Johannes Cabal the Detective

Narrated by: Robin Sachs
Series: Johannes Cabal, Book 2
Length: 12 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,263 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Jonathan L. Howard (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

“For anyone whose taste edges towards the intelligent and macabre, this book is a gift...a Lemony Snicket for adults.” ( Fangoria)

What listeners say about Johannes Cabal the Detective

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this listen.

While I did miss a little of the Dark Carnival of Necromancer, Cabal's foray (mostly) out of the arcane and into international intrigue was just as entertaining.

The quality of writing has improved greatly. Although I enjoyed Necromancer, I found it a bit episodic. The storytelling in Detective is much tighter and the author does just a great job ending this book. The epilogue alone is nearly worth the price of admission.

If you read the first and liked it, enjoy anti-heroes (consider a sociopathic Allan Quatermain), or have an appreciation for a dry sense of humor, I absolutely recommend this book.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Decent Successor to the First

Do not be deceived by the title--it is actually mostly a detective story. :) Okay, I jest a bit, but after Book 1, I expected I suppose more supernatural twists.. more fantastical stuff. As it was, we were treated to a bit in the beginning and a bit at the end, but most of the book was a steampunk detective story.

Parts of the book were slow, but Howard keeps it going with interesting turns here and there. What's interesting is that while my wife doesn't really appreciate a book along the lines of the first one, I was able to recommend this one to her (she loves detective stories). She's in the midst of it now, just getting to the detective bits.

Anyways, in terms of characters, Cabal is Cabal--the 'bad' guy you've come to know and.. enjoy reading about. I like the mild interweaving of some of the story from the first book; but it's not enough so that you have to read it first (hence my wife can listen w/o doing so).

By far, for me, the most enjoyable part of the book was the last bit. Was it the prologue? I don't remember how it was framed, but it was fun--more Cabal style. That's what I look for in Cabal books.

Sachs is a different reader than the first book, but he manages a close enough continuity in voice that Cabal is still Cabal. He does the various accents quite well; I think I detected some intentional hiding and showing of a mild German accent for Cabal, which was masterful. Very well done; I look forward to more books read by Sachs. I think he is a reader on par with/comparable Guidall and Dale, which I think are masters.

Overall, I did enjoy it and if you like either detective stories or steampunk or antiheroes, you might enjoy it, too.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable second installation, but...

I very much enjoyed Johannes Cabal, Necromancer. This was a fun follow-up with many of the same insightful and humorous quips that were the hallmark of the first book. However, it doesn't feel quite as fresh, new, lively, insightful, and exciting as the first did. I could not wait to start this book. However, about half-way through, I found my mind wandering and looking forward to what I would listen to next.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Eagerly awaiting the sequal

As Neil Gaimen once said that it comes down to just four words "...and then what happened?" that make you want to keep reading.

This book will make you wonder "and then what happened" each time you have to take a break from listening. Interestingly, Cabal seems to become much more human and less scientific in this.

As usual, the narration is suburb. Will most certainly buy the sequel.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Steampunk, Mystery and Dark Fantasy

Second in the Johannes Cabal series. This is a new narrator, the previous one who made Johannes Cabal Necromancer a five star listen, unfortunately died of septicemia. However, I cannot find anything to criticize about Robin Sachs, the new narrator.

The book opens with Cabal, the Necromancer, the prisoner in a dungeon. Everyone, including Johannes Cabal, is expecting his execution, but instead, his captors have another plan.

Those who know Cabal know that he will not take execution lying down, and so he sets out to throw a spanner in the political works and then take off on the maiden voyage of the Princess Hortense. Shortly into the voyage a fellow passenger disappears. Then a murder occurs in a locked room. Cabal who does not have a great deal of patience with his fellow passengers, finds himself, much against his worse judgment, pulled into an investigation of what is happening on board.

Darkly funny, I enjoyed Cabal's machinations almost as much as I enjoyed the first book in the series.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

droll and enjoyable

I enjoyed this very much. The mystery is compelling, the narration is superb, and Johannes is...well...Johannes. He gets a few chinks in his armor and it's just enough to keep him human, barely. And yet he remains a sympathetic character you can't help but root for. There's a wonderful short story at the end of this novel, too. Just a warning- it could be considered a bit slow for those used to quick-paced action, but I absolutely love the use of language in this novel- it's part of its charm.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Even though it's the second it's a wonderful intro

And you will never find yourself rooting so much for such an unlikeable man. Excellent writing, great adventure, wickedly funny (someone had to use that phrase) irony: one of the great new series of the early 21st. Now read it before I resort to hyperbole.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great read!!

absolutely loved it great story and characters. really love this story line good story teller as well

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Big Jonathan Howard fan.

How he makes such a despicable character beloved is work of genius. A most enjoyable read and listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Johannes Cabal, still funny as Hell

I really do love Johannes Cabal, but I preferred him as a necromancer much more than as a detective. I did enjoy this second installment of the series. The humor is still there, it is just that this plot has some drag to it. A travelling carnival of the damned, and not one but two trips to Hell to have it out with Satan is a hard act to follow. So, JC lands himself in prison while trying to 'liberate' a copy of Principia Necromantica from the library of a fictitious European country. From there he lands in the middle of some political intrigues (more fictitious countries) that do not interest him in the least, all this while escaping on an airship (a possible attempt to break into the steampunk genre). It is on this airship that the mysterious deaths occur. Is it possible that when JC got his soul back from Satan that it also came with a pesky conscience? Maybe, because he does end up solving the mysteries while having some wild adventures. I did laugh out loud a lot. And JC is still as dry, and hilarious as ever. There is a new narrator, Robin Sachs. He takes over the series seamlessly. Guns don't kill people, people do. "Yes, but guns make it so much easier"-JC

1 person found this helpful