Readers can expect major entertainment in two paranormal thrillers that bridge the gap between mystery and horror, starring a couple of detectives who are in way over their heads.
How do you fight evil when the evil is part of you? That’s the dilemma faced by detective Zach Adams in Andrew Klavan’s Werewolf Cop. Zach works for the Extraordinary Crimes Unit, a top-secret federal task force dedicated to stopping a shadowy crime syndicate that has caused chaos throughout Europe. To do so, Zach and his partner will have to take down reclusive kingpin Dominic Abend.
But Abend is no ordinary crime boss: He’s hunting down his old connections in search of an ancient dagger said to have otherworldly powers. When Zach travels to Germany to learn more, he gets a terrifying taste of what those powers involve. Deep in the Black Forest, he’s attacked by an impossibly huge and powerful wolf. He returns home convinced it was all a fever dream—but then the full moon rises.
Coping with a new alter ego is bad enough, but things get even more complicated: A months-ago act of infidelity threatens to destroy Zach’s marriage, and he’s starting to suspect that his trusted partner, Goulart, is taking bribes from bad guys. As Zach closes in on Abend, he struggles to control the appetite of the werewolf inside him—while knowing it may be the only thing that can stop the gangster’s rise to power.
Despite portentous themes of sin and redemption, Werewolf Cop is ultimately a fast-paced page-turner that delivers all the gory thrills its title promises.
Lupine sleuthing may be hard work, but it’s downright glamorous in comparison to the daily grind of Thomas Fool, the beleaguered everyman in Simon Kurt Unsworth’s debut, The Devil’s Detective.
This hardboiled thriller is set in a “frayed and dirty” hell—think less sulfur and lakes of fire, more Soviet-style bureaucracy. Food is scarce, violence is ubiquitous, and the legions of damned don’t even know what they’re being punished for. Humans exist as a permanent underclass, brutalized by the demons who were hell’s first inhabitants.
Fool is leading an especially uninspiring afterlife: He’s is an Information Man, tasked with solving the underworld’s many demon-on-human murders. But with no resources or training, his three-person crew doesn’t stand a chance.
The status quo starts to shift when a series of bodies turns up stripped of their souls. As Fool’s investigation gathers momentum, his self-doubt is replaced by hope that he could actually serve justice. He becomes a rather unlikely folk hero, which naturally places him in serious danger.
Unsworth has created a vivid subterranean world, a place where men merge with plants, skinless demons lay claim to dumped bodies, and a delegation of visiting angels is none too pleased with the accommodations. While its relentlessly dark tone may chill some readers, this is a vivid and wildly inventive look at the banality of evil.