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The Detective (Johannes Cabal, #2)
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The Detective (Johannes Cabal #2)

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,098 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Johannes Cabal, necromancer of some little infamy, returns in this riotously clever and terrifically twisted tale of murder and international intrigue.

In this genre-twisting novel, infamous necromancer Johannes Cabal, after beating the Devil and being reunited with his soul, leads us on another raucous journey in a little-known corner of the world. This time he’s on the r...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Amanda
Johannes Cabal the Detective is the second book about the eponymous necromancer. I read the first book, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, at the beginning of this year, and was enormously enamoured with the bitingly sarcastic gentleman in question. In fact, it has remained my number one read of 2010 despite fierce competition from other titles, and so I was almost nervous about picking up this second novel about Johannes Cabal in case it did not live up to the first.

I am pleased to report that Joh...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. Even though I grade this book as a solid 4 stars, I was still a tad disappointed in this book because I went into it with such high expectations. Based solely on the strength of the writing (which is outstanding) and one of the most intriguing and original main characters in recent memory (i.e., Johannes Cabal), this is an easy 5 star effort. Howard's clever use of language and dry, witty phrasing makes reading the book a lot of fun to read. He also does an above average job of world...more
Bryce
For fans of Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, a warning: This book is very different from the first. Different tone, different type of comedy, and (dare I say it?) even a different side of Johannes Cabal.

At first, the differences put me off. Especially the imaginary geography/political situation and all the steampunk elements. I was hoping for another madcap supernatural adventure, but got instead a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and William Gibson. But once I stopped trying to shoehorn the book into...more
Lea
Funny story about this book -- I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, thinking it was the FIRST Cabal book. I read the first page, and was immediately confused as to why I had given up reading it on my first attempt -- this book was so funny! Why in the world was I remembering it as being slightly dull?

Then I realized: Ohhhhh! I get it -- this isn't the book I was reading!

While I did eventually finish the first book -- and gave it high marks for story and style -- this books rates much higher for...more
Erin
I didn't care for the sequel to Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. The first book was brilliant; archly amusing, gruesome, and, at its heart, rather sad. While it did rely heavily on bits and pieces borrowed from other writers (mostly Bradbury and Lovecraft), Howard put those pieces back together to create something unique.

The sequel? Not so much. Abandoning the supernatural trappings of the first book wouldn't have been so bad, except that Howard also jettisoned most of what made his first book a...more
K
description
Before I begin, I'd just like to say - I like more Cabal without a soul.
BUT BY GOD! I love this series. It contains everything I could ever want in a book: blood, necromancy, murder, zombies, dark humor, and most importantly - a thoroughly detailed plot. I have to confess, the main reason that I like this series is because like the hopeful fool I am, I see (or envision) myself in the quixotic main character: Johannes Cabal. He is narcissistic, egocentric, cold hearted, emotionally deprived, and...more
James
"The condemned cell stank of cats.

There were no rats or cockroaches, for which Johannes Cabal - a necromancer of some little infamy - was grateful. But the cost of vermin control was an army of cats who crept in and out of his cell and wandered throughout the dungeons of the Harslaus Castle with complete impunity. Even the cell doors had cat flaps cut into them. It was no secret that the warders had a much higher opinion of the animals than they did of the inmates. When Cabal had been given his...more
Stephen Theaker
Count Marechal would see the Mirkarvian empire restored, but the emperor died three hours ago – before a crucial speech could be given. Thus Johannes Cabal escapes execution for necromancy (and related book theft), but the episode ends badly, and Cabal escapes on an aeroship – the Princess Hortense, on her maiden cruise – in the guise of Herr Gerhard Meissner, docket clerk first class, Department of Administrative Coordination. There are murders; Cabal investigates.

This was very enjoyable. Both...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I just read my review of the first book in this series, Johannes Cabal The Necromancer, to refresh my memory. I also gave that book 3 stars, down from 3.5. This one is sort of coming from the other end – 3 stars bumped up from 2.5.

Once again, it’s not a bad book, but I keep expecting something more from it. There are moments of real cleverness, wry humor and dry wit, and these moments really shine out.

There are other moments, however, where the humor feels more forced than anything, and where ev...more
Crowinator
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Yes, I finally got this book back from the library and jumped it ahead of all of the other books I am supposed to be reading. The plot of this one wasn't as interesting as the first (it was both confusing and too obvious in its twisty politics and then lagged in the middle; then again, how can you beat the first one, which had a couple of jaunts to Hell and a carnival of the damned, anyway?), but I still highly enjoy necromancer Johannes Cabal's narrative voice too much t...more
Woodge
A second adventure featuring the selfish, amoral, necromancer, Johannes Cabal was an automatic buy for me. The first story, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, was just too much fun, witty, and with a unique plot. This go-round may not be as captivating as the first, but it too is full of dry wit, and Johannes Cabal's unique world view. He's quite an interesting character as evil bastards go. I read this story punctuated by much snickering. This time finds Johannes aboard a very cool airship (a diag...more
Josh
Better than the first book. I loved Necromancer, but my only quibbles were with some wonky pacing and a fairly one-dimensional (though still interesting) main character in Cabal. The sequel fixes these problems, and then some. Cabal is a much more sympathetic, much more interesting character, and the book clips along from beginning to end. The first book concerned Cabal's quest to get his soul back, and having soul intact gives him a conscience and depth that weren't here the first time around.

W...more
Sue Smith
I have to admit that I really like how Jonathan Howard writes - it's clever and witty and I love the continual tongue-in-cheek and bantering that happens with the character of Johannes Cabal. His descriptions for situations and feelings and circumstances are hilarious and absolutely bang on for the thing he describes. It had me chuckling more that once - and he had me thinking about what he said more than once too. I love that kind of writing - so easy that it flows and it's never ceasing or inc...more
Amanda
I was completely won over by the first book by this author, The Necromancer. I fell in love with the immoral, clever, sarcastic and charismatic main character, Johannes Cabal. Not to mention the book was hilarious. This sophmore effort lives up to the expectations I was left with after reading the first novel. Both of these books were comic fantasy that was actually comic. The pacing was perfect, and it felt like something significant was always occurring throughout the story. It never lost stea...more
Tammy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sylvester
It didn't really get going for me until chapter 6, then I thought oh here's a nice little mystery and where's it going to lead to and then I thought what? what's this? This was a book that didn't know what it wanted to be, so it thought it would try to be everything - and didn't succeed. It wasn't awful, though, and those who like the steampunk genre will probably like it anyway, but this book gave me no clue as to what drives anyone to be a necromancer, which was my main question throughout. I...more
MyACPL Athens County Public Libraries
from Jordan:

Johannes Cabal, the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard is the sequel to my previously reviewed book, Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer. While The Necromancer focused primarily on the eponymous Johannes Cabal attempting to bargain with Satan for the return of his soul by collecting 100 souls from over people via a demonically fueled carnival, The Detective is an all together more mundane affair.

Cabal visits a small, backward country in Eastern Europe to steal a unique tome of necromancy f...more
Pickleman
Mar 24, 2013 Pickleman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kris, Terri, Greg, everybody!
Recommended to Pickleman by: n/a
After stumbling onto this book and paying less than $6.00 for a new hardback edition on a discount rack in a major bookstore, once I started reading it I found myself totally enthralled and not wanting to put it down. This book is a riot!! While the protagonists are not of your everyday garden variety, and more than likely could even offend some readers, they kept me smiling all the way thru. What an imagination Mr. Howard has! I've discovered the prequel to this book and already have it ready t...more
Joel
Not as good as the first book. In fact, the afterword at the end made me wish that there was a whole book about THAT. This one got a little dry and slow, and though the steampunk stuff was fun, it wasn't enough to keep me into it and it was too much of a tonal shift from what made Cabal fun anyway.Still, a fun little read. I only hope the third (and I do hope there's a third) Cabal book gets back to the black magic fun that made the first book so good.
Cheri
In order to determine whether you will prefer The Necromancer (#1) or The Detective (#2) more, follow this simple questionnaire: 1) Do you prefer the study of theology (#1) or political science? 2) Do you prefer reading fantasy (#1) or mystery (#2)? 3) Do you prefer gothic imagery (#1) or steampunk (#2)? 4) Do you prefer moralistic vampires (#1) or espionage/military speak (#2)?

I personally prefer my fantasy reading to have gothic imagery and theological allegory. I am also strangely attracted...more
Mitch
This book serves as a great sequel, in that it doesn't rely on the reader's knowledge of the 1st book in order to enjoy the vast majority of it. The Detective does a fantastic job of entirely switching genres without losing (most of) its charm and appeal.
That being said, this was less enjoyable a read than its predecessor - mostly due, for me, to the lack of necromancy and other gothic elements. It was great to see how Johannes is doing after the events of the 1st book, but I would have liked to...more
Cami
Oh, Johannes.
I thought we had something going. Your wit, my interest. Your dark adventures, my stalker-like observation...
Sadly, you seemed to have become an utter bore. I didn't even want to stick around to see you get off of your Hindenburg.
I didn't even get a delicious hint that you were continuing where you left off in your first book.
If a third one is on the horizon, I'll attempt that.
Thanks anyway.
Count-jason Guill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nora
Such a great series, plus as a huge steampunk fan its pretty great. It really shows to the concept of the ripple effect, how a single event can change someones entire story. If only it hadn't been for that dog... Plus I was in tears at Cabals reaction to when the women flirted with him.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Johannes Cabal again makes an escape & the getaway airship travel is a great suspense story. The macabre gentlemanly necromancer with a thought process unlike any other has a crafy wit to get himself out of any situation, of which there are many.
C.B. Pratt
Some folks have complained that this book isn't as 'horror' as the first one, The Necromancer. This is true. However, it seems to me, now that I've finished The Detective that Howard is taking a tour of certain kinds of 19th/20th century fiction. We had the horror novel, with lots of references to other novels and films. Now we have the detective story, with lots of references to Agatha Christie, the Prisoner of Zenda, Sherlock Holmes, and even Stevenson.

Johannes Cabal remains one of the more r...more
Andy
I like the concept of Johannes Cabal. He's a funny character, with not a lot of empathy, and he does what he wants when he wants to do it, which is fine. The story of Johannes moves from him standing his ground as a necromancer, but also trying to figure out what is happening on the flying ship he is aboard. So, there is an element of steampunk present as well (the soup du jour of sub SF genre). My only problem with this book was that it tended to drag a little bit here and there. A lot of detai...more
Kelly
I enjoyed this book but I have to say that there were a few problems with it. For a start, the edition that I picked up from Dymocks was filled to the brim with errors and printing mistakes. The front cover was lovely, as well as the general layout of the book, but sometimes these errors really broke my immersion from what I was reading.

The plot wasn't fantastic, to be honest. This book felt like a filler episode of a sitcom, where admittedly it is amusing to read but nothing actually happens i...more
Elgalla
This one was tough for me to rate. It does have a stronger plot than the first book, but it lacks some of the outrageously acidic humour of it too. The mood is completely different, as this is a mystery novel and not a dark fantasy one and Cabal remains his delightful self -as always. I liked how his having a soul turned out and how the character evolved without becoming all goody good. However, I did get tired near the end, which felt a bit dragged out to me. I liked Cabal's chemistry with Leon...more
Helena R-D
Sometimes this book was a tad long winded, but otherwise, it was hilariously evil and quirky. Cabal is an amoral SOB and his disdain for everything that is not his work is really fucking funny. He's that sarcastic friend we all have that breaks the fourth wall and doesn't care about what you think of his lack of morals. He gets shit done and with the most amount of bloodshed possible.

It's a steampunk whodunit and it is fantastic. The world is well crafted and all the characters are perfect. Cab...more
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Jonathan L Howard is a game designer, scriptwriter, and a veteran of the computer games industry since the early 1990s, with titles such as the 'Broken Sword' series to his credit.

After publishing two short stories featuring Johannes Cabal (Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day and Exeunt Demon King) in H. P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer was published in 2009 as his...more
More about Jonathan L. Howard...
The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal, #1) The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal, #3) Katya's World (Russalka Chronicles, #1) Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day Exeunt Demon King

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“They served to remind Cabal - should a reminder ever be necessary - why his social skills were so poor: people were loathsome and not worth the practise.” 31 likes
“There is possibly no insult so calculated to sting the English as the suggestion that they may at any time be considered foreign, as this flies in the face of the obvious truth that the whole of Creation actually belongs to the English, and that they are just allowing everybody else to camp out on bits of it from a national sense of noblesse oblige.” 13 likes
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