The Devil's Evidence

The Devil's Evidence

by Simon Kurt Unsworth

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Overview

"Do you love Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series? How about the Rivers of London series by Ben Abronovith? Like a bit of John Le Carre intrigue? If so, you will LOVE The Devil's Evidence." — Starburst Magazine

“With the character of Fool, Simon Kurt Unsworth has crafted a hero among the damned.” —HUGH HOWEY, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WOOL



Thomas Fool—the resilient investigator doomed to catalog Hell’s atrocities in Simon Kurt Unsworth’s stunning debut, The Devil’s Detective—is back. The man with no memory of who he was or what led to his damnation is now in command of the Information Office of Hell. This power has only inspired new, deadly enemies like Mr. Tap, the cunning leader of a shadowy organization known as the Evidence. Fool alone has survived the wrath of both demon and angel, and now he faces his most thrilling and complex challenge.
     Troubling and deadly fires are spreading throughout Hell, and it is Fool’s job to sift the ashes and find their source. The clues he finds are mysterious and unsettling, implying something different from the usual litany of cruelty he sees. But one fact is the most disconcerting: the fires have left his masters at the Bureaucracy terrified.
     In the midst of the chaos, Fool is sent to accompany a political delegation to Heaven. It is unprecedented for a condemned human to enter the land of the elevated, but Fool is protected as one of Hell’s own. When his arrival coincides with the discovery of an impossible murder, he faces a catastrophic paradox. Violence, corruption, and fear are Hell’s currency; how does one investigate evil where those concepts cannot exist? Impossible or not, the killings are real, and the evidence leads Fool deep into the contradictions of a visionary landscape, where danger can present itself in any form, and to the heart of a conspiracy with the power to upset the balance of Heaven and Hell.
     The Devil’s Evidence is an exotic crime thriller as exhilarating as anything in recent fiction. It is a provocative novel of horror, filled with sharp twists and propulsive action that will keep you riveted through the final page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385539364
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

SIMON KURT UNSWORTH was born in the UK in Manchester and now lives in a rambling house in Cumbria with his children and the writer Rosie Seymour. He is the author of The Devil’s Detective and many short stories, including the collection Quiet Houses.

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

It was a building, and it had burned.

“How many does this make it?”

Fool ignored the question, lifting his hands to his face and rubbing, and the skin of his palms smelled of soot and scorched flesh.

“I don’t know,” he said eventually, dropping his hands from the exhaustion that his head had become. How many fires have there been in the previous days and weeks? he wondered, and then stopped wondering and tried to remember. I should know, he thought, I’m an Information Man. I should act like one and not like the Fool I was. So, how many? Certainly five, when he sifted through his mind he found that many, but possibly more. Almost certainly more. He was tired, the images in his head jumbling, blurring together, at least five but more, definitely more. Six, maybe seven, or even eight. Buildings, burned and damaged.

“It’s eight,” said Marianne at his side, and Fool turned to her, focusing, pulling himself back to now, looking at her with his officer’s eyes. She was young, only several months old despite her adulthood, freshly harvested from Limbo and made into one of the new Information Men, and she was already beginning to understand her role. She was already good.

“Eight, yes,” he said, “this is the eighth. And the links between them?”“Fire,” Marianne replied immediately, “obviously. Fires that have been set, that haven’t happened accidentally.”

“And?” It was unfair, really. Fool didn’t have any great insight; even after the previous seven investigations, he was simply hoping that her eyes might have seen the ground differently than his own. She was smart and sharp, and only rarely did she act around him as the other human Information Men did, with that irritating deference. Now, however, she looked at him without speaking, unable to answer, shoulders hunching slightly into a shrug. Sighing, he turned away from her and looked at the burned thing at his front and thought back, over the whole fucking smoking mess of the investigation. Eight fires, eight things burned to soot and spindle and ragged chaos, and what did he know?

Mr. Tap crouched in the corner and watched, impassive.

Fool’s officers, his troops as the Bureaucracy now insisted on calling them, were distracting him, pushing and poking and talking. Each time he tried to focus on the details the sound of them shifted his attention, or one of them would amble into his eye line and he would lose the threads that were starting to form behind his eyes. They weren’t helping, weren’t finding clues, assuming there were any to find; they were simply creating more chaos, more disorder, blurring the narrative the building was trying to tell him. “Out,” he said finally, waving his hand at the door.“Sir?” asked one of the demons, its black uniform hanging awkwardly over a body that appeared to be formed solely of twists and kinks. Fool could hear the disgust in its voice. This little demon, part of a lineage of the infliction of pain and suffering, was taking orders from a human, and it hated it; hated it. Never mind, it would learn, or it would be taken away. That was how things were now.

“Out,” said Fool again, this time more loudly, jabbing his finger at the doorway. “All of you. Wait outside.”

Fool watched as his Men left, their feet and claws leaving puffs of ash behind them, weapons and bags clanking, until they were finally gone and an almost-silence seeped back in around him. Only Mr. Tap remained, still in the corner, still crouched and watching. Its skin seemed slick in the hazy light, its mouth open and tasting the air. Fool, as instructed, tried to ignore it and turned back into the dead structure and tried to read its corpse.

The problem now was the same as that first time, when he had been sent to an outbuilding burned away to shadow and grime. He saw it, it was there around him and in front of him, but the fires made things jumbled and he didn’t know how to investigate them; he’d never had to before. There was little or no information here, nothing to link the burned places besides the fires themselves. Fool understood, to some degree anyway, how to investigate the deaths of humans and even the deaths of demonkind, but the burning of buildings? He didn’t know where to start.

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The Devil's Evidence 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
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JBronder More than 1 year ago
Thomas Fool, Hell’s first investigating detective has been given the name Information Man. Recently it seems that there is someone that likes to set fire to buildings and murdering the inhabitants. Too bad The Evidence department now supersedes Thomas. But his skills are needed elsewhere, Heaven. It seems someone is killing “saved” humans and Heaven is not equipped to take care of this. It is clear that the angels don’t want Thomas there and the demons and Evidence are trying to get him back into Hell. But Thomas is going to find the killer no matter who is trying to stop him or stand in his way. Thomas is very determined to solve this case no matter how messed up Heaven is. I really enjoyed this book. I love Unsworth’s take on both Heaven and Hell. I mean we all know Hell would be messed up and mysterious fires, that didn’t surprise me. But Heaven, that place is messed up. It is not the wonderful paradise that we have been told. Unsworth is very descriptive with his writing, I could easily picture the utopia that Heaven appears to be and I could easily see the Hell that he is stuck in. I have not read The Devil’s Detective yet so there were a few things I was a little confused about. But I am not a fan of Unsworth and cannot wait to get to book one and the third book when it is released. I received The Devil’s Evidence from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.