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Johannes Cabal the Detective Hardcover – July 13, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385528094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385528092
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #499,748 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

This my favourite of the Cabal series.
Ashwin Kelkar
If that sounds pretty sweet to you - then you should definitely buy this book and get involved.
Mr. T. E. J. Johnson
Creative characters, interesting plots, and dark humor.

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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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on July 19, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
High hopes for a quirky and original new series Jonathan Howard will need a touch of its own necromancy after "Johannes Cabal the Detective," the second tale of Johannes Cabal. Howard tackles a tricky genre mash-up - something of a black fantasy-crime combination - and to his credit almost pulls it off. I thoroughly enjoyed last year's debut, the campy: "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer," a fiendishly clever and intelligent novel. In "Necromancer," Howard playfully pokes across fun across a wide spectrum from "Faust" to Stephen King - his keen insight of human behavior matching his razor sharp prose and dialogue, spinning an offbeat and macabre yarn.

Johannes Cabal is a necromancer - a cold-hearted but brilliant scientist who made the proverbial "deal with the devil" to gain the tools of his nefarious trade. He is also an insufferable snob who applies his caustic wit with rapier accuracy on all of those unfortunate enough to cross his path. In this installment, the setting is the fictitious eastern European nation of Mirkarvia in an unspecified time that feels a lot like the second half of the 19th century. Much of the action takes place on the maiden voyage of a Mirkarvian aeroship - the combination of a zeppelin and the Love Boat. En route, a passenger is apparently murdered in a spin on the classic locked-room mystery. When his own life is threatened, Cabal, posing as a Mirkarvian bureaucrat to escape Mirkarvia's upstart despot, becomes a detective - of sorts. In a hodgepodge of characters and Victorian insensibilities, a whodunit reminiscent of "Clue" rolls out, twisted around a made up world that fails at create sufficient suspense while the intended satire misses the mark.
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