Archive for Occult Detectives

Who’s in the mood for a collection of supernatural thrillers?

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First BornIt’s official.

I am thrilled to announce that the cover reveal for First Born has dropped over on the website of my publisher, Seventh Star Press.

It’s been a long time coming.

These Liber Monstrorum tales, largely focusing on occult detective Landon Connors, have been near and dear to my heart for the past dozen years or so.

Even the Cairnwood Manor books are interwoven into this surreal landscape of supernatural fiction.

First Born is a collection of occult detective stories, all connected to a larger tapestry. These short tales have been placed in chronological order and served up as a prequel to Descendant, a novel featuring many of the characters you’ll be reading about in First Born. Following Descendant will be the novel Born Again and another collection titled Afterbirth.

Intrigued? Here, have a look at First Born’s backcover synopsis:

From the arcane sorceries of “The Wicked Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe,this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

 First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

Now, before I slink off to my library and get back to work, I thought I would leave you with this missive written by a good friend and fellow writer. I hope you’ll consider trying First Born on for size.If you’re into supernatural thrillers, then I think it will be a good fit.

by Steven L. Shrewsbury

Someone asked me why I often spell magick with a ‘k’ attached. True enough, I first read of this spelling via the writings of Aleister Crowley and his use of the number eleven (K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet). Frankly, all cool appearances and Hammer of the Gods references aside, I use it to differentiate between what many may call magic. I’m not talking about magic, like sleight of hand with cards, parlor tricks; table knocking or David Copperfield wet dreams. True Magick has meaning, holds power and can be felt.

That said, I believe magick lurks in Bob Freeman’s tales. No deceit, no tricks, no BS. The stories in this collection hold a connecting resonance and flow naturally. I’ve seen many a writer struggle to find their voice or try to use someone else’s. Bob’s voice can reach a fine crescendo, not unlike the sweep of a wand…then rise and fall with the might of a bludgeon. Some folks want to pretty up their yarns, overcome by an overwhelming desire to whip out their throbbing thesauri. Bob tells a story and entertains, as simply as if he sat down on a couch to relate it. A natural storyteller, his opening lines grab hold fast. In “A Murder of Crows” the opening paragraph ends with the line, “The White Christ rose after three days on the cross, could the servant of the rook do less?” I had to find out more.

Some writers can lose their hold on that delightful feeling that can gush in storytelling, instead vomiting prose that sucks more ass than Dracula at a donkey farm. Bob’s sense of reality and desire to comprehend mysteries of the unknown mingle to keep one’s attention. In this connection, he makes one hungry to devour more. Part of his spell comes from life experience, both in harsh times and good, which give each story a firm frame of grit.

If this is your first taste of Bob’s brew, prepare to be hooked. If you’ve read Bob before, these shorter works will only make the head nod in a desire to read more… especially the teasers that lead up to his novel, DESCENDANT. Enjoy this glimpse into his mind.

The tales here breathe, and oft times, there’s a hint of brimstone, perhaps some of that old black magick lurks in the exhale. Bob’s tales are never typical of the classic mystery, noir or horror tale, but he places a fresh polish on certain underpinnings. His narrative in “Ashes to Ashes” dealing with Crowley’s remains, made me say aloud, “Damn, wish I’d have thought of that.” Knowledgeable beyond my vaguest hoping in such lore, he’s never dull. Bob tells a story that draws one in to accept this reality.

These yarns are Bob Freeman’s. Does he remind me of anyone else? Sure, but to say that tale is a Bob Freeman story and holds a unique magick all its own, hey, what more is there to say? He succeeds in getting it across, hitting the mark, weaving his spell.

So, grab a drink, sit down and get comfy. Let’s go to places only Bob Freeman can see and take us to…they are dark places, moody, scary and downright magickal. Get ready. We’ll be there most of the evening.

Steven L. Shrewsbury
Rural Central Illinois

Hungry like the Wolfe

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on April 5, 2017 by Occult Detective


An illustration of Selina Wolfe, one half of the the occult detective team Wolfe & Crowe.

Selina and her partner, Martin Crowe, will be appearing soon in the Liber Monstrorum Trilogy from Seventh Star Press.

ssp 3

The Cabin in the Woods Audio Drama

Posted in Archive, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2016 by Occult Detective


Doctor Landon Connors, Occult Detective, is summoned to a remote area of the Wisconsin wilderness to investigate a grizzly mystery.

NARRATOR – Chris Hussey
ALETHEA HILL – Shannon Steele
BOO – Katarina Ausley
MATSE – Dan Boud

Theme Music by Ruud Janssen
Background Music by Musica Cthulhiana


Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 7

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on March 22, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


Nightfall did not come soon enough, but a day spent in meditation, even in a rundown fleabag like the Branding Iron, was a day well spent, particularly considering what the night was to bring.

The stars were vibrant pinholes in the black curtain overhead, a tapestry where stories were written by the very gods themselves.

Landon Connors left the battered old GMC on the deserted back hills road and set off on foot, across the cold, desolate frontier of the South Dakota plains. Magic was his guide. Instinct his sense of direction. And prescient was his state of mind.

Coyotes kept their distance, sensing the detective’s temperament. His aura was a beacon of conflicting emotions, and as he crested the low hill to overlook the ruins of a ramshackle farmhouse, those emotions aligned into a singular purpose.

He sat down then, atop that rise, and crossed his legs, painfully. His palms faced the sky, at rest on his knees, middle finger and thumbs touching while the rest fanned out, creating a magical circuit between himself and the cosmos.

A distant howl split the night, but Connors didn’t hear it. Not really. There was another sound more extant, something ancient, primordial, pre-human. It slithered in the dark, between this world and another, here, but not here.

It coursed along, hungry, circling widdershins about the farmhouse ruin, waiting a sacrifice that was being prepared by a blight on the earth. Connors sensed their presence too, could see them in their black robes with his wizard’s eye.

In the quiet of this desert, there was no place to hide.

The detective opened his eyes then and rose gingerly from the dirt and scrub grass. He lit a cigarette, gripped his skull cane tightly, and set off for his confrontation with the black hearts in the godforsaken hovel.

A tingling sensation wove its way through his body, his fingertips nearly sparking with pent up energies. For a brief second he questioned the wisdom of doing this alone, bereft of assistance from his fellow Outriders or any number of allies he’d cultivated in his years of magical congress.

But no, he thought, this was for him alone.

The single story ranch was little more than a shell. No glass remained in the battered window frames, though tattered curtains remained, shielding much of the candlelight that illuminated the proceedings inside.

Connors could hear them now, the mumblings of madmen in demonic discourse.

But it was one voice that stood apart, the voice of his father, and the detective steeled himself as he was set come face to face with the man who had raised him, had taught him the Craft, and then betrayed him in the worst way.

But it was another voice that captured his attention then, as he prepared to enter the derelict steading. It came from behind him, soft and delicate, carried on the cruel Dakota wind.

He turned to see her standing there, dressed in a white robe stained wetly with fresh blood, a gory athame in her left hand.

“Elizabeth?” Connors said, stepping toward his former paramour.

She held her ground, her eyes locked on his, a sinister smile on her lips, one both cruel and telling. There was murder etched on her face, like a mask wove by angry gods.

“I am Elizabeth Crane no more,” she hissed, raising the knife slowly. “I’ve been rechristened.”

Connors raised his left hand, bringing his middle two fingers together with his thumb. A subtle current of magical energy was spawned by a thought.

“What should I call you then?” the detective asked, but the answer did not come straight away. Distracted, he failed to notice the dark shape that came up behind him, no did he react swiftly enough as a long blade slid through his back and appear out his stomach.

He coughed up blood as he dropped to his knees in shock.

“Welcome to the Inception, my son,” Ashton Connors said, wiping his bloody sword clean on his offspring’s coat. “I see you’ve already met our Creideamh.”

“Creideamh?” Connors coughed. “Faith? I’m afraid… I’ve little of it.”

“Funny, boy,” the father said, kneeling down beside him. “I was just thinking how you’re about to receive all the faith you can stand.”

to be continued

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Interlude

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on March 13, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith




upon Icarus wings
the black brother’s
is unhung

iron, cold iron


within a circle
of nine flowers
thirteen voices
of the tarot card
and the umbrella
is red with white freckles
and the demon is masked
by a dream

of black spires

me father

within the caws
of a raven
a secret is
heard only by
the wind
and those
by it

a sorcerer
the tower
has subdued
all things
to his


Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 6

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on March 10, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


Fire sprang to life at the end of a matchstick as Brooks Autry struck it against the stair rail of the Gulfstream G450 he’d just parked on the tiny airstrip in the middle of God Damn, Nowhere. Sullen as ever, the Kentucky native put the flame to good use, drawing fire into the gnarled cigar he held clamped between gritted teeth. The cold of the South Dakota plain was biting and he was submerged as deeply as he could be within the warmth of his wool lined coat, a battered cowboy hat tilted low to shield his face from the illicit wind. Beside him sat Connors’ leather ‘ghost bag’.

“Christ, Doc, you need me to carry you off this bird,” Autry barked.

Connors’ appeared in the Gulfstream’s doorway, pale and aborted, leaning heavily on his cane. The detective limped down the stair, eyes bloodshot, pupils dilated. He staggered a bit, not quite readjusted to being eathbound once more.

“Jesus, you’re a fucking wreck, hoss,” Autry said, picking up the detective’s bag and shouldering it. “You need to lay off the psillies for a bit. Them boomers got your head in a twist and I reckon you’re gonna need your wits about ya on this one, capisce?”

“Brooks, need I remind you that you were not hired to be my mother?” Connors coughed.

“You need some fucking motherin’ and if I don’t do it, who will? Thea? You’ve got that chica scared shitless of you.” Autry slid an arm under the detective and helped him toward the pick-up truck that was waiting at the end of the tarmac.

“Why is that, Brooks? She’s been timid of late and she’ll not confide in me?” Connors leaned against the bed of the truck and snatched Autry’s cigar from his mouth, using it to kickstart a cigarette of his own before returning the gnarled smoke to its rightful owner.

“Well for starters, dumbass, you’re fucking killing yourself. You’re drinking too god damn much and staying blasted out of your gourd more often than not. And with the spooky critters you play around with, that’s bad business, slick.”

“You said  for starters,” Landon replied, taking his bag from the lumbering Kentuckian and tossing it in the back of the truck.

“Yeah, well,” Autry began, “the rest’s not for me to say. Besides, you need to get to the motel.” He took an envelope from his inside pocket and shoved it into the detective’s coat. “You’re lodged at the Branding Iron Inn.”

“Excellent then,” Connors replied.

“Doc, you sure you don’t need me with ya, watching your back.” Autry spat onto the pavement.

“They didn’t name the town Faith for nothing, Brooks,” Connors said as he climbed into the truck. He fired up the engine and he rumbled with a deep, throaty sound. “Have some in me, my friend.”

“Yeah, well, Hawkes put you up to this, so I don’t see much good coming from it.”

“I’m inclined to agree,” Connors said with a wink and a smile, “but in this case, there’s more at stake than meets the eye.” He leaned on the steering wheel and took a deep breath. “This concerns the Black Spire and my father… you know the ramifications of this.”

Autry put his hand on the window frame.

“Yeah, I get it, doc, but christ-on-a-stick, you nipping at daddy’s carrot is not the brightest of moves. You’re playing into that fucker’s hand.”

“I know. And he knows I know, but I’ve a card up my sleeve he’s not counted on.” Connors revved the engine then put the truck into drive.

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“I have faith in Elizabeth,” the detective said as he pulled away, driving toward Highway 212. He pulled onto the rode, headed west.

Somewhere, out there in the bleak South Dakota landscape, Ashton Connors and the Order of the Black Spire were conspiring to sacrifice a woman he’d once held near and dear. He wasn’t about to let that happen.

As he parked in the vacant lot of the Branding Iron, he wondered if Brooks’ concerns were valid. This was all an obvious trap, a magical game of cat and mouse between he and the man who had both sired and betrayed him.

As he climbed out of the truck, limping toward the motel with his shoulder bag, he knew he had no choice but to face his father.

Connors looked up toward the familiar sky overhead and wished upon a star.

to be continued

Landon Connors: Leap of Faith, Part 5

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on February 29, 2016 by Occult Detective

leap of faith


The apparition held close to the shadows, invisible to all but the most sensitive. Its eyes were focused on the detective moving slowly through the derelict Victorian, wincing at every creak of termite eaten timber. It wouldn’t be long before this ruin was as much a ghost as Greg Mitchell was. And if Landon Connors weren’t more careful, he’d be a shade himself soon enough.

Mitchell came and went of his own accord, at least when the telluric currents were aligned. When not he needed to be conjured, but the course of ancient energies were in his favor and the spirit was able to look after his former mentor. Choosing to do so discreetly would have drawn the detective’s ire, but Mitchell figured that a spook in the wings was better than an ace up one’s sleeve.

Boo, the detective’s articulate familiar, had put Connors on to this place, a once magnificent two-story farmhouse that nature was looking to reclaim. Windows were smashed, the roof’s wood shingles were scarce, and insects were eating the old girl alive. It was doubtful she’d stand through another winter.

Moving up to the second floor, the stairs groaning in protest, Connors continued to press his luck. Mitchell followed by way of incorporeal travel, rising up and through the rotted ceiling, ahead of the detective.

What the eidolon spied would have taken his breath away if he was still amongst the living. As it were, his spectral eyes locked upon the bloody symbol painted on the floor. It was contained within a chalk circle, the nubs of spent elemental candles at the quarters.

But the symbol itself…

Mitchell let it sink in. The sigil was an Enochian kenning. Moving forward, oblivious to the detective’s approach, he worried over the clumps of rotted flesh inside, the remains of a sacrifice. He chose to believe it was a young swine, but knew better.

“Greg?” the detective said from behind him. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Don’t come in, Landon,” the spirit replied. “I can tell you what you need to know.”

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” the detective said, stepping into the room.

Connors’ flashlight fell upon the protective circle.

“Gods,” he whispered.

Mitchell heard the flip of the detective’s lighter and the deep inhale as Connors drew a cigarette to life.

“Sons of bitches,” he spat. The detective bent to the ground and ran his index finger over the circle, grinding the chalk between it and his thumb . Holding out his palm, he tested the magical discourse. It was still vibrant, pulsing with residual energies.

“I wouldn’t…” Mitchell began, but Connors pushed through the circle’s protective membrane with a dagger drawn from inside his coat.

The detective took his place inside the circle, resealing it by calling upon the tutelary guardians. He began deciphering the spell cast here and was revolted by it.

Mitchell watched as the detective worked, conscious of the pain etched across Connors’ face. He was torturing himself, peeling back the layers to reveal the horrors performed here in evil’s name.

Closing the work and removing himself from the circle’s confines, Landon Connors drew a whiskey flask from his inner pocket and anointed the circle, calling upon the gods to wash away the diabolical scar left on this place.

Removing another container from within his trenchcoat, he poured this liquid about and, with a flick of his near-spent coffin-nail, the accelerant took to flame.

Mitchell joined the detective outside, watching the old Victorian’s consumption.

“You saw the symbol?” Connors asked as he lit a cigarette.

“I did,” Mitchell responded.

“And I read it right?”

“An inversion,” Mitchell said. “An Enochian sigil, reversed.”

“And?” Connors said. He needed the spirit to say it.

“Faith,” Mitchell replied. “It was the Enochian symbol for faith.”

“Yeah,” Connors spat. “That’s what I thought.”

to be continued


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