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Johannes Cabal the Detective Hardcover – July 13, 2010

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385528094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385528092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews



"Johannes Cabal would kill me for saying this, but he's my favorite Zeppelin-hopping detective. The fellow has got all the charm of Bond and the smarts of Holmes -- without the pesky morality. Seriously though, don't tell Cabal I so much as mentioned his name."
-- Daniel H. Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising and the forthcoming Robopacolypse
 “Is there life beyond death? Definitely! That is, if Johannes Cabal is on your side…The mysteries of past and future--science fiction and the occult, Jules Verne and Robert Anton Wilson--are all wrapped up in Jonathan L.  Howard's  fast-paced escapade of esoteric adventure.”
 -- Katherine Neville, New York Times bestselling author of The Eight and The Fire

"Cabal, the detective and necromancer, is full of charismatic amorality, making him both a classical, and refreshing antihero." -- TimeOut

“Not only does Howard deliver a devilish mystery but he also wraps it all up in a gorgeous ‘steampunk noir’ atmosphere that had me slowing down, every now and then, to enjoy either skulking in various European alleyways or flying high above them in the ‘latest flying machine’.” --Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

"Definitely entertaining, a cut above many books out there." --Free Lance-Star

"JOHANNES CABAL THE DETECTIVE is simply fun...The characters and their situations are fresh, their turns unexpected. The work gives nods to many of the tropes of detective fiction...The result is a delight." -- The Denver Post


“Jonathan Howard has written a delightfully wicked and inventive story on the game of beat the devil. He turns conventions of the Faustian tales into a modern carnivalesque that is witty, macabre, and unexpectedly touching. If you like the dead to have a little life in them yet, Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer is the kind of book you'll die for.”
-- Keith Donohue, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child

“That ole black magic has never been more fun than it is in this deft and quirky Faustian tale, and the voice is fittingly sardonic as in ‘sour juices dripping from crushed hopes.’ Johannes Cabal may be soulless, but he's also cocky, darkly hilarious, and cheerfully irreverent. A diabolical romp.”
-- Elle Newmark, author of The Book of Unholy Mischief

“For anyone whose taste edges towards the intelligent and macabre, this book is a gift . . . a Lemony Snicket for adults.”
-- Linda Marotta, Fangoria

About the Author

JONATHAN L. HOWARD is a game designer who notably co-scripted the first three Broken Sword adventure games. He is the author of the novel Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. He lives near Bristol, England, with his wife and daughter.

More About the Author

Jonathan L. Howard is a game designer and BAFTA nominated scriptwriter of some twenty years experience.

He's been a novelist since 2009, débuting with the darkly humorous "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer." Since then the sequels "Johannes Cabal the Detective" (2010) and "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" (2011) have also seen print.

A new Cabal novel is set for publication in late 2014.

2012 saw the publication of the first novel of his Russalka Chronicles trilogy, "Katya's World," a YA science fiction story that takes place on the dangerous and unforgiving ocean-covered world of Russalka. The first sequel, "Katya's War," was published in 2013.

2014 saw the beginning of the "Goon Squad" project, an ongoing story of mismatched superheroes, published in monthly episodes.

Jonathan L. Howard lives with his family in the English West Country.

Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Silea TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer was an amazing novel, and this one is a fantastic second in the series. Everything that is good about Necromancer is better in Detective. The plot is tighter (with no dangling Chekov's Gun like the first book). The characters stay true. The world is richly detailed. And best of all, the pacing is perfect. You may read this book in a single sitting just because it never gets slow and never gets rushed.

Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some infamy, is attempting to return home with some ill-gotten goods when he becomes entangled in a murder-mystery aboard an airship. Somewhat unwillingly, he turns his sharply analytical mind to unraveling the plot, so long as it doesn't endanger his escape. And because life is never simple, his pseudo-nemesis from his past train adventure, Leonie Barrow, happens to be on that same ship. Hilarity, hijinks, and murder ensue.

The one marked divergence from the first book is that Detective has a bit of steampunk in it. This is not a steampunk-centered book, to revel in the mystical technology, but the descriptions of some of the machines are quite interesting. Beyond the contrived replacement countries to fill out Eastern Europe, this addition sets Cabal's world as clearly different from our own (ignoring, of course, the necromancy).

Reading the first book is not necessary for reading this one, as the relevant bits of plot are quickly and efficiently rehashed as necessary, but i don't know why anyone would deprive themselves of the pleasure of watching these characters develop.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Riley on July 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Johannes Cabal the Necromancer" was without a doubt my favorite book I read last year. The humor, the characters, the wonderful writing... rarely do I find a book that I enjoyed as much as it. The mixture of horror and comedy tropes blended so well together by Mr. Howard that I couldn't put the book down until I finished it. It is with some regret that I have to say that this sequel, while keeping the comedy firmly intact, disregards the horror tropes almost entirely.

In this novel, Johannes Cabal (a necromancer of some little infamy) finds himself in a bit of a predicament. He's stolen a book that could be quite useful for one in his trade and is on the run from a government that is, to put it lightly, not entirely pleased with his recent actions. He takes the identity of a civil servant and boards an aeroship the Princess Hortense so as to make a quick, and more importantly, unobserved getaway. Unfortunately for Cabal, not a night goes by without him running into someone who is well aware of his true identity and guarantees that he will be exposed once their destination is reached. As if matters couldn't get any worse, someone decides to make a nuisance of his or her self and commit a murder in an extremely puzzling way so that it catches Cabal's sense of curiosity.

What follows afterwards can only be described as a comedic steam punk detective story. Now, I'm a fan of both the detective and the steam punk genres, and a combination of the two is something I'm utterly delighted to see... but it still wasn't what I was looking for here. I didn't expect to see Cabal's carnival again, but I was expecting a little more necromancy and horror in the continuation of a story about a necromancer.

After I got over this disappointment though, I must say I did enjoy myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Caught trying to pilfer a particularly dangerous book on necromancy, Johannes Cabal finds himself in the hands of a would-be dictator in whose mind dances scenes of martial glory. Cabel escapes via an aeroship (a sort of steampunk flying ship, not to be confused with a dirigible), and hopes that all he has to do is keep his head down and get across the border. But, when a man is murdered in a locked room, Cabal's scientific mind goes into gear, trying to get to the bottom of it. And if he thought he was in danger before, he has not seen anything yet!

OK, where do I start? I liked Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, which was an off-beat blend of comedy and horror. This book eschews the humor and aims to blend defective fiction and horror, with a splash of steampunk thrown in. Sadly, it doesn't quite make it.

The steampunk angle of the story is rather tangential, and could easily have been edited out with no change to the story whatsoever. Necromancy only makes two appearances in the story at all, and again they could easily have been edited out with no loss to the story. Therefore, what this book truly is is a murder mystery, plain and simple.

As a murder mystery, the book is actually quite good. Cabal is still a fascinating character, and his playing the hero of the story is pulled off quite well. There is a lot of good action and adventure, and I liked the pseudo-Central European/19th century setting. Overall, I rather enjoyed the time I spent with the story.

Now, would I have liked the story better if it had been more like Johannes Cabal the Necromancer? Definitely. But, is it good as it is? Definitely!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald Rinkus on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great character. Good story. good read. worth the money. Go buy it. Looking for more. Yes, get it. You'll enjoy.
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