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Supernatural subgenres > Occult Detective Stories

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Is anyone else into occult detective stories?

I fell in love with this genre indirectly, by reading the first Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. Although I can't say I'm a huge mystery reader, I love detective stories, and the supernatural twist just makes these even more interesting. Probably my favorite writer in this genre is Manly Wade Wellman. I read some of his Silver John stories and I was really impressed. I am trying to collect as many in this genre as I can that fit my interests. Some of these spill over into urban fantasy territory, such as Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher, and John Taylor of the Nightside books by Simon R. Green.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Which ones are your favorites?




message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I haven't read Wellman - well, maybe a story here or there, but nothing springs to mind - but I have read the rest you mentioned. I think my favorite detective now is Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison.

Anita was the favorite, but... well, I've ranted enough about how Hamilton has destroyed a good series with her whiny, sex crazed habits of late.


message 3: by Steven (new)

Steven | 3 comments i got into Occult Detectives via Wellman, and I admit that I've never heard of Kim Harrison.
The 1999 anthology DARK DETECTIVE contains a good selection of various different Occult Detectives


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I agree with you completely about Anita Blake. It was a great series.
I loved the first two Rachel Morgan books and I have the rest in my tbr pile.

If you get a chance, I think Wellman is a great storyteller. His tales of Appalachia and other rural Southern places are downright eerie. I think I'll finish off his Sin's Doorway & Other Ominous Entrances The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 4 collection this October for Halloween.


message 5: by Werner (last edited Sep 03, 2009 03:24PM) (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Occult detectives became popular in supernatural fiction around the turn of the 20th century. The prototypical one was probably Flaxman Low, the series character created by the mother-son writing team of Kate and Heskith Prichard ("E. and H. Heron"), whose stories are collected in Ghosts: Being the Experiences of Flaxman Low (1899). The only one of these I've read is "The Story of Baelbrow," which I liked very much. Their work influenced William Hope Hodgson in creating his Carnacki character; the stories featuring him are collected in Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder (1910). Again, I've only read one of these, "The Whistling Room" (which I know that Danielle's familiar with! :-)).

During the pulp era, several writers created occult detective characters; Wellman's writings from that period feature three: John Thunstone, Prof. Enderby, and Judge Pursivant. Their short fiction exploits are collected in Lonely Vigils (1981). I haven't read that one yet, either, though I can highly recommend one of the two Thunstone novels, What Dreams May Come (1983). My acquaintance with Wellman's work began with Silver John, whom he created later, in the early 50s; I've read all the Silver John short fiction (the definitive anthology is John the Balladeer), and all five novels. I never really thought of John as an occult detective (the folks in Appalachia call him a "witch-master," meaning someone who's "master over" sorcery and "'hants," capable of defeating them), but I guess functionally he is. (In After Dark, he teams up with a Thunstone assistant; and in What Dreams May Come, Thunstone mentions him as a friend.)


message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (last edited Sep 03, 2009 03:49PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Thanks for the information, Werner. I love how you are so knowledgable about the different genres.

I think occult detective is a very general term for a person who handles problems of a supernatural nature, using their intellect, any powers they have, their abilities, or just by pitching in. I kind of throw them all in that basket, although you're right, a lot of them aren't really.

Ah, The Whistling Room. That's a good one. :)

I splurged and bought all five volumes of Wellman's collected short stories off Amazon. I am slowly reading my way through volume 4, which is a potpourri of his unrelated stories, but they are so good. I'm saving the occult detective (for lack of a better term) volumes for last. He was a great writer, and few people seem to know of him.




message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Thanks, Danielle! I'm not really all that knowledgeable; but being a librarian, I know where to look for information. :-)

Your definition of occult detective sounds good to me! Defined that way, such a character might be a professional detective (Anthony Boucher's Fergus O'Breen is another example of that type), but he/she wouldn't have to be.

Wellman is my favorite supernatural fiction writer; and you're right --too many contemporary readers have never heard of him! During his lifetime (he died in 1986) he got more recognition. The World Fantasy Assn. named him a Grand Master, and he was one of the (then) "living masters of the macabre" to whom Stephen King dedicated Danse Macabre.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Sorry for the late reply,Werner. I love Wellman. He is one of the lost writers that I was so glad I read in an anthology a few years ago. He knows how to write great short stories. I agree with the title Grand Master.

I want to read the Anthony Boucher short stories. They sound very good.


message 9: by Justin (new)

Justin Brumbelow (justinbrumbelow) | 1 comments I would like to add John Connolly's Charlie Parker series to the "occult detective" list. The series is more P.I. than occult but the later novels add more of the supernatural.

Mike Carey's Felix Castor series, starting with The Devil You Know, is amazing. I believe he is more of an exorcist type than detective, but Castor helps find out why and how a person dies before exorcising their ghost.

I love this genre and would really like some more recommendations!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Justin, I'm with you. I'm always looking for more good occult detective fiction. You might like this author:

Hunter's Moon (Gollancz S.F.) by David Devereux Eagle Rising by David Devereux

I haven't read it yet, but it looks good.


message 11: by Guido (last edited Apr 29, 2010 08:29AM) (new)

Guido Henkel (guidohenkel) | 15 comments Hah, I only just discovered this thread. Please forgive me for a shameless plug, but you guys may want to take a quick look at my "Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter" series. It is a gothic horror dime novel series set in Victorian England, but at its core these stories are really detective mysteries where the antagonist is typically some kind of a supernatural creature.

http://www.jasondarkseries.com

Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter Demon's Night (Volume 1) by Guido Henkel Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter Theater of Vampires (Volume 2) by Guido Henkel Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter Ghosts Templar (Volume 3) by Guido Henkel Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter Heavens on Fire (Volume 4) by Guido Henkel  Jason Dark - Ghost Hunter Dr. Prometheus (Volume 5) by Guido Henkel


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I read the first book. Loved it! Definitely a worthwhile occult detective read, Guido.


message 13: by Guido (new)

Guido Henkel (guidohenkel) | 15 comments Thanks, Danielle, I would point out though that, being the first in the series, it is probably not the best of the stories. I think I found my stride a bit better in some of the subsequent stories. "Ghosts Templar" and the new "Dr. Prometheus" come to mind in particular.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I want to read all of them. I loved your writing style.


message 15: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Guido, I've just put Demon's Night on my to-read list! And be sure to put your Jason Dark books on our written-by-group-members shelf, if you haven't already!


message 16: by Mohammed (last edited May 05, 2010 10:45AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments The first fictional occult detective was Dr Martin Hesselius, five of whose cases are featured in Sheridan Le Fanu's short story collection In a Glass Darkly (1872).

Thats my fav Occult Detective series. Better written than Carnacki The Ghost-Finder which isnt near Hodgson at his best imo. Le Fanu was a great writer of horror,supernatural.

Dresden series is a fav but when i think about occult detective i think more supernatural horror,mystery stories than modern urban fantasy,mystery stories.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Mohammed, I'll check to see if I have those Hesselius stories. Thanks for the recommendation.

I like the occult detective stories that have tinge or full-blown horror elements the best.


message 19: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Mohammed, I've read "Green Tea" (which, if you're a green tea drinker, will definitely tempt you to re- think your beverage preferences :-)), but I didn't know that Le Fanu used Dr. Hesselius as a series character. I'll have to look up those other stories!

Simon, I've read a couple of Blackwood's Dr. John Silence stories (as well as some of his other short fiction). Personally, I wasn't very impressed with "A Victim of Higher Space;" but "Ancient Sorceries" was more effective (at least, for readers who accept reincarnation, or can suspend disbelief in it).


message 20: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 24 comments Also you may want to check out one of Charlaine Harris's other series. The Harper Connelly Mysteries are great fun fast reads. Harper is hired to find people who have gone missing and presumed dead. Ever since she was struck by lightening as a kid she can sense dead bodies and "see" thier last moments and also tell how they died. The first one is:
Grave Sight (A Harper Connelly Mystery, #1) by Charlaine Harris


message 21: by Jessie (new)

Jessie | 24 comments I also adore Rachel Morgan!!! :)


message 22: by Jessie (last edited May 10, 2010 08:01AM) (new)

Jessie | 24 comments I also can't rave enough about Adrian Phonix. Her first series is the Maker's Song. First book A Rush of Wings (The Maker's Song, #1) by Adrian Phoenix it is amazing a blew my mind. FBI agent tracking a serial killer who leads her to a vampire, fallen angel and government experiments and consiracies/coverups that you can't imagine. There are 3 books out so far in that series and she has a new series out in July Black Dust Mambo (Hoodoo, #1) by Adrian Phoenix


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Thanks for the recommendations, Jessie. I read the first and second Rachel Morgan books. I really like that series, so far. Heard good things about the others.


message 24: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 321 comments Werner wrote: "Mohammed, I've read "Green Tea" (which, if you're a green tea drinker, will definitely tempt you to re- think your beverage preferences :-)), but I didn't know that Le Fanu used Dr. Hesselius as a ..."

I don't know why I think this, but I think that Le Fanu may have retroactively made a number of stories "cases" of Hesselius' by writing new openings and closings in which he tells of the event but doesn't actively participate.

John Silence is kind of funny because in some of the stories his advice seems unhelpful or just ruminations after the fact.

The Seabury Quinn Jules De Grandin stories are fun but slight, in a kind of pulpy, monster of the week way. I like the idea of William Hope Hodgson's Dr. Karnaki more than I do the execution. I do mean to go read a chunk more of Wellman's Silver John stories - I don't think I was well-read enough to appreciate them in my teenager years.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I just found this book on Amazon.com for Kindle:

The Colleagues of Professor Van Helsing for $1.00. It's an anthology of classic occult detective stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Colleagues-Prof...


message 26: by Guido (new)

Guido Henkel (guidohenkel) | 15 comments Werner wrote: "Guido, I've just put Demon's Night on my to-read list! And be sure to put your Jason Dark books on our written-by-group-members shelf, if you haven't already!"

Werner, just to remind you - and everyone else who might be interested - you can get the eBook version of "Demon's Night" for free on our website by entering the coupon code "MEETJASON" during the checkout.


message 27: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Guido, thanks for that info! I don't read e-books myself (I may be a hooked computer addict when it comes to Goodreads, but for books, I prefer paper :-)), but I'm sure some people in this group will take you up on that.

Jessie and Danielle, you're tempting me to add to my to-read shelf, and it's already so big it threatens to short out the Internet; if that happens, it'll all be your fault! :-) I won't officially add those books to it (after all, I've got to stop sometime!); but I'll keep an eye out for some of them, anyway.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Werner, it's going to take 20 years to read all the books I own, and more, since I keep getting more books. LOL.


message 29: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments If we are talking about contemporary series of this kind i like Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. Thomas has a supernatural ability but the first book i read worked a bit like PI occult series. I dont know how the others are yet.


Werner: You might enjoy Le Fanu's Hesselius because they are seen by critics,fans as one of most important works outside his classic Vampire story.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Thanks for the Odd Thomas rec, Mohammed. I did pick that one up.


message 31: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1789 comments Thanks for the tip, Mohammed! I do like what I've read of Le Fanu, and want to read more of his work.


message 32: by Mohammed (last edited May 13, 2010 12:20PM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Im hoping to find a complete collection of his in hardcover. I got collection of his best stories but from Wordsworth cheap paperback that is not in very good condition even when i bought it as new.

I dont want to read more of his stories in cheap paper....

Danielle: Let me know when you read that book. Its pretty powerful story,emotional,horrofic story.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments You might like Gaslight Occurrences The Steampulp Adventures of Augustus Argent by Teel James Glenn . I think these are good stories in the occult detective vein.


message 35: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Its only in Kindle so far that book, i have to wait for the paperback. I responded to your review how this book sounded to me.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Mohammed, I'm sorry I didn't see your post on the review. It's not at all trashy. I thought it was very elegant in the writing. Very old school. If you are interested, you can download Kindle software to read it on your PC at home. I appreciate the recommendation for the Steampunk collection.


message 37: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (last edited Jun 03, 2010 08:13AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon, #1) by Ann Aguirre was another good occult detective story I just read.


message 38: by Mohammed (last edited Jun 04, 2010 05:51AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Mohammed, I'm sorry I didn't see your post on the review. It's not at all trashy. I thought it was very elegant in the writing. Very old school. If you are interested, you can download Kindle sof..."

I cant read books on the computer and i have tried. I can only hope that book comes out in paperback.

Will be interesting to see if you will like Steampunk collection. It made me want to read more steampunk stories.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I hope it comes out in paperback too. I am going to look for a copy of the Steampunk book at my used bookstore.


message 40: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 321 comments Other avenues: Kim Newman's Diogenes Club books (The Man from the Diogenes Club, The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club) feature a club run by Mycroft Holmes dedicated to stamping out evil.

Those in the mood for swinging 70s occult detectives should dig up Frank Lauria's adventures of Dr. Owen Orient in the books Doctor Orient, The Seth Papers, Lady Sativa, and Raga Six.

Then there's Jory Sherman's CHILL series (not all are in Goodreads but some are: Chill #2: The Sepulchre, Satan's Seed, and Bamboo Demons)

Then, while not really a detective there's my personal hero of my childhood, Carl Kolchak in Jeff Rice's The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Thanks for the recs, Shawn. I'm a big fan of the Kolchak series from the 70s.


message 42: by Shawn (new)

Shawn | 321 comments Rice's books have some very interesting differences from the character on television (well, the first one does, the NIGHT STRANGLER was a novelization of the TV movie) - Kolchak is older, overweight, slovenly and a borderline alcoholic in Rice's original book. I hope to do a re-read soon.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Hopefully I can get a copy of those to read. Thanks, Shawn.


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 205 comments Might be more like Occult spy, but Charles Stross' Laundry Files novels seem pretty good. I just got onto the first one, Atrocity Archives.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments I'm looking forward to reading those, Mike.


message 46: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Very interesting,original Occult or Supernatural spy i read recenly was Necroscope. Great read. I can only hope the other books after it doesnt disappoint!


message 47: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Jul 18, 2010 12:38PM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 205 comments I can't find the first in the series locally. Our library doesn't have it. if I read Necroscope I'll either have to order it and buy it or send out to interlibrary loan.


message 48: by Mohammed (last edited Jul 19, 2010 02:36AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 40 comments Mike wrote: "I can't find the first in the series locally. Our library doesn't have it. if I read Necroscope I'll either have to order it and buy it or send out to interlibrary loan."

Find it you will like with your taste in urban fantasy,horror.

Its not only a vampire book, but a quality book about many other things of supernatural.


message 49: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Kaufman (andrewekaufman) Hi Danielle-

I don't usually do blatant promotion, but when I read your post, I couldn't help but think my latest novel might be something that would interest you. While the Savage Sleeps is a forensic paranormal thriller. If you'd like to take a look, here is the link on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/While-the-Savag...

Best,

Andrew E. Kaufman
www.andrewekaufman.com

Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Is anyone else into occult detective stories?

I fell in love with this genre indirectly, by reading the first Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. Although I can't say I'm a huge mystery ..."



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Hi Andrew. I have already added your book to my list. Thanks for the heads up. Mohammed, I'll check out Necroscope on your recommendation.


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