Occult Detective Magazine #8 (magazine review).

January 27, 2022 | By | Reply More

Occult Detective Magazine’ nobly continues the grand tradition of ghost hunters and other supernatural detectives. The latest eighth issue is out now, featuring fiction, articles and reviews. I’ll focus on the fiction.

‘Theatre Of The Mind’ by D G Laderoute features a female paranormal investigator called Jennifer who is helping the police with their enquiries. The Pied Piper has been kidnapping, torturing and murdering children in Toronto and the flatfoots can’t catch him. But, now, one of his victims has escaped and Jen has to do a mind-meld with the traumatised child to pick up clues. It’s no fun. Then she has a premonition that if the police get involved, the bad guy will escape so she has to do it all. Grim subject matter but the story is well told.

‘The Bones Are Walking’ by Rebecca Buchanan is set in Haiti where there’s a feast to celebrate one hundred years since the founding of the republic. Anais is the apprentice to Judge Celestine and they are investigating a mystery involving the president himself. I found this confusing because I’m unfamiliar with voodoo terminology but it became mostly clear in the end. It would make a great B-movie.

In ‘Committee Of Mystery’ by Robert Guffey, the narration alternates between a raid on a house by the Committee of the title and a television show in which Mister and Mrs Ravineau’s claim that they have been abducted by aliens and had their babies is challenged by the famous editor of the Skeptical Times. The point made that such mysteries keep reappearing and won’t go away is certainly true enough and the Committee of Mystery features some interesting characters. An odd sort of tale.

Perhaps even odder is ‘Becoming Art Deco’ by Cristina L. White. At the famous Lowe’s Hotel, South Beach, Miami, a bronze figure of a seated woman, slightly larger than life-size, appeared overnight. Registered psychic investigator Solas Bierman is put on the case. He sits beside the statue, blanks his mind and gets the whole story via automatic writing. No drama here but the theme of the power of art is reassuring for all who make it.

‘Spirit Counsellor’ by Uchechukwu Nwaka is set in Nigeria. Spirit counsellor Dominic Uchenna is visited by student Ifunanya Akinnola, who tells him that she can see spirits and one ate her friends. It was lurking in a hollow tree. Dominic has past experience with this kind of evil. His first-person narrative voice carries the tale beautifully and the modernisation of magic through apps is an intriguing feature we will surely see again. Haunted computer technology is definitely a thing.

No sooner had I finished gluing together the two halves of my cloven pet monster, Chives, than an odd bird flew through the window and perched on his head.’ So begins ‘The Memory Fumes’ by Rhys Hughes. The bird is a cross between a pigeon and a parrot, a messenger that can speak his own message and tells narrator and absurdity investigator Sampietro Mischief that he is needed in the great city of Svevo, in Literary Italy. People are suffocating on nostalgia. The bird was sent by AIR, the Academy for International Respiration, dedicated to keeping the atmosphere breathable. There’s fun with the philosophy of Zeno and deep thought about how memory and identity are linked. I really enjoyed this one.

Next up is ‘The Voice On The Moor’ by Melanie Atherton Allen. By train from Paddington to Blankford and then on to Yandover Parva, Pendleton goes to visit his aunt. But strolling in Blankford, while waiting for his connection, he gets lost and meets Simon Wake, occult investigator, who he knows from his club, the Anacreon, where Simon is wont to entertain himself and Vincent Anderson with tales of his supernatural adventures.

Anderson is there, too, and Wake tells them he is investigating a haunted moor. Three men have drowned on the moor in the last fortnight, even though there are paths around the bogs. The story had a pleasant Victorian feel, with humour and mild scares, too. The reader may google in vain for Blankford and Yandover Parva but Paddington Station exists.

In ‘Ghost Trainspotting’ by Paul St John Mackintosh, Scotland’s only insurance adjuster for ghost-related claims investigates a military ghost train sighting. I liked the remembrance of things past but the story might have been developed more.

‘Angel Scales’ by Brandon Barrows has intrepid investigator Azuma Kuromori looking into bizarre events at an apartment complex for millionaires in Tokyo. Someone ‘rich, bored and stupid’ has performed a summoning and something from the Other Shore has come into our world. It’s an original setting for a story based on Christian myth and the lead character made it enjoyable.

‘The Grey Men Of Glamaig’ by Andrew Neil Macleod is a historical yarn featuring Doctor Johnson and Boswell. The great man becomes intrigued by stories of the Fear Liath Mor, the Big Grey Man, on the Isle of Skye and sets out to investigate. The times and the people are well-portrayed and there’s humour, too.

‘Vinnie de Soth And The Saucer People’ by I.A. Watson has Vinnie investigating the disappearance of a young lady which leads to him spending the night in a crop circle in Wiltshire with a group of UFO watchers. The varied cast is doing this based on many different belief systems. I live near Wiltshire and, like Vinnie, believe that ‘blokes from the pub with ropes and planks’ is a likely explanation for the phenomenon. Obviously, such a prosaic explanation is not true in this fun, exciting, witty tale. I’ll keep an eye out for more of Vinnie’s adventures.

A drug is behind the mysterious title of ‘Tahdukeh’ by Carsten Schmidt. A drug that, mixed with opium, enables Commissioner Charrois of the Sârbruck Gendarmerie to make a connection with the dead. The corpse of a stable boy is found in the river. It’s unusual to have a fantasy tale where the grim realism of the outcome leaves a bad taste but the story is true to the world we live in.

Indiana Rains, Necromancer Detective can bring the dead back to life and briefly experience their final moments. In ‘The Dead Shall Rise’ by C.A. Raven, she’s called out by detective Jaxon Graves to a skeleton in a cage hanging from an oak tree near Cardiff. Grisly secrets are revealed and it seems someone is trying to resurrect something old and very dangerous. The first person narration showed Indiana to be a feisty, tough and interesting character, so it’s good that there’s scope for sequels.

‘The Hand That Shuts Every Door’ by Jonathon Mast has investigator Miller rescuing a young lad from some odd underground room in a place where doors can’t always be perceived, making it hard to escape. The story had a strange, dreamlike feel as the background wasn’t really explained but that helped with the weirdness.

You get an excellent helping of occult investigator fiction for your pennies with ‘Occult Detective Magazine’. It also functions well as the gateway to a whole sub-genre because it features useful reviews and adverts to point you in the direction of other books in a similar vein.

All the writing is first class, with prose that sucks you into the story and makes you, for a little while, suspend your disbelief in the supernatural. If you actually do believe in the supernatural, it will scare the pants off you. I read a pdf but this probably works better on paper, with rustling pages and olde style ink to enhance the Victorian atmosphere as you peruse the pellucid prose. Recommended for weird fans, fantasy fans and anyone who wants to try something slightly different or anyone, really.

Eamonn Murphy

January 2022

(pub: Cathaven Press, 2022. 231 page magazine. Price: £ 9.95 (UK), $13.41 (US). ISBN: 978-1-91602-124-2. Kindle: Price: £ 4.95 (UK), $ 6.77 (US). Available free on Kindle Unlimited)

check out website: http://greydogtales.com/blog/occult-detective-magazine/

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Category: Cri-Fi, Horror, Magazines


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