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The Detective (Johannes Cabal #2)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  4,198 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Johannes Cabal, a necromancer of some little infamy, returns in this riotously clever and terrifically twisted tale of murder and international intrigue. In this genre-twisting novel Johannes Cabal leads us on another raucous journey in a little-known corner of the world. This time he’s on the run from the local government.

Stealing the identity of a minor bureaucrat, Cabal
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2010)
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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
⊱ Irena ⊰

It is very difficult to explain this book. What you need to know is that you would be definitely doing this book disservice if you expected another The Necromancer or if you compared it with it in any way. The two are so different that the only thing they have in common is Cabal himself. I was vaguely aware of these differences before I started reading The Detective so I've decided not to compare the two books too much. At least, not in a way that may paint this one in a bad light. Yes, they
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
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
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
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
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.
 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.
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.

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
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
After reading some of the other reviews here on Goodreads I must say I went into “Johannes Cabal, The Detective” slightly afraid. The thing was I liked the previous book so much I was a bit worried that all that talk about “change of genre” and “difference of feel” actually meant “it went went downhill and we are just too attached to the first book to actually say that.” I needed not worry, though. The truth is that even if this work is not as brilliant as the first, yes, it still sports moments ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lana Sims
Delightfully Eccentric Protagonist

Johannes the Necromancer continues his adventures as he deals with dead dictators, murder, and intelligent women. Those who love steampunk, Sherlock, and Pendergast will enjoy this series. Although it is the second book in the series, prior background is not necessary for enjoyment.
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
Sep 15, 2015 June rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with a pulse and everyone without a pulse too
I am experiencing a lot of Cabal feels right now and though I'm not quite sure why, I knew I had to re-read this book again.

This book has everything - duels, airships, brain-eating zombies, necromancy, Cabal being the sarcastic and bad-tempered bastard we all love, megalomaniacs, Leonie Barrow (!!), more information about Her, a murder mystery, spies, explosions, battles on airships, a great deal of crime, politics, bar snacks ... the list goes on.

I am in love with this series and this main cha
Jonathan L Howard’s second novel featuring the necromancer Johannes Cabal is set in a steampunk world. One of the things I really like about this series is that each novel is set and told in a different style, like Ray Bradbury (novel 1-Johannes Cabal the Necromancer) and HP Lovecraft (novel 3-The Fear Institute). The novel opens with Cabal unsuccessfully trying to steal a rare book containing secrets of necromancy. He manages to escape by infuriating and dueling his interrogator, then steals th ...more
Even better than the first. The character of Cabal stabilizes within this more solid context. Having escaped the murderous clutches of Count Marechal, Johannes finds himself on an aeroship under the guise of a low-level bureaucrat. To finalize his escape he has no choice but to mingle, and for someone so enamoured with the orderliness of science, people are problematic. This highly intelligent, intractable, and opinionated man is thrown off his game with the appearance of Leonie Barrow, the very ...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
Mar 24, 2013 Pickleman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
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
I enjoyed this one too, but fans of the first book should note that this is entirely different.

The supernatural elements are almost entirely gone (save for the beginning, and that little short story at the end). Johannes finds himself fighting against the forces of Politics, not against the forces of Satan, and the plot is a straight-up detective story.

I missed Horst, though Leonie Barrow does a good job as Cabal's voice of reason, and I hope she comes back again.

Howard seems to be slow-playing
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Pages Podcast: May Read: Johannes Cabal the Detective 2 4 May 21, 2014 07:49PM  
Horst Cabal *SPOILERS* 9 83 Jul 21, 2011 06:54PM  
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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 about Jonathan L. Howard...

Other Books in the Series

Johannes Cabal (4 books)
  • The Necromancer (Johannes Cabal, #1)
  • The Fear Institute (Johannes Cabal, #3)
  • The Brothers Cabal (Johannes Cabal, #4)

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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.” 40 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.” 16 likes
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