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Johannes Cabal the Detective (Johannes Cabal 2) [Paperback]

Jonathan L. Howard
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Feb 2011 Johannes Cabal 2

Johannes Cabal is back - a little older, a little wiser, but just as sharply funny, cuttingly sarcastic, and unexpectedly violent as ever.

For necromancer Johannes Cabal, dealing with devils, demons and raising the dead is pretty much par for the course. But when his attempt to steal a rare book turns sour, he is faced by a far more terrifying entity - politics. While awaiting execution for his crime, Cabal is forced to resurrect an inconveniently deceased emperor. Seizing his chance, the cunning Cabal engineers his escape, fleeing the country on a state-of-the-art flying ship. But the ship has more than a few unpleasant surprises, including an unwelcome face from the past and the small matter of some mysterious murders. Cabal may work with corpses but he has absolutely no intention of becoming one. Drawn into a deadly conspiracy, is he shuffling dangerously close to the end of his mortal coil?

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; paperback / softcover edition (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755347978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755347971
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan L. Howard is a game designer and BAFTA nominated scriptwriter of some twenty years experience.

He's been a novelist since 2009, débuting with the darkly humorous "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer." Since then the sequels "Johannes Cabal the Detective" (2010) and "Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute" (2011) have also seen print.

A new Cabal novel is set for publication in late 2014.

2012 saw the publication of the first novel of his Russalka Chronicles trilogy, "Katya's World," a YA science fiction story that takes place on the dangerous and unforgiving ocean-covered world of Russalka. The first sequel, "Katya's War," was published in 2013.

2014 saw the beginning of the "Goon Squad" project, an ongoing story of mismatched superheroes, published in monthly episodes.

Jonathan L. Howard lives with his family in the English West Country.

Product Description


"A swashbuckling mystery set in a steampunk world."--"Denver Post" "Cabal, the detective and necromancer, is full of charismatic amorality, making him both a classical, and refreshing antihero."--"TimeOut", Chicago "Definitely entertaining, a cut above many books out there."--"Free Lance-Star" "Silly, erudite, and part a playful modern variant of the locked door murder mystery."--"The Huffington Post"

Book Description

The second novel in this fantastic new series, a must for fans of Terry Pratchett and Tim Burton

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Best thing I've read all year. 23 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Evil Dead 2, Godfather 2, The Empire Strikes Back ... and now Johannes Cabal the Detective.

Sequels that go one louder than the original.

The first volume, "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer", is pretty good, but I haven't enjoyed reading a book as much as "Johannes Cabal the Detective" in what seems like a very long time.

I think it's incredibly difficult to hit the right tone with a cod-historical story, which is one of the problems in the previous book, but everything from style to content and pace is absolutely on the mark in "Johannes Cabal the Detective" from the very first page. I gather author Jonathan L Howard is relatively well-known for writing the narrative content of video games, which I've never had the hand-to-eye co-ordination or patience to play. Wherever he's been sharpening the skills for lean, clear prose, good dialogue and page-turning story momentum it all comes to fruition here. I wouldn't be surprised if what follows is a graduation to big-money script-writing - and why not, if Jonathan Ross's wife can do it - because everything is informed by a very cinematic sensibility.

The plot is a neat twist on a conventional Agatha Christie murder mystery, although possibly more the movie adaptations than the original novels. For reasons set up in a funny and action-packed preamble our hero is on the run from a hostile government, ironically disguised as one of their low-level civil servants. He tries to escape on a slow-moving airship cruiser, joined by a standard Christie passenger-list of ex-officers, genteel businesspeople, retired industrialists, and a couple of younger men and women of middle and upper class.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johannes Cabal: My Hero 8 July 2010
By FatBat
This sequel to Johannes Cabal the Necromancer sees Cabal re-united with his soul, and with stirrings from what he thinks could be a conscience, but neither are allowed to incommode him noticeably. Being what he is, his wish to obtain a book, specifically Principia Necromantica, from Kranz University Library in Mirkarvia leads not to the Interlibrary Loans Desk at his local library, but to the University itself at half past one in the morning, and from there to a cat-redolent condemned cell at Harslaus Castle. Offered the chance to escape the executioner's razor by bringing the recently deceased Emperor back to life for long enough to make a speech that will bring war to Mirkarvia's neighbours he naturally accepts. But, given Cabal's inclinations and temperament the speech does not work out quite as his captors hope. As the Emperor succumbs suddenly to a desire to eat brains Cabal manages to escape, carrying the undying hatred of Count Marechal, and stolen papers which identify him as Herr Meissner, a civil servant, who, most importantly, has a berth on the flying ship the Princess Hortense which should take him to safety. But once on board the Hortense he begins to realise that neither she, nor her passengers, are quite what they seem. An acquaintance from the past, able, and quite willing to expose him, is also on board; a frisky Mirkarvian lady takes a (to him) inexplicable fancy to him; a man vanishes from a locked room leaving a dubious suicide note, someone tries to fling Cabal himself from the ship - and there is another suicide.
Johannes Cabal the Detective is just as fast and funny as its predecessor. I loved it, and I hope another one comes along "as fast as a rabbit from a trebuchet" as the author so prettily puts it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Villainously charming 12 Oct 2011
By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What I really like about the Johannes Cabal books is the way that while his character is complex in some ways, his iconic nature & directness of words & deeds mean that the books about him are easy to pick up & don't require a lengthy preamble before the action starts (unlike this review, it seems!). As such, new readers can rest assured that while this is the second book in the series, it's a self-contained story with no prior knowledge required.

Anyway, this volume sees amoral necromancer Cabal escaping a militaristic Germanic state, having gotten himself into a sticky situation, as often happens in his chosen career. As a consequence, he finds himself aboard an airship with an assumed identity, where his guile is put to use when a number of mysterious deaths occur. Thus Cabal finds himself in the role of an unscrupulous Poirot - with the added advantage of being able to talk to the dead...

Aside from the role of 'amateur detective' being a new one for the chilling main character, the nature of the plot means that we learn a lot more background about Cabal's world. While the setting is slightly ambiguous in the other 2 novels, this one makes it clear that the background is a slightly steampunk alternative reality, the countries encountered having a pre-WW1 culture.

While the ending is suitably dramatic, the conclusion is somewhat abrupt - the situation is resolved & Cabal just... walks away. While this totally fits with his character, it's nevertheless a little unsatisfying, so Howard takes the edge off by supplying a separate, short adventure which happens to Cabal on his way home. But please don't let that put you off - it's a darkly funny book, where the murder-and-fun-filled journey is more important than the destination.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn
It takes a little time to get into faux Victorian prose, but when you Herr Cabal's second tale fairly rips along. Read more
Published 16 days ago by A. Gibb
4.0 out of 5 stars great - almost steampunk, with hints of agatha christie or Indiana...
This story is the second in the Johannes cabal series, the first being the set up to his background with the undead train - worth reading before starting book 2. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. F. M. Dodd
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series so far
This is another excellent Johannes Cabal story and it was good all the way through. Never predictable with well described characters and good flowing story line. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Alec
4.0 out of 5 stars My first Cabal
Character of Cabal is excellent but would like to read of his evil side more than the good he has to do.
Published 11 months ago by jan
4.0 out of 5 stars great fun
I read the first and enjoyed it but this was better. Well written, funny and thoroughly enjoyable. I might get addicted to this series...
Published 12 months ago by Reviewrunner
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabal sees off the Balkans
Another thrilling excursion for everyone's favourite (?) necromancer, this time through the adventuring style of John Buchan and similar authors. Read more
Published 14 months ago by MR ALASDAIR G FORBES
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book but defective on kindle
This book is really really good, but dont buy it on kindle, it is defective there is a large space between every paragraph, even if they only contain one line. Read more
Published on 27 April 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Amoral
The first book Johannes Cabal Necromancer is about as odd as it gets. Johannes himself in that book was hugely intriguing and fantastically irreverent. Read more
Published on 26 April 2012 by M. G. Chisholm
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably my favourite Johannes Cabal book to date
I'll freely admit that I am a fan of Herr Cabal. I have enjoyed all three books published to date, and plan to read the rest of the series just as soon as Jonathan Howard can write... Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by S Cooke
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Romp
I enjoyed the first book but this is much better: characters are fuller, plots twist more and always at the centre the enigmatic Cabal. Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2012 by The Saint
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