Archive for the Occult Detectives Category

13 Days till Hallowe’en and the Devil Rides Out

Posted in Media Macabre, Occult Detectives on October 18, 2017 by Occult Detective

We’ve entered into the sublime swell of telluric energies that rise during this, the season of the witch. Thirteen glorious days out from All Hallow’s Eve and the esoteric influx of eldritch sorceries are nearing their zenith…

Today I’d like to spotlight two items that are, in a sense, a single thing. I draw now your attention from the mundane world about you and entreat your assiduity be turned toward one of the premiere examples of the occult detective genre — The Devil Rides Out.


Dennis Wheatley was a prolific author, to say the least. Heralded as “The Prince of Thriller Writers”, I favored his “Black Magic / Duke de Richleau” novels, of course, but Wheatley’s work as a whole were brilliantly well-paced. I chewed through them as a boy and still hold a fond place in my heart for them.

Yes, they’re stuffy and so very British, but that’s part of their charm.

As for what I consider his finest work, The Devil Rides Out, written by Dennis Wheatley in 1934, is a sordid tale of black magic and the occult. While it is a product of its time, I believe it still holds up and has a captivating allure, even now.

It helped considerably that Wheatley got on quite well with Aleister Crowley and, it should come as no surprise, the Beast bears more than a passing resemblance to the novel’s antagonist Mocata.



As much as I love the novel, however, the film adaptation of The Devil Rides Out is really something special. It aired on Turner Classic Movies last night and, once again, I could not look away. Christopher Lee as Duke de Richleau is not only brilliant casting, but is easily Lee’s finest performance, and that’s saying a lot.

“Director Terence Fisher has a ball with this slice of black magic, based on the Dennis Wheatley novel. He has built up a suspenseful pic, with several tough highlights, and gets major effect by playing the subject dead straight and getting similar serious performances from his capable cast. Christopher Lee is for once on the side of the goodies.” — Variety

If you’ve not seen it, you should make a point of immersing yourself in The Devil Rides Out. It holds with me a rather curious distinction, shared only by Angel Heart, in that it is a movie that surpasses its source material despite said material being near brilliant.

It is an inspiring film, heavy handed at times, but a delight to the senses. It draws from the novel, capturing its frantic pacing, but is able to frame the narrative through Lee’s performance in such a way that elevates the material even further.


WIN a copy of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives edited by Judika Illes

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occult Detectives on October 11, 2017 by Occult Detective

In keeping with the All Hallow’s Read tradition, I have a treat for you. I’m looking to give someone a copy of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by Judika Illes.


Illes has done a masterful job of poring over decades of brilliant occult detective tales and selecting some of the very best to share with you.

Check out my review.

Trust me, you want need this book.

So, what do you have to do to get it?

Well, there’s the trick.

First of all, I have to limit this to folks in the continental US. Sorry about that, but I’m operating on an author’s budget.

For those of you who qualify, all you need do is tell or show me who your favorite fictional occult detective is and why.

Simple enough.

You will be judged based on the content of your submission. This is open to writers and illustrators. Length is not a factor, but the overall piece will be viewed as a whole. Be creative. Dazzle me with your words or pictures, but most of all I want to feel your passion for the character.

Yes, I am willing to accept multiple submissions.

Submission deadline is OCTOBER 24th.

Send all submissions to: contest (at) occultdetective (dot) com

The winner will receive The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, a signed copy of my novel Shadows Over Somerset, and a signed copy of my now rarer-than-rare Landon Connors, Occult Detective comic.

The winning entry will be posted on this website and spread across social media accordingly.

Now Available —The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on September 24, 2017 by Occult Detective

Judika Illes has put together a terrific occult detective collection. I reviewed it some time back when it was up for pre-order. Well, it’s now available via Amazon and other online outlets, just in time for Hallowe’en.

Here’s the review I wrote then. Allow me to preface it by adding that it’s even better now that I’ve read it a second time. It more than deserves a place on your shelf.

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available now from

My review of William Meikle’s Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse & Other Stories

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , on September 23, 2017 by Occult Detective

William Meikle has a new collection out featuring all new tales starring William Hope Hodgson’s occult detective Thomas Carnacki.



The Edinburgh Townhouse and Other Stories is an assemblage of cracking good yarns written by an author who is at the top of his game. Meikle is adept at immolating* Hodgson’s prose, but I find Meikle’s take on Carnacki even more compelling.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Hodgson’s tales and consider Carnacki an indispensable fixture in the occult detective tradition, but William Meikle, who I am proud to count as a friend and compatriot, does far more with the character.

The stories, while set firmly in the era, breathe with a more sinister air about them, with a more urgent sensibility.

My favorite of the stories closes out the collection and is as fine an example of the occult detective genre as you’re apt to find. Once again in service to a young Winston Churchill, whom is written brilliantly with what seems to be the perfect voice for this historic figure, Carnacki is charged to dispel a lingering evil within The White Stag Inn, a place where hermetic sorceries were employed by men  with devilish intent, succumbing to the temptations of carnal revelries and feeding their hunger for power beyond measure.

Into the Light is a rollicking good yarn, atmospheric and perverse, with layered, nuanced storytelling that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The other tales in the collection, including The Cheyne Walk Infestation, The King’s Treasure, and The Edinburgh Townhouse, are all equal to the task.

Willie is, by no stretch of the imagination, one of our generations finest writers. He is unapologetically firmly entrenched in pulp fiction traditions, and by the gods, his words never cease to thrill me to no end.

Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse and Other Stories is published by Lovecraft eZine Press and available now from Amazon. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, and if you haven’t already, there are two previous Carnacki collections that will offer the same spinetingling chills as this one…

And the covers by Wayne Miller are almost worth the price of admission alone.

Let’s be honest here, if William Meikle’s name is on the book, it’s well worth picking up. You’re guaranteed one helluva ride.

*I meant “emulating”, but in a case of cognitive phonology typed “immolating” instead. I was going to change it, but quite like the visual of Willie sacrificing Hodgeson’s words on some sort of pagan altar, capturing his essence and style, to be delivered by black magic to those of us eager for such tales.

Occultoberfest 2017

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on September 20, 2017 by Occult Detective


The dark moon drifts across the naked sky this night and whispers for the witching season to begin anew.

Yes, my friends, it’s that time again, when the world is awakened to the arcane mysteries, when the veil grows thin and spirits, both dark and grey, move among us…

There is no time more magical. As the night becomes chill and the trees are painted from autumn’s burnt palette, I feel at home, at peace. Summer finally gives up its ghost and winter takes the stage, the sorcerous touch of icing death on its fingertips.

Oh, I have such treats in store for you, my fellow esoteric sleuths. We shall begin, however, with a gentle reminder, but one of great import: Give a Scary Book this Hallowe’en.


All Hallow’s Read has become a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simple to take part: during the month of Hallowe’en, or better yet, on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. Young or old. It doesn’t matter. It can be a novel or a collection or even a comic book. But give words, the scarier the better.

All this stems from the mind of Neil Gaiman who wrote, some seven odd years back —

I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…

Give a scary book.

If you don’t know what kinds of books there are, or what would be appropriate for the person you’re giving a book to, talk to a bookseller. They love to help, most of them. (The ones that don’t tend not to be booksellers for long.) Talk to librarians. (Do not plan to give away their books though, unless they are having a library sale.)

That’s it. That’s my idea.

Scary book. Hallowe’en.

Who’s with me?

Well, I am Neil. I can think of no better way to celebrate the season.



Three from Seven

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Occult Detective

I’ve had three books published by Seventh Star Press — two in the Cairnwood Manor series (Shadows Over Somerset / Keepers of the Dead) and the first in my Tales of the Liber Monstrorum (First Born), with the second (Descendant) soon to follow.

I am, understandably, proud of each of them. They are, oddly enough, all very different. Shadows is something of a Gothic Horror, while Keepers is far more Fantasy/Adventure. First Born is a mixed bag of traditional Occult Detective tales and Urban Fantasy, while Descendant will have elements of both of those with a bit of Police Procedural for good measure.

One thing I can promise about each and every one of them is this — I did my level best to spin a good yarn.

I hope you agree…

The Cairnwood Manor Series

sosShadows Over Somerset
Trade Paperback / Ebook

kotdKeepers of the Dead
Trade Paperback / Ebook

Tales of the Liber Monstrorum

Cover 01 First BornFirst Born
Trade Paperback / Ebook


01 sigil magick


Sneak Peek: The Court of Swords

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags on July 28, 2017 by Occult Detective


Here’s a quick look at the Court of Swords from the forthcoming Occult Detective Illustrated Tarot.

A reminder that all my Tarot Decks are available through my Etsy store, TheOccultDetective.

And my occult detective collection — First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum — is available via Amazon and other online retail outlets in both ebook and trade paperback.


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