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Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L.…

Johannes Cabal the Detective (2010)

by Jonathan L. Howard

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I really can't stress enough that the dry humor, sarcasm, and just overall sort of way of describing things that JLH employs when he writes the Cabal books is wonderful and superb. Just as much of that in this one as in the first one.

Also, some recurring characters! I loved seeing Leonie Barrow again, especially since her part was much larger this time and that allowed us to really get an idea of who she is as a person because we got to see more of her and we got to see her interacting with Cabal more often and the way that they played off one another and interacted was just marvelous. I loved every second of it.

I loved this book's big bad. He, and they, were certainly interesting and good at being villains.

The majority of the book is set up like a parlor game murder mystery, except the murders are real. Death, intrigue, conspiracies, zombies, and a locked room mystery. We get so much awesome out of this book it's difficult to put down for too long a time period.

I will say, though, that there are parts that I found to be really tedious and boring, and those would be the technical bits about the aeroships and entomopters, and where things got too bogged down in second-by-second detail. At those points it was a little difficult for me to keep focused, but I think that while those parts weren't my cup of tea they would certainly be another type of reader's favorite parts of the book. So, don't let that stop you from reading it, especially since even though I admit there were some boring areas the overall book was a page-turner.

I think my favorite part is the last bit, the end where JLH explains Cabal's journey home through the point of view of a new character he met along the way named Enright.

Definitely fun to be had by all and worth every penny, and every second of time spent reading it. ( )
  madam_razz | Apr 25, 2017 |
Necromancers can be detectives too. Of course if the necromancer in question is a certain Johannes Cabal, I suspect there are any number of things he could be. Metallurgist? Horologist? Alchemist? I rather like all these ideas. Now if only his creator, the unstoppable Jonathan Howard, would take note.

In any event, this time Cabal is trying to escape the authorities of some uptight country called Senza because he's stolen a priceless and much-guarded book from its national library. To seal his escape, he dons the identity of one of its civil servants, and proceeds to board the Princess Hortense. This vessel, however, is not a ship, but an aeroship...it even comes with its own delightfully detailed diagram. It's a kind of zeppelin-meets-hot air balloon, and it is here that Cabal runs into some serious trouble. As though impersonating a somewhat-sociable civil servant weren't hard enough, now he has to contend with someone trying to off him by pushing him off the Hortense!

Leonie Barrow from the previous novel, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, is a prominent character here too. The author does try to explain Cabal's and Leonie's antecedents, but readers who haven't read Necromancer might end up feeling a bit foggy. The rest of the cast though is brand new, and no one has any trouble being memorable. The format is classic old-world evening-dress and chit-chat laden, with the quintessential 'suicide or murder' question being presented early in the voyage of the Hortense. Cabal with his relentlessly probing brain notices things about the 'suicide'; very soon after he begins investigating comes the attempt on his life and then he really starts to play detective.

Read full review at: https://devikamenon.blogspot.com/2016/09/readings-johannes-cabal-detective.html ( )
  dmenon90 | Sep 24, 2016 |
It is interesting how different this is from the 1st book, the first was dark and bent on the occult, the second is a steampunk murder mistery. Johannes Cabal goes Agatha Christie this time. Both are witty and imaginative, main drawback for me are some inconsistancies in the storyline.

( )
  LauraM77 | Jun 28, 2016 |
fun and slightly sarcastic throughout; a tale of political plotting and murder on an airship in distant (vaguely middle Russian sounding) countries... It kept reminding me of The Ambassador with Mitchell & Webb - diplomatic tensions in Tazbekistan - which is no bad thing. I hadn't realised that this was book 2 when I picked it up, and will get around to book 1 on the strength of this. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is the second book in the Johannes Cabal series, and it's quite a bit different from the first installment. Though the humor is as detached and macabre as ever, the atmosphere is jarringly divergent, to the point where it almost feels like it is set in a different world. The Necromancer was centered around a carnival, and felt very dark and grim. This one is a steampunk mystery novel set on an airship, so it feels very different and it took me awhile to settle in.

After I recovered a bit from the change of scenery, however, I found myself enjoying The Detective just as much as the previous book. It's an intentionally stereotypical mystery, to the point where the cast is introduced to the reader over dinner and the murder happens directly afterward, in a locked room. That is sort of the point, and it doesn't matter anyway because if you are reading this book you are reading it for Cabal as a character, and I'm happy to say he is on point once again.

I loved it, and I'm already looking forward to reading the next book sometime in the future. ( )
2 vote Ape | Mar 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I recommend the book highly. It is silly, erudite, and part a playful modern variant of the locked door murder mystery. Johannes is one of the most interesting fictional characters of our still new century, and, as a necromancer or detective, a pleasing diversion from heat, humidity, and awaiting the Blago verdict.
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Other sins only speak; murder shreiks out.
The element of water moistens the earth,
But blood flies upwards and bedews the heavens.
--John Webster
For Louise
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The condemned cell stank of cats.
I work alone. If you insist on having a spy present to report on my actions, he can sit quietly in the corner and stay out of my way. I give you your emperor doing a reasonable impersonation of a living person and you give me my freedom. That is the deal.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385528094, Hardcover)

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 run from the local government.

Stealing the identity of a minor bureaucrat, Cabal takes passage on the Princess Hortense, a passenger aeroship that is leaving the country. The deception seems perfect, and Cabal looks forward to a quiet trip and a clean escape, until he comes face-to-face with Leonie Barrow, an enemy from the old days who could blow his cover. But when a fellow passenger throws himself to his death, or at least that is how it appears, Cabal begins to investigate out of curiosity. His minor efforts result in a vicious attempt on his own  life—and then the gloves come off.

Cabal and Leonie—the only woman to ever match wits with him—reluctantly team up to discover the murderer. Before they are done, there will be more narrow escapes, involving sword fighting and newfangled flying machines. There will be massive destruction, not to mention resurrected dead . . .

Steampunk meets the classic Sherlockian mystery in this rip-roaring adventure where anything could happen . . . and does.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Stealing the identity of a minor bureaucrat after reclaiming his soul from the Devil, Johannes Cabal escapes aboard a passenger aeroship before encountering an enemy from his past with whom he is forced to collaborate to solve a murder.

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