Jessica's Reviews > Johannes Cabal the Detective

Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard
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's review
Nov 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: dark-and-creepy, fantasy, fiction, hilarious, literary-crush, reviewed-books, mystery-thriller

This Cabal sequel did not fail in making me want to quote every line (much like the first). The writing is so perfect I almost want to fault it for that.

Cabal is back and he’s got his soul with him (which only factors in occasionally, thank goodness, we don’t want Cabal shedding any tears or feeling for humanity), now if only people would stop trying to murder him!

To be honest, I was expecting this book to best the first and receive 5 stars instead of 4, but alas, it did not. After much deliberation (and deep discussion with a fellow Cabal-lover) I decided it was because that no matter how pitch-perfect I find the humor, or how despicably (and deliciously) Cabal behaves, in the end I don’t find myself emotionally invested in the book itself. That is sometimes the difference between 4 stars (4.5?) and a perfect 5 stars. The hint of emotional depth in the first book (Horst! The ending!) had me excited for more in Detective, but I think there was even less here to be found. (I could be wrong...reread?)

Some praises! Howard definitely turned it around in the female character department. The number of noteworthy male secondary characters in the first novel seems to have switched to a similar number of noteworthy female characters in this one. I nice change, and I’m glad that Howard has it in him for the most part.

Also, after discovering that Howard wrote short stories previously (and currently! Try and find the two or so Cabal shorts floating around the internet somewhere…), the “faults” of the novels make more sense. I found the plot of Detective to drag a little in the middle, but immediately fell in love with the short story that served as the epilogue. The entire opening sequence in Mirkarvia was also brilliant and one of the best openings to a novel I’ve read in awhile.

My dearest wish is that this be not a trilogy but a continuing legacy (Sherlock Holmes if he were a Necromancer of some little infamy and briefly soulless?). One can hope, eh?

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