That Darn Carnacki!

Kind of sounds like an old sit-com, doesn’t it?

Well, it seems that the rascal has ended up in other places besides Hodgson’s fiction and even outside of those commonly known like William Meikle’s works.  So let’s take a quick look at what this indefatigable ghost-breaker has been up to!  (I should express that, unless otherwise stated, I have not read these books.)

1 breathSherlock Holmes: The Breath of God by Guy Adams. (Titan Books, 2011)

Here’s the synopsis:

When several leading society figures begin acting out of character, Holmes is enlisted on an investigation that will see him team up with famed ghost hunter Thomas Carnacki, and the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. As London fills up with mindless zombies, possessed by the spirits in the air, Holmes must descend beneath the city via the new underground train network to combat the source. A brand-new original novel, detailing a thrilling new case for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless creation.

Sounds great, right?  Well, maybe not.  Most of the reviews on Amazon have not been particularly favorable for this tale.  But if you still want to give it a shot, here’s the Amazon link.  Although the printed book is not available, you can get it on Kindle.

1 fallsThe Shadow of Reichenbach Falls by John King (Forge Book, 2008)

Yet another pairing of Carnacki and Holmes!  Here’s the synopsis for this one:

Probably the most infamous story in the Sherlock Holmes canon is “The Final Problem” as it relates the facts of the death/murder of the master detective at Reichenbach Falls. On May 4, 1891, the detective met his archenemy Professor Moriarty on a ledge above the falls; the two became locked in a titanic hand-to-hand struggle before both tumbled over the precipice, presumably to their deaths, as witnessed afar by Dr.Watson. The outcry against the death of such a popular character was so great that in 1901 Conan Doyle was forced to give in to the pressure of his fan mail. He resurrected the detective by claiming that Holmes had managed to grab a tuft of grass during the fall into the “dreadful cauldron” and so had lived to solve another mystery. But what really happened that infamous day at Reichenbach Falls and why did Holmes disappear in the aftermath? And what of the infamous Moriarty? How did a noble mathematician become the Napoleon of Crime? The Shadow of Reichenbach Fallsprovides these answers and more. It turns out that the events were not just witnessed by Watson but by another young detective of the Victorian eraCarnacki the Ghost Finder. Carnacki rescues an amnesiac gentleman from the base of the falls only to find himself and his companion doggedly pursued by an evil mastermind whose shadowy powers may reach from the bloody crime scenes of White Chapel to far beyond the grave. Filled with Holmesian lore and thrilling encounters evocative of Doyle’s work in the Strandmagazine, The Shadow of Reichenbach Fallswill undoubtedly join the ranks of such successful Holmesian pastiches as The Seven Percent Solution, The West End Horror, and Murder by Decree.

This one, unfortunately, does not fare much better with a number of howling reviews posted on Amazon.  Here’s the link if you care to order the book or just want to chuckle at the reviews.

1 gravelGravel by Warren Ellis, Mike Wolfer & Oscar Jimenez (Avatar Press, 2005)

I’m not sure if Carnacki appears in this but apparently his haunted grimoire, The Sigsand Manuscript, does!  Here’s the summary:

William Gravel carves a bloody path of death in his first full-color collection! Gravel Volume 1 features the first eight issues (#0-7) of this on-going series from Warren Ellis and co-writer Mike Wolfer with art by Raulo Caceres and Oscar Jimenez, as well as a special cover gallery! Long-buried and lost in antiquity, a unique book of magic once existed, filled with such extraordinary and arcane spells, supernatural rites and inherent power that its possessor would be either unequaled, or driven irrevocably insane. Recently unearthed, the Sigsand Manuscript has been divided into six pieces and distributed among the Minor Seven, Britain’s great Occult Detectives. With the Sigsand in their grasp, the Seven now wield more power than they were ever meant to possess… And William Gravel is not happy about it. Once a member of their Order but unceremoniously replaced within their ranks, the SAS Sergeant Major and Combat Magician is on a mission of revenge, redemption and quite possibly rebirth, as he takes on the members of the Minor Seven one-by-one… And God help each of Gravel’s former colleagues should they decide not to relinquish their sections of the Sigsand to the one man who might have the supernatural skills and restraint to use the reconstituted manuscript without accidentally destroying the Earth in the process. They all promised to use the unholy power wisely, but Gravel knows they are all Bloody Liars!

I’ve no idea if this is any good or not.  Ellis is usually a pretty good writer and the art looks effective.  This time, the Amazon reviews are not very helpful.  In any case, perhaps The Sigsand Manuscript will give the Necronomicon a run for it’s money some day!  You can order this book here.

1greenGhost of a Chance (A Ghost Finders Novel) by Simon Green (Ace, 2010)

I truly don’t know what to even think about this book.  This is the first in a series, apparently, about a “Carnacki Institute” that… well, let the synopsis speak for itself:

The Carnacki Institute exists to “Do Something” about Ghosts-and agents JC Chance, Melody Chambers, and Happy Jack Palmer will either lay them to rest, send them packing, or kick their nasty ectoplasmic arses with extreme prejudice.

Words fail me.

I thought that maybe this was YA but the description in Amazon places it at “18 and up”.  And there have been two MORE of these in the series!  Ghost of a Smile came out in 2011 while Ghost of a Dream came out this year.  This is kind of like “Scooby Doo meets Hodgson”, I guess.  Reviews on Amazon seem somewhat mixed.  If you want to order this book, follow this link.

1 meikleOf course, William Meikle’s fine Carnacki book, CARNACKI: HEAVEN AND HELL is still available from Dark Regions Press here as well as a Kindle version here.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  (Yes, I have read this one!)



Filed under Carnacki, Hodgson, William Hope Hodgson

7 responses to “That Darn Carnacki!

  1. elmediat

    The Ghost Finders series is not bad. It gets better with the following books. The mysteries are more complex and the characters develop & change with each book. They are short reads compared to his other series. I think there was pressure from the publisher to get the series going because the Nightside series was reaching its conclusion..
    Green actually mentions the Carnaki Institute in his two other series, before beginning this one. All 3 series are part of the same universe. His Nightside series is very good, a Noir Detective series set in the Nightside, a shadow city to London. His best series is Secret History series, which feature Edwin Drood.. Edwin has a direct encounter with Head of the Carnakii Institute in the most recent novel.The Drood family are supernatural spies in the James Bond style who have protected & manipulated humanity for many generations.
    All the series have varying degrees of ironic humour, a mix of playful parody & homage. They are faithful to their supernatural fantasy sources and the writer is very creative in combining pop culture references, folklore and genre fiction.

    • Thanks for the info! I have to admit to not really knowing anything about those books and it is probably not likely that I’ll be reading them anytime soon for no other reason than I already have about three piles of books to be read!

  2. Dave Brzeski

    I liked the Guy Adams book. I generally really like his writing, but it was marred for me by what he did with Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence character– an occult investigator I actually like better than the Carnacki stories, albeit there are only 6 stories.
    I haven’t read much of Warren Ellis’s ‘Gravel’ as yet. I read a few in the shop (I worked in a combined record/comic shop for many years) but there was no mention. The stuff Ellis writes for Avatar has a tendency to be pretty extreme & very violent, so it may not appeal to all WHH fans.
    Simon R. Green’s books are very well thought of by fans of crossover fiction. They’ve been high on my reading list for a very long time, but the sheer number of them is daunting. The one you’ve missed–and it’s a major omission– is ‘No. 472 Cheyne Walk, by A.F. Kidd & Rick Kennett, from Ash Tree Press. I have a copy, but haven’t managed to get to it yet.

  3. I´m afraid that you already said this, but Carnacki also appear in the comic “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (by Alan Moore and Kevin O´Neill) don´t know wich volume. Great post, the character still alive, and it´s more known than Hodgson itself perhaps.

    • Yes, I didn’t include that appearance as I have mentioned that several times before but Carnacki appears in the LoEG: Black Dossier (in the text section, I believe) and as a central character in LoEG: 1910. Both appearances are well worth reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s