If you're a reader who appreciates Simon R. Green's twisted view of the world with it's violence and gore and monsters, you'll enjoy Michael Logan's Hell's Detective. It's definitely not for everyone, with the gritty story of a private detective condemned to Hell for her final act. It's bloody, gritty, and, in the end, redeeming.
As her final act on earth, Kat Murphy shot her lover and then killed herself. Now, she's in Hell, referred to as Lost Angeles, where sinners can enjoy all the vices they enjoyed on earth - gambling, prostitution, gluttony. It's a violent hellhole. And, every night, the residents are visited by their Torment, a creature that reflects back to them their sins on earth. Kat is forced to relive that final scene at the Nimrod Hotel. Every day, she hangs out in her favorite dive bar, Benny's trying to forget. It's there at the bar that Laureen Andrews, Chief Administrator of Lost Angeles, finds her. Laureen has a job and a deal for Kat. Find a box that someone stole from Laureen, and while she's hunting, Kat won't be visited by her Torment.
Because Kat isn't visited by the Torment at night, she's free to explore the city. She witnesses others' Torments, but turns away and doesn't want to see them. And, she uncovers the terrible secret as to what happens to the people who disappear from Lost Angeles. Kat doesn't know who to trust, or who to believe, as she searches for the box that could change the future of the world. The violence and gore escalate as her case grows more dangerous. But, even in the face of all the ugliness in Lost Angeles, there are moments of hope.
As I said, Hell's Detective is definitely not for everyone, or even for most readers. But, there are passages that moved me. Here's a little about Kat, as told in her own words. "I was a book whore, always had been....In Lost Angeles, books were at a premium....I could guess why books - alongside music and art - were one of the few things the Administrators didn't lay on in plentiful supply. They let you leap into someone else's head and escape the reality of your dismal life for a few hours. They made you want to be a better person. They gave you succor, hope, and respite - none of which the damned deserved."
Logan's Hell's Detective is a fast-paced, violent story. It also introduces a character with a unique voice, Kat Murphy. As I said, fans of Simon R. Green should find it delightful.
Michael Logan's website is www.michaelloganbooks.com
Hell's Detective by Michael Logan. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683311713 (hardcover), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.