Welcome to The Occult Detective

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on November 14, 2022 by Occult Detective

Welcome, sleuths. Pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink. We’ve got plenty to talk about…

Coming Soon: Last Writes Returns!

Posted in Last Writes with... on January 27, 2023 by Occult Detective

Welcome, sleuths!

I would like to invite you to join us,
after a seemingly long hiatus,
to a new season of Last Writes.

We have a number of brilliant guests lined up
that include occultists, paranormal investigators,
musicians, artists, and more.

Last Writes relaunches on Imbolc,
being Woden’s Day, the first of February

with Thelemite Maevius Lynn!

See you then.

What I’m Reading in 2023

Posted in The Library on January 17, 2023 by Occult Detective

2022 was rough. Hell, it’s been rough since 2020, but we persevere. I read less than I would have liked last year: 65 books. There was a time when reading more than a 100 was effortless. But as we grow older, our eyes tire and it seems we’ve far less time. So, I’m shifting my focus. There will be far more DNFs, for sure. Quality is the name of the game, not quantity. And I want to seek out things I’ve always meant to read, but haven’t. I’ve also started “booktubing” a bit. It’s not been a smooth start, but I’ll get there…

01. The Best of C.L. Moore
02. Northwest of Earth by C.L. Moore
03. Kolchak: The Night Stalker, edited by James Aquilone
04. The 16th International Saga Conference: Sagas and Space
05. The Ninja by Eric Van Lustbader
06. Possession by A. S. Byatt

The 13th Annual Occult Detective Awards

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 13, 2023 by Occult Detective

What did I think of Conan: Blood of the Serpent?

Posted in Book Review on January 10, 2023 by Occult Detective

When the Full Moon rises, look for the 13th Annual Occult Detective Awards to rise with it

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on December 29, 2022 by Occult Detective

The 13th Annual Occult Detective Awards are scheduled for January 6th at 6:09 pm EST, to coincide with the rise of the Wolf Moon.

Slim pickings this year, but we’ll be launching a new format, so stay tuned. There may just be some surprises for you.

I was a guest on Olde World Paranormal Podcast

Posted in Media, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on December 20, 2022 by Occult Detective

I had a great time chatting with Nick and Sean about these haunted hinterlands of Indiana.

I was a bit under the weather, but I still think the interview came off pretty well.

If you’ve not listened to their podcast before, Nick and Sean run a very relaxed interview session and they’ve had some stellar guests on in the past — Michelle Belanger, Heather Taddy, Shane Pittman, Dustin Pari, Reverend Long. I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down with them and appreciated their humor and dedication.

My Thoughts on Demon at the Door by Michael Arruda

Posted in Book Review, Horror, Occult Detectives on December 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

Demons come out at night.

I’d known that since I could first talk. I remember this because I watched my first horror movie when I was three. Scared the crap out of me. Most fun 90 minutes I’d ever had in my young life. But the information was clear. The night was a bad and scary place. Everything came out at night: vampires, monsters, ghosts, and especially demons.

It was not a good time to be alone, which was why when my parents suggested that at 12, I was old enough to babysit my younger brother Tim, who was 10, and my little sister Egg, who was 8, I told them it was a bad idea. Too many monsters.

So says twelve-year-old Dylan Holcomb, moments before he and his younger brother and sister disappear from their home without a trace. Special Agent Dani Cerra is assigned the case, and to her chagrin, the children’s parents also hire Sean Ryan, a former Catholic priest who now works as a paranormal investigator. Together, Cerra and Ryan follow the clues in a case which begins with the disappearance of three children from their home with no sign of forced entry or exit, continues into the lurid arena of child abduction, and ends with a journey into the supernatural world of demons, a hellish realm filled with unceasing fires and tortures.

Michael Arruda has written a novel in which the human villains are every bit as horrifying as their demonic counterparts, maybe even more so. Demon at the Door is a tale of the supernatural, a story of three children fighting for their lives against both human predators and demonic, while a flawed FBI agent and a troubled paranormal investigator put their differences behind them and leave no stone unturned in their efforts to find and save the children.

Demon at the Door is horror author and movie critic Michael Arruda’s second novel, following his science fiction adventure Time Frame.

I’d been aware of Michael Arruda’s work at Cinema Knife Fight, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect of his sophomore novel, his first foray into horror, when a pdf ARC for Demon at the Door arrived in my inbox from Macabre Ink (Crossroads Press). What I didn’t expect was to be reading a pretty decent occult detective novel.

This is just the sort of set-up I crave in a good supernatural mystery — imperiled kids (gets me every time) is a good touch to generate the sort of emotions you’re going for here, and they are compelling kids. Cerra and Ryan though, our erstwhile occult detectives, are the stars of the show. I enjoy their characterization, and this is true of all the characters populating the novel. Every one feels real and grounded. And the supernatural elements are tastefully done. Not all demons smell of brimstone. I’m glad we get some great variety in our villainy.

Arruda has some skills, to be sure. Some of the dialogue is a little rough in places, a little too “TV”, but he understands pacing and the old bait and switch, managing both like a pro. I think he shows a lot of promise and I would certainly recommend Demon at the Door. While I feel there are some growing pains evident in the prose, it’s a solid page turner and well worth the time spent with it.

Here’s to hoping for more from this world in the future.

Demon at the Door by Michael Arruda is available in pod trade paperback on Amazon for just $16.99

Everyone deserves a little dark magick under their tree.

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing, Yuletide on December 8, 2022 by Occult Detective

The perfect gift for fans of occult detective fiction, if I do say so myself, the Landon Connors: Occult Detective Omnibus collects 22 stories in more than 500 pages, including the critically acclaimed novel Descendant.

Order your copy, in glorious hardcover
or stylish trade paperback, today.

My Thoughts on @WeiserBooks’ Living Thelema & The Magick of Aleister Crowley

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 7, 2022 by Occult Detective

Two of the most important books on Thelema, the spearhead of the Western Esoteric Religio-Spiritual Movement received and disseminated by Aleister Crowley, have been rereleased by Weiser Books this month of December:

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

They compliment each other very well, and their reissue is timely. Thelema, over the course of the pandemic lockdowns, became elevated in the discourse across the occult circles of social media. Now, in that aftermath, these books, and the anticipation of Marco Viscanti’s The Aleister Crowley Manual: Thelemic Magick for Modern Times due in February, look to offer up a sort of Thelemic Renaissance which I am quite eager to observe and comment on.

Now, let’s have a look at these December titles.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

The 30th Anniversary of the Classic Guide to Thelema, Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual System of Ritual Magick, with a New Introduction by the Author.

This is the perfect introductory text for readers who wonder what the works—rather than the myth—of Aleister Crowley are all about.

DuQuette begins by dispatching some of the myths that have surrounded Crowley’s life and legend. He then explores the practice of rituals themselves, unpacking Crowley’s often opaque writing and offering his own commentary. Step by step, and in plain English, he presents a course of study with examples of rituals and explanations of their significance. DuQuette also includes a survey of many of Crowley’s original works with an extensive bibliography and endnotes.

Formerly titled The Magick of Thelema, then released in a revised edition published in 2003, this Weiser Classics edition includes a new introduction by the author.

.:.

I am quite familiar with this book, having read both previous iterations. The standout for this edition was the great Introduction by Jason Louv who delivered an insightful call to action and beautiful summation of Thelemic thought.

The book itself is a “Weiser Classic” for good reason. Lon DuQuette is an elegant writer without all the pretense. He takes you on a journey and speaks with an almost folksy wisdom that makes you comfortable. All the while, however, he is presenting his interpretation of the truths behind the sometimes archaic language that intimidates many initiates.

The Law is for All? Well, DuQuette makes that maxim a reality by delivering a master class in the ins-and-outs of Thelema. A must-read book for anyone interested in what makes Thelema tick.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette is available wherever books are sold. He is your obligatory link to AMAZON.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

“The most thorough and understandable exposition of the underlying theories and the practical applications of the spiritual disciplines of Thelema currently available. A landmark work.” ―Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Magick of Aleister Crowley

The system of spiritual attainment developed by Aleister Crowley is notoriously challenging in its scope. Living Thelema, adapted from the popular podcast of the same name, brings a welcome approachability to Crowley’s material, without diminishing the depth of the system. The author focuses on the practical and experiential aspects of the path of Thelema, allowing the reader to grasp the true transformative power of the system.

Beginners and advanced practitioners alike will find much useful advice here, as Shoemaker brings his characteristic down-to-earth style to bear on topics such as ritual and meditation practices, sex magick, astral projection, psychotherapy for magicians, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that pinnacle of attainment known as the crossing of the Abyss.

The author’s background as a practicing psychotherapist allows an entirely unique fusion of esoteric wisdom and cognitive science.

“In this entertaining and (dare I say it?) lively book, David Shoemaker reminds us that Thelema is not just a philosophy or a study but a spiritual practice. From applied ‘how to’ advice to thought-provoking ‘how about’ posers, Dr. Shoemaker offers his personal take―informed by twenty years of walking the talk, along with his incisiveness as a professional therapist―on how to get the most out of the fundamental Thelemic practices of yoga and ritual, both inside and outside of the temple.” ―Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley

.:.

I had the Anima Solis edition of this book and you’ll not find many differences between these volumes, though the former is passingly rare and, having lost mine through an unfortunate accident, this edition is a godsend, as they say. Shoemaker’s narrative voice is the star here. It’s why I see such a similarity and complimentary aspect between this an Baba Lon’s book.

Living Thelema presents a system for making the practice a part of your life, by embracing the spirituality of it, and stripping away some of the things that weigh it down. All things you add later as you advance and progress.

It’s well-reasoned, personal, and insightful. It find the beauty in the symmetry and simplicity, by making the complex palatable.

It’s a beautiful book and should be read and studied by magicians and witches of all stripes.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker is available wherever books are sold. Here is your link to AMAZON. Use it wisely.

I could go on, but I am struggling with a nasty bout of flu and while the spirit is willing, the mind and body are not up to the task. Suffice to say, these books are definitive. If you have an interest in Thelema, I believe this is where you begin, before Crowley. These prime you for what is to come in the Old Crow’s Holy Books.

Enjoy.

My Thoughts on The Stone Serpent by Nicholas Kaufmann

Posted in Book Review, Horror on November 29, 2022 by Occult Detective

Nick Kaufmann’s one of those writers who I’ve always thought deserved a larger audience. I really enjoyed Chasing the Dragon, Dying Is My Business, Die and Stay Dead, In the Shadow of the Axe, and Hunt at World’s End. With that sort of track record, I was really looking forward to reading the ARC for The Stone Serpent he and publisher David Naill Wilson sent me for review. I should point out, The Stone Serpent is book two in the Dr. Laura Powell series and I have not read the predecessor, The Hungry Earth.

Before I continue, here’s the blurb from Crossroad Press:

“Nicholas Kaufmann offers up an unputdownable blend of gruesome body horror and fast-paced suspense.” – Ray Garton, author of Live Girls and Ravenous

Medical Examiner Dr. Laura Powell didn’t think anything could be more frightening than what she uncovered in an autopsy a year ago. Yet, in this chilling sequel to Nicholas Kaufmann’s bestselling The Hungry Earth, the cause of death is literally petrifying.

When a completely petrified corpse ends up on her autopsy table, Laura is convinced it must be a fossil, but the evidence says otherwise. Impossibly, the man on her table died in a car crash earlier that day. But what could cause a human body to transform so quickly from flesh to a hard stonelike substance?

Laura’s investigation takes her out of her hometown of Sakima, New York, and into dangerous new territory. From the streets of Valley Grove, home to a fundamentalist religious sect under the thumb of a brutal, vindictive leader, to the bowels of Thurmond Biotech, a secretive pharmaceutical company hellbent on developing the first anti-aging miracle drug, what she unearths is far more terrifying than she could have imagined.

Vicious, deadly creatures are preying on the people of Valley Grove, killing them with a highly toxic venom that ravages and transforms their bodies in horrifying ways. As the creatures claim more victims, striking from out of the darkness with lightning-fast speed, Laura must find a way to stop them before they spread to the rest of the Hudson Valley. But will her search for answers put her in even more danger by sending her into the heart of the creatures’ den?

With The Stone Serpent, multiple award-nominated author Nicholas Kaufmann delivers another gripping thriller in the Dr. Laura Powell series.

Let’s get this out of the way first. You definitely do not need to read The Hungry Earth before tackling The Stone Serpent. Kaufmann tells you everything you need to know throughout. That said, I now want to read The Hungry Earth because Dr. Powell is a terrific protagonist.

Nick navigates pacing like a pro. The Stone Serpent is suspenseful without ever becoming bogged down by plot. It’s a roller coaster ride from the outset, with a unique body horror twist that keeps you glued to the page. While I think some of the subplots fall a little flat, the characters all make up for it. Powell and Booker are a great team and there are some truly despicable bad guys they find themselves up against.

The real winner here is the amount of research the author did to keep the book moving and not bury the reader under an avalanche of info-dumps. He juggles this perfectly, keeping the information flowing organically. That’s a neat trick I wish more authors could wrap their heads around.

The Stone Serpent is solid FOUR out of FIVE STARS Horror. I highly recommend it. Hell, I’ve not even read the first one and I’ll go ahead and recommend it too. Laura Powell is a great character. I hope to read more of her in the future.

The Stone Serpent by Nicholas Kaufmann is published by Macabre Ink, an imprint of Crossroad Press, and available via AMAZON.

And, while I have your attention, as an occult detective fan, I recommend the two Trent novels — Dying is My Business and Die and Stay Dead. You won’t be disappointed except to learn there are only the two.

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