Stronghand's Book Club

I know what you may be thinking, but the shocking answer to your question is yes, we actually do read (80% of us do anyway). On my recent sojourn down to Mexico I read a lovely tome by Jonathan L. Howard called Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. This is his first novel and to be honest I bought it mostly for the boss cover art, but I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. The essential premise is that long ago, Johannes sold his soul to the devil in order to learn the secrets of necromancy. However, he soon found that the absence of a soul took a vital variable out of his experiments, rendering them useless. So he decides to make a wager with Satan Himself. In exchange for getting his soul back, Johannes must collect 100 replacement souls for Satan's baseball-card-esque collection in one year. If he fails to do so, he will lose not only his eternal soul, but, more tangibly, his life. So, with the help of a sinister and remarkable traveling carnival that His Unholiness provides he sets out on his diabolical mission. Johannes enlists a cast of outlandish characters to aid him, most notably his estranged vampire brother Horst, to aid him along the way and the results are thoroughly entertaining. Every member of this spectacular carnival of death is unique, and Howard should be commended for making them so accessible and likable. The writing itself is clever, expressive, and refreshingly structured. I'll stop raving as to avoid giving anything away, but just trust me and read this book (yes, Kyle, even you).

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