A Long Spoon by Jonathan L. Howard
Jonathan L. Howard, that is to say, Johannes Cabal, is at his best when in Hell. The literal Hell, not the figurative one. “A Long Spoon,” a short story companion to the Johannes Cabal book series, might be my favorite Cabal adventure yet. (An aside: is Cabal pronounced cuh-BAHL, COB-bull, or CAY-bull?) In this story, our favorite necromancer calls up a Devil (not to be confused with a Demon) to be his tour guide through Hell to search for a certain something to be found in Pandaemonium. I read this on my Kindle (that may be the only way to read it) and ended up highlighting most of it. Howard is truly a genius when it comes to clever turns of phrase, the likes of which you will never ever see anything like anywhere else. An example? “’Impossible!’ cried Luan Da, a silly sort of thing for an immortal eunuch living in Hell’s abandoned parliament to say.” Another? “Back in the days when he was full of pep and his shelf-load of management books were shiny and new, Satan had created Pandaemonium.” I could list them all, but I’d end up recreating the entire story for you, and that would probably violate copyright laws somehow.
Lest you think it is all silly and vaguely Monty-Python-esque (not that such would be a bad thing) do not fear – Howard makes you question the inherent goodness and evil of things, and blurs your moral lines in a very thoughtful way. Read this story. For ninety-nine cents and as much time as an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you can’t possibly go wrong.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.