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Comment: Good copy with moderate cover and page wear from being handled and read. Accessories or dust jacket may be missing. Could be an ex-library copy that will have all the stickers and or marking of the library. Some textual or margin notes possible, and or contain highlighting.
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Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker Paperback – May 16, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Airship 27 (May 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615645607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615645605
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,614,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Beard writes adventure fiction in a classic pulp style.

A native Toledoan, he was introduced to comic books at an early age by his father, who passed on to him a love for the medium and the pulp characters who preceded it. After decades of reading, collecting and dissecting comics, Jim became a published writer when he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. Since that time he's written official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comic stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history.

His prose work includes GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES, a book of essays on the 1966 Batman TV series; SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER, a collection of pulp ghost stories featuring an Edwardian occult detective; MONSTER EARTH, a shared-world giant monster anthology; and CAPTAIN ACTION: RIDDLE OF THE GLOWING MEN, the first pulp prose novel based on the classic 1960s action figure.

Jim also currently provides regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, and is a regular columnist for Toledo Free Press.

Please visit him at http://sgtjanus.blogspot.com and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/thebeardjimbeard

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the tradition of the great fictional Golden Age ghost hunters--John Silence, Physician Extraordinary; Professor Challenger; Carnacki, the Ghost Finder; John Bell, Ghost-Exposer--comes the enigmatic Sgt. Roman Janus, Spirit-Breaker.

This is an Edwardian or Lovecraftian pastiche, yes, but an ingenious and inventive romp full of striking images, subtle horrors, and moments of real shock. In a fresh variation of the single-narrator ghost story formula, Sgt. Janus insists that the client write up a report of the case, a notion which allows Beard to play with the voices of all sorts of vivid characters: a spinster lady, a stolid police officer, a no-nonsense businessman, a bereft lover. Janus himself, initially a Man of Mystery, becomes a more defined personality as the book goes on--more vulnerable and less super-human.

Beard has a keen eye for grimly amusing touches--like a ghost being exorcised by being stuffed into a waste paper basket or a ghoul pulling itself down a chimney and out the fireplace. I particularly liked the images in "The Unbroken Lock", the slowly building menace of "When the Rain Comes" and, most gripping of all (I found myself shrieking at the author that, no, you can't let that happen!) the horror of "The Unfinished Record", which seems to be setting up a sequel. We can only live in hope.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Raven on January 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sergeant Janus is a bit of an enigma. I liked the author's nod to those who went before, Carnacki the Ghost Finder and The Dream Detective. But Sgt. Janus is a "spirit breaker", one who functions to cast out ghosts that haunt the unwary. The stories have left me with more questions than answers, but they are well written and flow fairly easy. The cliff-hanger story at the end of the book was a nice touch and hopefully a lead in to a second volume.

Hopefully the new volume will answer a few questions. I'll try to ask them without spoiling anything for a first time reader, so if you feel these questions are spoilers, it isn't my intent. In fact you might read the book with added interest trying to see what I'm talking about.

1) Exactly what is the secret of the good Sergeant's rather unique house?
2) Exactly what is up with the Sergeant's enigmatic and efficient housekeeper? (I'd add what I think, but it might spoil something)
3) What is the secret of Sergeant Janus' powerful talisman?
4) Why does the Sergeant insist that his clients write up their own cases?

Looking for more ghostly and ghastly adventure to come!

Quoth the Raven...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L. Brzeski on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
This review is based on an advance copy sent to me by the publisher, in my capacity as a regular book reviewer for the British Fantasy Society website.

There are many characters in fiction, who are shrouded in mystery, but who inevitably lose that air of otherworldliness as we find out more about them. Jim Beard has been very clever here, in that the only information we ever get on Sgt. Roman Janus, his home and his staff comes from the reports of his varied clients, who may be biased, unreliable, hostile, or fanciful.
Beard is also intentionally vague about the period and settings of these stories. Reading the first one, I was leaning towards them being set in the UK, but later stories suggested an American setting. The period seems to be later than the classic occult detective tales of Carnacki, or John Silence, but not that much later - a generation maybe.
I thought I'd found a mistake when Sgt. Janus is referred to as a para-psychiatrist, rather than a para-psychologist. After giving it some thought, I realised that a psychologist is mainly concerned with research and study, whereas a psychiatrist is concerned with fixing the problem, hence para-psychiatrist is actually the correct term.
I don't really want to describe each story individually. Suffice to say that they are varied in both the voice of the narrator and the details of the hauntings, which provide the focus of the tales. I found I enjoyed each story more than the one previous, although I can't say if this is because they actually get better, or if it was simply because I became more deeply immersed in the strange world of Sgt. Janus as I progressed through the book.
While each story is separate and can be read on its own, they do gradually build upon each other to give the feel of a novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marshall on March 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read and enjoyed the author's Captain Action novel,so I thought I'd give this one a try. This was even better. Beard did a nice job of capturing the feel of the Victorian/Edwardian books that inspired him. It was a fast, highly enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Stoddard on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a really enjoyable book, with a bit of a twist from other, similar works. I enjoyed the different personalities the author creates, the strange house he lives in, and his odd housekeeper. Each of the stories is unique. It's a good book just for relaxing and being entertained.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug Taylor on February 22, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I seldom write reviews. Likewise, I seldom read self-published fiction. The former is because I tend to read things that have already been extensively reviewed (plus, hey, rather than come up with a witty review, I'd really prefer to just get on to reading something else). The latter is because some of my forays into the realm of the self-published have left me less than impressed, particularly because of a tendency toward truly terrible editing.

That being said, when I had realized that Jim had written a book, I did purchase it right away. I worked for Jim in a previous life and, in that time, came to know him as a talented artist. And, honestly, he just has damn good taste in books. I also knew him to be someone who took pride in his craft, so I was excited (if a little hesitant) to see that he had written a book.

Honestly, I was not disappointed. The book is a series of short stories written from the viewpoint of various (some lovable, some less so) characters, all recounting their experiences with the titular Sgt. Janus. Much of what I can say about it has already been said; It has a Lovecraft with a dash of Conan Doyle feel to it. The storytelling is excellent and well-paced and Jim does a good job switching from perspective to perspective. I found the short narratives largely engaging and Janus to be the charmingly enigmatic character that he is clearly intended to be. There are some truly interesting things done with perspective and voice. I would say that any of the stories could be read on their own, though there is at least a loose thread of storytelling that binds them all together in a subtle way. More than once, I found myself grinning at one deft turn of phrase or another and I would say that I genuinely enjoyed reading this.
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