Simon Kurt Unsworth’s debut novel
The Devil’s Detective

May 6th, 2015

SKU at WFCI first met Simon Kurt Unsworth in 2008, at the World Fantasy Convention, held that year in Calgary.

While there, we did a reading together, during which Simon shared an excerpt of his story “Old Man’s Pantry” (from the Ash-Tree Press anthology Shades of Darkness, edited by Barbara and Christopher Roden). Spare, gripping, and imbued with a powerful sense of dread, the story convinced me that Simon was a writer to watch. I have been a fan ever since.

I should also mention that 2008 was the same year that Simon’s first story, “The Church on the Island” (from the Ash-Tree Press anthology At Ease with the Dead) was in the running for the World Fantasy Award. An impressive debut indeed.

The Devil's Detective_Simon and I met up again in 2010, when we each had story collections launching at the World Horror Convention in England. Simon’s collection, Lost Places, further convinced me that he was on his way to establishing himself as an important new voice in fantasy and horror. Stephen Volk, the BAFTA Award-Winning author of Ghostwatch and The Awakening, said it well when he called Lost Places “vivid and creepily effective.” He went on to write: “With the rustling pungence of M. R. James and the claustrophobic interiority of Ramsey Campbell, Simon Kurt Unsworth gear-shifts from innocuous to disturbing deftly enough to give the most hardened of us nightmares.”

Three years later, by the time I caught up with Simon a third time at WFC in Brighton,  he had already written and sold his first novel, an ambitious book that finally debuted earlier this year as The Devil’s Detective.

While in Brighton, I had the chance to record a conversation with Simon as we chatted about his first novel, writing and general, and his prospects for the future. A few days ago, after I finished reading The Devil’s Detective, I assembled some highlights from that recording into a brief interview and review. You can listen to the results by clicking the player below.

Check it out, and when you’re finished I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Simon’s novel. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a powerful and harrowing read.

Image Credits: Simon Kurt Unsworth at the 2013 Word Fantasy Convention in Brighton ©  The 21st-Century Scop.  /  US edition of The Devil’s Detective, jacket design by Michael J. Windsor.  / Author photo © Irena Vettese.

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