My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was not really sure what to expect from this book. I won it through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, and the brief blurb in the giveaway listings sounded interesting. This book turned out really good. If you like books by Terry Pratchett, or the murder mysteries by Kevin J. Anderson that feature a zombie detective, you’ll probably love The Devil’s Detective, too. I was a bit wary because of the religious theme, but this is solidly a fantasy novel, one that the Pope and Christian denominational preachers and pastors might really enjoy, but maybe not too publicly. Non-Christian readers who have never been familiar with Christian theology and the Bible might be slightly disadvantaged, not always catching the religious references in the story, but even just read as a self-contained fantasy this story should still be quite entertaining.
Drawing loosely on Dante’s Inferno and a bit of Pilgrim’s Progress, with a health dose of Good Omens, this story is about a detective, or Information Man, whose job it is to investigate murders in Hell for the Bureaucracy. A strange murder just at the start of a delegates’ visit from Heaven starts Thomas Fool investigating, and that murder soon becomes a whole string of them, caused by a mysterious serial killer who doesn’t seem to fit any profile Fool knows. I love the way Hell is depicted, and the fire-and-brimstones fan Balthazar, a visiting angel who is constantly annoyed and impatient at the seemingly nice, pleasant state Hell has become.I hope this is the first in a series, because it certainly seems to lend itself to at least a sequel.