How I came across Sam Hain – The Occult Detective
A few years ago, I attended my first London Comicon and it was there that I picked up the first in the series; Sam Hain – Occult Detective. I’d been wandering around on my own checking out the independent writers and comic book artists. This is always a great source of inspiration for me, and every year I’ve attended since, I promise myself that next year, I’ll be there with my work. It never happens. Instead, I end up coming away with a bag full of indie comics and indie books.
Meet the author – Bron James
The beauty of attending Comicon is that you get to actually meet the authors and often get to chat with them about their books, and to get a greater insight into the characters and their writing. Bron James is one author who is genuinely lovely, always willing to have a chat. It was the end of, what for him, had been a long weekend, but in spite that he was still more than happy to chat with me about his work, tea, and the perils of being an author in this modern-day world. In fact, we even talked about the Amazon Library (Kindle Unlimited) and how it could be good for authors like him. You can now get all of his books for free by joining Kindle Unlimited and paying a monthly subscription, in case you’re interested.
It also allows the authors to sign and personalise their work and I am pleased to say that each of my copies is signed with a personal message to me. And yes, in case you are wondering, he does, in fact, write a different message in each book. It was actually at Comicon where my collection of Robert Rankin signed copies began, but that is another story.
Sam Hain – The Occult Detective series
Sam Hain – The Occult Detective began life as a series of “vanity scripts” written by a struggling actor (21 entries on IMDB and numerous theatre productions – isn’t every actor struggling, until they aren’t). Not quite a one-man show, but not far from it. Writing these scripts apparently sparked a love of writing fiction in non-fiction journalist, Bron James and so in 2013 he began writing the Sam Hain novellas.
I enjoyed reading about Sam Hain and Alice and their investigations and escapades. Each book is quite short, with the longest being 169 pages (currently) and I do feel that if this series were picked up by a “traditional” publishing house that Bron would need; either to expand each story or combine several to make them into several novels. This wouldn’t actually deteriorate the quality of the stories, but rather increase the amount we learn about each character and their occult encounters. In fact, Bron himself has started releasing volumes of stories combining several of the novellas in one.
That being said, each of these books is a great story in itself. Short but sweet, perfectly formed with a beginning, a middle, and an end, whilst moving forward the overarching story. Alice and Sam Hain make a great team, her providing the skepticism and modernity and him providing the magick and mystery.
Sam Hain Book 1 – All Hallows Eve – Sam Hain Occult Detective
After leaving a party late one Halloween, Alice Carroll has a run-in with something she would much rather forget. Haunted by nightmares and visions, she tries to carry on with her life as normal, all the while feeling as if she is losing touch with reality. Just as her visions become too much to bear, she is helped by the enigmatic Sam Hain, a self-proclaimed occult detective and alleged aficionado of the abnormal. Together, they embark on a series of adventures, investigating paranormal cases, cracking clandestine conspiracies, exploring the ethereal, and battling with forces far beyond the real. Meanwhile, in the abyss of some unworldly dimension, an evil is stirring, and from across the void a darkness is coming… If Alice thought her world had turned upside-down on Halloween, she hasn’t seen the half of it yet. Sam Hain – Occult Detective: Volume I is the author’s preferred text, containing the first six stories in the Sam Hain series (All Hallows’ Eve, A Night in Knightsbridge, The Grimditch Butcher, The Regents, The Eye of the Oracle, Convergence) and features original artwork by Camilla Winquist. “Imagine Constantine written by Douglas Adams for Doctor Who, and you’ll be roughly in the right area for this highly enjoyable series. Bron James skillfully weaves a thrilling tale of private detective Sam Hain and his plucky assistant Alice as they investigate murder, magic and other paranormal events.” -Jeremy Biggs, Subversive Comics
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Review of Sam Hain Book 1 – All Hallows Eve
I enjoyed reading this book. It was short and to the point, no messing about with overcomplicated plots or extraneous characters. I did feel like it was merely a short story though and was left wanting more of Alice and Sam’s adventures. So it was a good job I had more books to read in the series.
Sam is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Dr Who, his dress sense is ‘borrowed’ from them both it seems and his way of doing things is more in line with their ‘accidental/on purpose’ style which has made them so popular with people around the globe.
Alice is thrown into this world without really knowing what she is getting herself into. She is clearly ‘chosen’ for this path rather than being actually ready or willing at first.
The set up is a bit clichèd if I’m honest, but even so, the writing and the story are good and allows you to overlook. The format may be rehearsed but hey, why mess with a format that works? It just allows Bron to focus on the story and the characters themselves rather than having to reinvent the wheel as it were.
Sam Hain Book 2 – A Night in Knightsbridge
On their first joint case together, occult detective Sam Hain is joined by Alice Carroll to investigate an allegedly haunted house in Knightsbridge. However, their investigations rile the supernatural forces that are at work at 32 Cadmus Square, and they soon discover that they may be in for more than they bargained for…
The second installment of the Sam Hain series of short stories, A Night in Knightsbridge follows the first case Sam and Alice embark on together, and Alice gets a taste of the unusual life of an occult detective.
Review of Book 2 – A Night in Knightsbridge
You get a sense that Sam is most definitely a real person, you get to see things from his point of view as well as that of Alice in this book and you certainly get the feeling that a lot of what he does is accidental or chance. He fumbles along from one clue to the next. That is not to take away from his vast knowledge of all things supernatural though, he is clearly very learned in these areas and it is a surprise that he is portrayed as quite young.
This story did give me goosebumps. I was quite glad that I was reading it on a train full of people rather than in my house alone.
There were a few points when I thought I’d caught Bron out, though I’d outwitted him and Sam, but usually, within a page or two he had managed to come up with the same conclusion I had and in fact, always went above and beyond.
This story really sets the scene for the way in which Alice and Sam are going to work together, him the teacher and her the student. But Alice has a few things that she can teach Sam along the way.
Sam Hain Book 3 – The Grimditch Butcher
When a series of murders in the East London village of Grimditch catch Sam Hain’s attention, he calls on Alice to aid in his investigation. With evidence pointing to the supernatural, and occult symbols appearing on the bodies of the victims, Sam and Alice must get to the bottom of things before more lives are lost to the Grimditch Butcher.
In the third installment of the Sam Hain series, Sam and Alice discover something far darker than they’d expected to find lurking in the east end of London…
Review of Book 3 – The Grimditch Butcher
This one is not for the faint-hearted. It is a bit gruesome. The storyline is good and it pushes Sam and Alice’s involvement in the case further than they’ve been before. It also lines them up for future dealings with the police. Prior to book three, the police haven’t entered into this series and neither has murder. This book changes all of that.
Sam Hain Book 4 – The Regents
Sam Hain is a wanted man. His supernatural investigations have caught the attention of the clandestine group known only as the Regents, and Sam soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy far beyond his reckoning. When the occult detective goes missing one night, it is up to Alice Carroll and one of Sam’s oldest friends to get to the bottom of his disappearance.
In the fourth installment of the Sam Hain series, the usually unflappable detective is wrought with fear and paranoia, and not without good reason…
Review of Book 4 – The Regents
Sam Hain Book 5 – The Eye of the Oracle
When two seemingly unconnected and undeniably unusual incidents occur on London’s Southbank, it immediately catches Sam Hain’s attention. With a sudden surge of localised Akashic energy, a very pointedly possessed tourist, and evidence of other dimensions starting to bleed through into reality, it’s up to Sam, Alice, and James to set things right. However, not all is as it seems, and the case takes them to some unexpected places, with the unexpected company, as they come face-to-face with elements from their past…
The Eye of the Oracle sees Sam, Alice, and James on their most otherworldly adventure yet.
Review of Book 5 – The Eye of the Oracle
Sam Hain Book 6 – Convergence
There has been a sudden and inexplicable increase in problematic paranormal events across London. With the number of spectral sightings, metaphysical monsters, and ethereal entities on the rise, Sam Hain knows that there is something sinister going on behind the scenes. As he and Alice Carroll begin to look deeper, it becomes clear that everything up to this moment has been linked, and now it is all converging in one place…
Could this be the coming darkness that they have been warned about?
The sixth and final episode in Volume I of the Sam Hain series, Convergence ties together the web of elements in the story so far…
Everything is Connected.
Review of Book 6 – Convergence
Sam Hain Book 7 – Dead Men Sell No Sales
On the opening night of Halperin, a brand new shopping center in the heart of Mayfair, Alice Carroll begins the first shift of her new job in the high-end store. With discounts, drinks, and live entertainment laid on for the customers, it promises to be a night to remember. However, it’s not just the exclusive event which makes it an unforgettable evening. When staff begins to talk of a ghostly presence, and Sam Hain turns up for something more than just some new socks, it’s clear that there’s more in store than a special sale. And something about the mannequins doesn’t seem quite right…
Beginning Volume II of the Sam Hain – Occult Detective series, Dead Men Sell No Sales sees things start to go from bad to worse, as Sam and Alice find themselves fighting against forces far more sinister than stroppy shoppers.
Review of Book 7 – Dead Men Sell No Sales
Sam Hain Book 8 – Storm in a Teacup
In the midst of a heatwave, while the rest of the city enjoys the peak of summer, west London is wracked by strangely sudden storms. At the same time each day for almost a week, Hammersmith finds itself shrouded in thick clouds, torrential rain, thunder, and lightning. Believing there to be a supernatural cause behind this inexplicable weather, Sam Hain heads to the heart of the storm to investigate. However, the occult detective discovers that there is something more than a thunderous deluge waiting for him. Something beyond belief… The second story in Sam Hain – Occult Detective: Volume II, Storm in a Teacup sees Sam facing a thunderous temper of godly proportions.
Review of Book 8 – Storm in a Teacup
Sam Hain Book 9 – The Curse of Marehill Manor
Marehill Manor harbors a dark and sinister secret… Somewhere on the border betwixt London and Essex stands the once stately and venerable house, now decaying and long since abandoned to time. For over a century, anyone who has set foot within the cursed mansion has been tormented with nightmarish visions and insurmountable terror. Many do not dare to tread within Marehill’s haunted halls, and those who do soon flee in fear. So of course, when Sam Hain learns of the manor and its dreadful reputation, he can’t resist the promise of a new adventure. Together with Alice Carroll and James Mortimer, the occult detective sets out to delve deeper into Marehill’s macabre mysteries. In the third story in Volume II of the Sam Hain – Occult Detective series, the trio is plagued by a formidable and fearsome force as they begin to shine a light on the darkness which grips Marehill, and uncovers its horrific history…
Review of Book 9 – The Curse of Marehill Manor
Sam Hain Short Story 1 – A Krampus Carol
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Sam Hain is looking forward to enjoying a quiet and relaxing Yuletide season. However, only a few days before Christmas, a teenage boy comes to seek Sam’s help to save his family from an ancient supernatural evil…
A one-off Christmas Special short story in the Sam Hain series.
Review of A Krampus Carol
This is truly a spine-tingling story. A festive tale with a heartfelt message. Think the ghosts in Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol; not the Muppets or the kid’s version but the truly dark versions which Charles Dickens originally dreamed up.