Guido Henkel visits the Occult Detective

Guido Henkel, author of the Jason Dark Supernatural Mystery series, joins us here on the Occult Detective to share what inspired his foray into the genre. I’ve personally had the pleasure of reading several Jason Dark stories and, as you might recall, selected Ghosts Templar as the Best Short Story in the inaugural Occult Detective Awards last year. Well, Jason Dark’s back in Curse of Kali, available for only .99 cents as a kindle download on Amazon. So, please, give a warm welcome to Guido Henkel as he pulls up a chair and gives us a glimpse into how Jason Dark was born…

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The Sherlock Holmes Connection and Other Influences

A Guest Blog by Guido Henkel

I have just released Curse of Kali, the tenth Jason Dark supernatural mystery, and I think this book in particular warrants a look at some of my true inspirations. The question has come up many times — in fact it is one of the standard questions any author routinely gets when doing interviews — but given the unique story blend that “Curse of Kali” contains, you might be curious to find out more about some of the things that inspire me month after month while I am writing these supernatural mysteries.

When it comes to the Jason Dark books, there is one source that stands out for me like no other. One book, that essentially made me want to pick up a pen and begin to write the kinds of books that make up the Jason Dark mysteries. That one book is The List of Seven by Mark Frost.

Its Victorian atmosphere immediately captured me and, being a long-time fan of classic monster movies, the world of fog-shrouded London gets my imagination flowing pronto. But the thing I loved most about the book was the fact how Frost wove his mystery by liberally throwing in historic figures as well as literary personalities to give the world color. Heck, the entire book is one big homage to Sherlock Holmes from beginning to end.

I enjoyed this approach so much that I decided from the beginning that my Jason Dark mysteries would be in that same vein — without copying Frost, however. Instead I was dedicated to finding my own tone, my own voice.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are another huge influence on me, as anyone could probably tell. Not only do I often think of Jason Dark as some kind of a Holmes-on-steroids, but I also loosely refer to characters from Holmes’ mysteries rather frequently. I am not talking about Holmes and Watson only, but readers of my mysteries may have noticed that Jason Dark often peruses a group of young street urchins around a boy named Tom Baker — a nod in homage to the Baker Street Irregulars from Conan Doyle’s books. In addition, attentive readers may have noticed a certain red-haired character in Dead by Dawn — a beggar by the name of Boone who suddenly disappears. This is a reference to Hugh Boone from the Holmes story The Man with the Twisted Lip and those intimately familiar with that story will get yet another kick out of the red-head’s encounter with Jason Dark, as Siu Lin points out that she believes the beggar is a fraud, which is, of course, true and in line with the Holmes story. The reference goes even further later in the story when the beggar disappears and Jason Dark mentions that some consulting detective had him arrested. Again, my nod at the plot of The Man with the Twisted Lip. That was only one example of many you can find strewn throughout the books.

Other important influences were Sax Rohmer’s Fu Man Chu books. I kind of borrow the character from time to time and made the Chinese criminal mastermind a recurring character in the Jason Dark books, crossing paths with my occult detective time and again. In fact, the book that will follow Curse of Kali is titled Fu Man Chu’s Vampire, promising to feature the crime lord very prominently in the story.

Needless to say that the genre classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, The Werewolf of Paris are all part of my mental repertoire as well, along with more contemporary books.

I have been a great admirer of Chinese fantasy and horror films for more years than I care to remember and hopping vampires have been prominently featured in various of these films. They are part of the Chinese folklore, much the same way that vampires are in our Western cultures. However, I had encountered a hopping vampire in a book only once before, in Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula. In my quest to feed the world of Jason Dark with exciting monsters, I decided to give the hopping vampires a shot. Here we had a creature that was dark, gruesome, terrifying but at the same time very exotic. Exactly what I needed for my opening scene of in Curse of Kali to add a certain, fresh charm to the story, but also to give Fu Man Chu a very unique army of henchmen.

There are countless other sources, of course, that influence me, give me ideas and inspire me — too many to recount, and oftentimes I won’t even remember what spawned a particular idea. It could have been a line in a book, a phrase of lyrics from a song, an image or scene from a movie, a painting or a bit of historic trivia. I try to keep an open mind at all times and allow ideas to pour in at any moment. That’s what I have a Writer’s Journal for, to write down all ideas I’ve had so that I can easily browse them at a later date and begin to massage them until the work in the context I need them in.

Maybe I have piqued your curiosity now, maybe enough so for you to take a closer look at Curse of Kali, a story that brimming with plot twists and mystery. And, of course, an enormous thunderstorm with twitching bolts of lightning, and… wait… I would actually like you to read it, so let me stop here before I give away everything.

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Feel free to check out my latest release, Curse of Kali, and if you do, please do not hesitate to leave a review, or to contact me directly with thoughts or comments you might have. I love to hear from my readers at all times! For a constant feed straight from my brain, feel free to also follow me on Twitter (@GuidoHenkel).

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Guido Henkel is the author of ten Jason Dark supernatural mysteries, including the hot new release, Curse of Kali, as well as Demon’s Night, Heavens on Fire, Dr. Prometheus, The Blood Witch, Terrorlord and the award-winning Ghosts Templar.

You can find out more about the books at http://www.jasondarkseries.com or follow his blog at http://www.guidohenkel.com

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3 Responses to “Guido Henkel visits the Occult Detective”

  1. Thanks for letting me stop by and talk about my inspirations here on your site, Bob.

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