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Johannes Cabal the Detective Hardcover – July 13, 2010
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Praise for JOHANNES CABAL THE DETECTIVE:
"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
Praise for JOHANNES CABAL THE NECROMANCER:
“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.
Top customer reviews
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.
Having stolen the identity of a minor bureaucrat, Cabal takes passage on the Princess Hortense; a passenger airship that is leaving the country (and his enemies) behind. Cabal’s deception seems perfect and as he looks forward to a quiet trip, his plans are dashed when he comes face to face with someone he’d thought left behind. It is the one woman to ever match wits with him, and could potentially blow his cover – Leonie Barrow.
When a fellow passenger appears to throw himself to his death, Cabal’s curiosity gets the better of him and he investigates. His minor efforts result in an attempt on his own life, and then the gloves come off.
Cabal must swallow his price (to an extent) and reluctantly team up with Leonie to discover the murderer. And in the process, discover the secrets within the Princess Hortense herself.
The Detective is the second book in the Johannes Cabal series. I read and reviewed the first book earlier last year and decided to give the second book a go.
As much as I enjoyed the first book, I sadly cannot say the same of the second. While Cabal was still his brash self, he didn’t have as an effective foil as he did in the first book. Here we have Leonie Barrow; and while she is a decent partner to Cabal, she unfortunately doesn’t hold a candle to Cabal’s brother from the first book.
The story itself was also a tad disappointing. There were some points where it just seemed to drag along, not quite sure where it was going. It was as if the story were like the Princess Hortense herself, just drifting along with no real heading.
Several flashback scenes offer us a more detailed look in to Cabal’s past and give us a better idea of the man he used to be. I personally would enjoy seeing more that that man in upcoming books.
A decent addition to the Johannes Cabal series, I found The Detective to be fairly amusing. Readers who enjoyed the first book should give this one a try. I myself am looking forward to the third book, to reading and to reviewing.
Leonie Barrow is back, and this time, her character is a bit annoying, and I can’t really even remember why she was here. Count Marechal makes for a worthy adversary, but let’s face it, how do you top the first story where Cabal beats the devil and wins his soul back? Perhaps it isn’t fair for me to compare the two books!
Maybe the detective story set on board an aeroship didn’t work for me just as a personal preference? I thought the story on board was a little slow for my liking. I did appreciate gathering a bit more back story on Cabal’s family life, and thought it was hysterical that he was being groomed to go into the family business (as a lawyer) before his wife died and he became a Necromancer.
I did enjoy this installment, it is just that the first book was really a knockout unexpected tale of SHEER AWESOMENESS, and my honest reaction is that the second one just didn’t make me feel the same. Sigh. Maybe the third book will knock me out again!
Darkly funny, never cliché unless it's called for, the Johannes Cabal series perfectly captures a mix of Douglas Adams' -esque prose mashed together with Lovecraftian lore and riddled with references to iconic horror fiction throughout the last century. The series introduces a beautifully crafted steampunk world of an unknown dreamlike era. Featuring a cast emotionally engaging and riveting characters, this is a bit of fiction for fans of the genre both young and old.
Content warnings: suicide, mild sexually suggestive content, adult language.