The Devil’s in the Detail: A Haiku Review…

Top o’ the afternoon to all you lovely readers! It’s Mad Martha with you today sharing a haiku review of a tome full of the unexpected red tape and beauracracy that accompanies some unfortunates from this life into the next.  I was lucky enough to receive a digital copy of this book for review through Great Aussie Reads, who specialise (in case you couldn’t guess!) in promoting fantabulous Australian authors and their works. Pop on over there to say hello and see some of the enticing contents of their virtual shelf – you won’t be disappointed!

The Devil’s in the Detail is penned by Melbournish author Matthew S. Wilson and revolves around one David Shepherd – middle aged London cab driver and all-round nice bloke.  After waking up in a prison cell in Purgatory, David is dismayed (to say the least) to find that he has died and must now face a court trial to decide where his eternal soul will end up, his choices being Heaven, or one of the ten circles of Hell.  For reasons unknown to David, Hell’s minions seem particularly enthusiastic about winning David’s soul for the home side, and in his trial, he must attempt to rebutt accusations that he has knowingly and willingly broken all of the Ten Commandments.  With only the mildly helpful angelic defence lawyer Olivia to assist him, David may just be facing the legal fight of his life….or indeed, death.

devil in the detail

What rewards await

the soul of the upright man?

It’s all gone balls-up

Having recently read a number of afterlife-y type books (and with a few more in the TBR pile), I felt very comfortable falling straight into Wilson’s world, which contained elements of Christian, Jewish and Buddhist religious traditions as well as some interjections from Dante and Greek mythology, and some wholly original bits and bobs.  I’m not sure what I expected on reading the blurb, but I was surprised by the reflective, philosophical nature of parts of the book.  The story is told partly in the present, as the reader eavesdrops on David’s trial, and partly through David’s memories, as he recalls the situations throughout his life that have led to the current accusations being levelled at him by Hell’s own prosecution lawyer.  The combination results in an interesting blend of action and intrigue, and slightly melancholic memoir.

Admittedly, as I was reading, I did begin to wonder a little at what the point of the story was, but it seems I had pondered too soon, because at the end of the tale a surprising little twist emerged that put a whole new spin on what had gone before*.  This twist was perfectly timed and a very nice way of wrapping up the story.  I must admit, as I got closer to the end of the book I did wonder how on earth the author was going to tie up the loose ends, but the ending here left me feeling very satisfied with my efforts at having perservered despite being unsure as to where it all might end up.

The Devil’s in the Detail ended up being a lot more cerebral than I initially expected, which while certainly not a bad thing, had me wondering who I would recommend it to.  Perhaps those who, like myself, enjoy a bit of speculation with a spiritual twist.

* As a side note, I must say that the cover of the book had me thinking that maybe David would end up having to be the Devil’s cabbie or something, but that’s not how things work out.  Perhaps Mr Wilson could consider penning a sequel to satisfy this thought.

To conclude, I have been asked by Bruce to display his latest “Obscure Proverb of the Day” from his Tumblr feed, as he believes it is appropriate to the theme of today’s book.  (For which I apologise – honestly, he shouldn’t be allowed out on his own, as this is the type of thing that ensues).  Here it is:

obscure proverb casket

Hilarious.  For more of this fare, as well as zombified children’s book covers, please form an orderly queue to click on the Tumblr button at the end of this post.

Bruce and I have also conspired to produce this small piece of political statement.  It won’t be a regular thing, just something we feel passionate about right at this moment:

hands off our abc

Until next time my sweets,

Mad Martha

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