The simple definition of an occult detective story is merely one in which the tropes of the traditional detective story are combined with those found in supernatural horror fiction. The sub-genre got its kick-start as early as 1840, in Henry William Herbert’s short story “The Haunted Homestead”, according to the pain-staking research of Tim Prasil. Since then it has become a staple of literature, movies, television, and comics.
From Blackwood’s John Silence to Wellman’s John Thunstone to Moore & Company’s John Constantine, the Occult Detective as a storytelling device has stood the test of time, proving that when it’s done right there is an audience hungry for a paranormal mystery. One need merely take a cursory glance at the current “Urban Fantasy” and “Paranormal Romance” markets to see that the Occult Detective is alive and well in the 21st Century.
Check these hot lists written by Bob Freeman about his favorite contributions to the genre: