The best occult detective collections

The Books I Picked & Why

Carnacki, The Ghost Finder

By William Hope Hodgson

Book cover of Carnacki, The Ghost Finder

Why this book?

William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki is the ultimate occult detective, willing to venture deep into mystic lore to get to the root of any problem. You may notice while reading that Carnacki likes a drink and a smoke, and a hearty meal with his friends gathered 'round. This dovetails perfectly with my own idea of a good time. And although I no longer smoke, writing about characters who do allows me a small vicarious reminder of my own younger days. I wish I had Carnacki's library, his toys, but most of all, I envy him his regular visits from his tight group of friends, all more than willing to listen to his tales of adventure into the weird places of the world while drinking his Scotch and smoking his cigarettes.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Complete John Silence Stories

By Algernon Blackwood

Book cover of The Complete John Silence Stories

Why this book?

Silence is much more cerebral than Carnacki, more prone to solve his mysteries from the comfort of his armchair over a pipe of tobacco. But don't let the leisurely pace fool you; Blackwood brings the chills like few others can, and you might find yourself looking over your shoulder more than once, or even getting up to put a stronger light on. If creeping dread is your thing, Blackwood's your man for it.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 1: Original Sins

By Jamie DeLano, John Ridgway

Book cover of John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 1: Original Sins

Why this book?

These collected graphic novels set the benchmark for Occult Detectives in comic form. Constantine shows up as a fully realized character from the off, and having him as a rough-and-tumble Brit is a stroke of genius. His adventures tie together modern comic sensibilities with pulp themes to great effect and having 'names' as the writers and artists ensures a high standard of storytelling throughout. This collection is the perfect place to start to follow his journeys. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Who Fears the Devil (Planet Stories 24)

By Manly Wade Wellman, Mike Resnick, Karl Edward Wagner

Book cover of Who Fears the Devil (Planet Stories 24)

Why this book?

Silver John, a balladeer with a silver-stringed guitar, crisscrosses rural USA encountering all manner of supernatural entities, and does it with a song in his heart. There's a deep love of ancient folklore that shines through in this wonderful collection. It's far removed from Carnacki or Silence's cozy sitting rooms and libraries, but every bit as tied to a desire to get to the root of ancient mysteries. There's an almost Bradburyesque sense of wonder in these tales that lifts you up and carries you alongside John on his travels.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Compleat Crow

By Brian Lumley

Book cover of The Compleat Crow

Why this book?

Lumley is steeped in both the occult detective and the Lovecraftian tradition, and it shows most clearly in this set of pulpy occult detective stories featuring his cerebral-yet-tough Titus Crow, and involving wild flights of fancy in time and space that also arguably show some influence from Doctor Who. We get a lovely creepy origin story here, and several vignettes, but the highlight is the longer tale of the mysteries of the wyrm, and festering, crawling things in an ancient manor house and its library. It fairly oozes supernatural evil and is one of my favorite things.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.