Recent read #7: Johannes Cabal the Detective

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan Howard is the second book in the Johannes Cabal series.  Johannes Cabal, the main character as you may have guessed by the title of the book, is an unpopular  necromancer with a bounty on his head.  In short, he had raised the emperor of a military-state from the dead and turned him into a brain-snacking zombie in front of the national audience.  When he escapes by boarding the Princess Hortense, an aeroship, Johannes becomes an unwilling detective in a murder mystery.  This mystery is structured with the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie-style novel (replace Orient Express with giant dirigible, include a locked room mystery) but without enough of a shock at the reveal in the end.  However, the story's winding element of steampunk (I feel like reengineered flying devices tend to make things more steampunky) kept the setting unique and added intrigue to the book.  Johannes is a cold and nasty piece of work, I'm sure, but I find him to be delightful and hilarious as a main character.  I may have even enjoyed this sequel better than the first.

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