway.

Thomas Fool is one of Hell's few "Information Men", meant to investigate crimes yet knowing that whatever the outcome, it won't matter. Whether murderers get punished or not doesn't ma
Arun Divakar
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole concept of afterlife is one that has enabled most of the major religions of the world to hold people in their thrall. The dichotomy of sin and virtue has proven to be a much more effective manipulative mechanism than war, torture or bribery. Repeatedly tell a large group of people that you will be boiled, tortured and roasted in the netherworld and they start dreaming up a place so horrid that they keep a wide berth from everything that is named as sin in their belief systems. This beg ...more
The Bookend Family
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some time ago I was in the library when I saw a cliché of an old blue-haired lady browsing the Agatha Christie section. She went to the librarian, book in hand, and asked for something similar. The librarian suggested Gone Girl. Now Gone Girl is a great book, but for a fan of Agatha Christie, it is probably a bit too much to handle.

That story came back to me as I was reading The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth. It’s a compelling, powerful novel, but reader beware, because it’s very stro
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, own
As a fan of both horror and thrillers, I really wanted to like Simon Kurt Unsworth's The Devil's Detective, but I didn't. It's not that the writing was bad; The Devil's Detective is better written than many other thrillers and horror novels I have read and enjoyed. It's not that the story was boring or poorly plotted; despite one significant plot hole (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
abandon all hope but try to stay calm

Thomas Fool is an Information Man of Hell, who catalogs all committed crimes, but rarely has the opportunity to investigate them. Even when he does and solves the crime, the perpetrator is never punished because, of course, it is a demon. But, one day he is tasked to solve a brutal murder of young man whose soul was devoured. As the murders continue, previously apathetic man starts to change and hope, that forbidden fruit of Hell, starts to wake in his heart. And the Hell changes with him. What
Riju Ganguly
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, SKU creates his own version of hell, and takes us on a vicious and twisted tour of that place in the guise of a game of cat & mouse, step-by-step. Thomas Fool, the protagonist, is a member of the Information Men of Hell, i.e. he is supposed to solve crimes and identify the perpetrators. In Hell, that doesn't really happen, until something happens that changes the helpless and hapless Fool into a dogged Knight, walking the mean streets. But, nothing is what it seems. And the Hel ...more
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TwitBookClub: March 2016 - 'The Devil's Detective' by Simon Kurt Unsworth 1 4 Jan 21, 2016 04:18AM  
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“Because this is Hell, Thomas—have you understood nothing? We all do what it requires of us, no matter how pointless or trivial those things appear to be. We are, all of us, at the whim of forces and desires and urgencies far greater, far wider, than we can ever hope to recognize or understand. Hell knows what you will find in there, but it will not pass on that knowledge, because you need to find it for yourselves.” 2 likes
“Hell is not a place of no hope, Thomas, but a place where tiny amounts of hope are allowed to flourish.” 0 likes
More quotes…