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Literature / Teddy London

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"He's a private investigator with an eerie knack for solving eerie crimes. He's got a gun named Betty, a knife named Veronica, and the strangest contacts - spiritual and otherwise. When it comes to things that go bump in the night, call Teddy London, P I….

The star of an Urban Fantasy / Occult Detective series by Christopher John "C. J." Henderson, Theodore "Teddy" London started out as a normal detective, until the day he met Lisa Hutchinson: a woman suffering from strange dreams and the sensation that she was being followed. Her case ultimately turned out to involve flying monsters and an Eldritch Abomination seeking to invade our dimension and obliterate everything in its way, setting London on the path of his own destiny: as The Destroyer, the only man who could save the world from said Eldritch Abomination. Later cases would feature vampires in Chinatown, Satan, a werewolf and Greek gods, all of them very different from the traditional versions.

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The series originally ran from 1992 to 1995, and consisted of six books published by Berkley Prime Crime under the pen name of Robert Morgan; books 1 and 2 were reissued years later under his own name and with a short story added to each:

  • The Things That Are Not There (1992)
    • Reissued in 2002 and 2006 with the 1995 short story "Idiot Savant".
  • Some Things Never Die (1993)
    • Reissued in 2004 and 2008 as The Stench of Fresh Air with the short story "The Last Best Friend".
  • The Thing That Darkness Hides (1993)
  • All Things Under the Moon (1994)
  • The Only Thing to Fear (1994)
  • Some Things Come Back (1995)

Henderson later released two new books (set between Some Things Never Die and The Thing That Darkness Hides), and a handful of related anthologies, prior to his death in 2014:

  • The Occult Detectives of C. J. Henderson (2002 collection)
    • Contains the Teddy London short stories "You Can't Take It with You", "The Soul's Right Hand", "Fleas of the Dragon", "The Door", "Juggernaut" and "On All the Snow Ground", and seven unrelated short stories.
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  • Lai Wan: Tales of the Dreamwalker (2007 collection; the title character features in the main Teddy London series)
  • The Sleep That Rescues (2009)
  • An Eternity of Self (2012; also contains the short story "A Perfect Moment")


This series provides examples of:

  • Action Dad: Teddy, now a father of two, in Some Things Come Back. Paul discovers at the end of the book that he's been an Action Dad-to-be this whole time, as Lai Wan reveals she's pregnant.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Maxim Warhelski lost his hand to the werewolf, who came after him and bit it off the second time they met, when Warhelski was just twelve.
  • An Axe to Grind: Paul Morcey killed his first monster with a fire axe.
  • And Show It to You: The werewolf does this to Pa'sha in All Things Under the Moon.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Lisa Hutchinson is the unwitting (and unwilling) "signal flare", guiding Q'talu from its dimension into ours.
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  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: What Zeus and the other Confessors did when they moved on to the Dream Plane. They also try to force London to do this and join them, so that he will survive the coming destruction before they return to Earth to take command of the world in the aftermath of the majority of mankind being destroyed by Tabor's bombs.
  • Back for the Dead: After being absent in The Thing That Darkness Hides, Pa'sha Lowe returns in All Things Under the Moon and is killed off.
  • Back from the Dead: Vampires can be resurrected via a special ritual, assuming there's enough of the body left, as demonstrated on Muzzer/Hercules in Some Things Never Die before being killed a second time by Jhong. Some Things Come Back reveals Martin Tabor revived him again, though he abandons the coven after Martin recovers from his own injuries this time.
  • Brought Down to Badass: London releases the power he got from the deaths in the Conflagration, and from the vampires he'd directly killed, near the end of Some Things Never Die. It doesn't make him any less dangerous.
  • Cain and Abel: The werewolf of All Things Under the Moon IS the biblical Cain, and it's his guilt over his crimes that led to his turning himself into a monster.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Some Things Never Die implies that fate caused London's family to die in part to set him up for his role as The Destroyer.
  • Catchphrase: Paul Morcey's is "Sweet bride of the night".
  • Celestial Deadline: Q'talu can only try to cross worlds when the cosmos are just right.
  • The Chosen One: The Destroyer, a role filled by some unsuspecting soul, chosen by fate to stand against Q'talu whenever it tries to enter this dimension. Teddy London is one of at least three known Destroyers in history, after Jorhsa and King Solomon. Zeus claims he and the other Confessors chose them.
  • Colony Drop: How the portion of Q'talu still on Earth tries to destroy the planet, affecting the gravity of two asteroids so they'll smash into one another and then the remaining mass will head towards Earth. It's stopped through the aid of an army of ghosts who carry the Q'talu portion into space once London releases them from their prison in the Dream Plane.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • In The Things That Are Not There, almost two million people die in the Conflagration, the firestorm brought on when London fired a missile at a fuel tank in an oil refinery. The blast destroyed Elizabeth, New Jersey, and wiped out almost all the fuel supplies up and down the coast, with the clouds of smoke and burning debris spreading as far as Manhattan.
    • In Some Things Never Die, Jimmy Lu is torn apart, ripped into tiny pieces and scattered throughout Chinatown, by the vampires. After hiring London to avenge him, his mother was caught and suffered the same fate.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Absorbing life-force becomes this for London after he releases the energies he got during the Conflagration. At one point during his adventures in China, he drains the energies from the ground around him as a last resort to heal himself, but while he isn't personally negatively affected, he is horrified by the consequences this has for the land he drained and remembers why it's a bad idea. However, he winds up doing it again in Some Things Come Back in order to battle the vampires and their minions.
  • Deal with the Devil: George Collins sold his soul to the devil and got rich, along with having access to as many women as he wanted via the dream plane.
  • Death of a Child: When Lai Wan demonstrates her psychometric abilities for the first time in The Things That Are Not There, it's on an item cut from the hand of a baby who was murdered by his own mother; later, babies are specifically noted as having died in the Conflagration.
  • Dream Land: The Dream Plane, a realm where anything is possible because Your Mind Makes It Real. It's eventually revealed that the Dream Plane is where all souls go when they die, becoming one with it; it's also the residence of the former Confessors, who've held onto their bodies via sheer ego and believe themselves to be gods.
  • Dream Weaver: Some people, such as the antagonists of The Thing That Darkness Hides and All Things Under the Moon, can alter their physical selves and other elements of the normal world through access to the Dream Plane. It's later revealed that Zeus and the other members of the Parliament of Confessors, including Abram/Abraham, could do the same.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: London gets prophetic dreams at times after the events of the first book.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Q'talu's goal via asteroid in The Only Thing To Fear.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Q'talu, the monstrous Big Bad of the first book. And in The Only Thing To Fear.
  • Eye Scream: All Things Under the Moon has the werewolf ripping people's eyes out and eating them.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Most deaths in the series. About the only one to die cleanly is Dr. Michael Coleman, who suffers heart failure the night Q'talu crossed over.
  • Foreshadowing: In The Thing That Darkness Hides, the characters get a letter from someone wanting to know if they'll hunt werewolves. All Things Under the Moon deals with the sender and the werewolf in question.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Wallace "Wally" Daniel Barnes. London calls him an appraiser (and he is a good one). Wally prefers "fence".
  • Genetic Memory: Combined with Ghost Memory - over the course of his adventures, London learns how to tap the memories and abilities of his genetic ancestors, whose spirits remain with him.
  • Gravity Master: Q'talu is able to tap into the gravity of two asteroids and redirect them towards one another and then the combined mass towards Earth.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Arthur Bonn, the man turned monster, who was cut in half by Paul Morcey and his fire axe in The Things That Are Not There.
  • Happily Married: Teddy to Lisa and Paul to Lai Wan in Some Things Come Back.
  • Healing Factor: Most of London's adversaries have this. The werewolf's is literally powerful enough to bring him back to life, several times. Until London forces him to confront his own guilt, at least.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: While ultimately averted, London is fully prepared to die to stop Q'talu. Played straight with George Collins, the soulless man, to stop the aftereffects of the enemy's death.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: Jorhsa, the first Destroyer who ultimately became king of the vampires, who defeated Q'talu with faith-based magic and absorbed all the life energies released by his followers who died in the battle, then kept himself alive via vampirism for years after, justifying it by claiming "What were a handful of lives against the returning threat?" Twenty-five hundred years after the battle, he was prepared to face Q'talu when it returned, only to find out that his magic no longer worked without people's faith to sustain it, and he was forced to watch as King Solomon took his place as Destroyer and drove out Q'talu. He's just been sustaining himself and gathering others like him in the further twenty-five hundred years since then.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: A couple of supporting characters are known for this. All Things Under The Moon reveals that Dr. Goward keeps a mixed breed of unknown origins named Selby; Wally Barnes is quite taken by the animal, and is himself known to have a pack of cocker spaniels. It's shown in The Only Thing to Fear that after Goward's death, Paul Morcey adopted Selby and helped him deal with his grief over the loss.
  • Human Resources: The vampires of Some Things Never Die and Some Things Come Back are living off the energies transferred to their bodies when they killed someone, up close and personal (shooting them doesn't count). Or killed a lot of people at once, like London did when he caused the Conflagration.
  • I Call It "Vera": Betty and Veronica, London's .38 pistol and hand-made knife, respectively.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The man posing as Satan casually devours part of an until-then living woman when London and his allies confront it in its den; the werewolf is known to have partially eaten at least some of its victims.
  • Informed Judaism: Paul Morcey mentions in The Only Thing to Fear that he's Jewish, after having never shown any signs of it prior to that moment.
  • Jerkass Gods: Zeus and the other members of the Parliament of Confessors, who are driven by ego and a desire to be worshipped, and are willing to destroy much of humanity, by means of their patsy Martin Tabor, in order to force mankind into a state where it will need them again.
  • Jumped at the Call: Paul Morcey, who was just a maintenance man at the building where London's office was located, and who goes full-in after he saves London from the first monster they meet.
  • Legacy Character: The Destroyer, the one prophesied to turn back Q'talu; Teddy London is the third known one. Some Things Come Back reveals another: the Confessor, one who wanders the world, hearing the sins of everyone but bound never to share them; when one dies, another takes up their ring and assumes the identity, gaining the collective memories of all of their predecessors. Some of the former Confessors, however, are also residing on the Dream Plane, and now believe themselves to be deities.
  • Loss of Identity: An effect of becoming the Confessor, though it takes a while. Hercules is able to hold it off long enough to reject the Confessor identity and stay himself.
  • The Lost Lenore: London still mourns his late wife Genevieve "Jenny" Holister, to whom he'd been married for eighteen weeks when she died in a car accident several years before the series began.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Lai Wan's first fiancé, Jimmy Lu, left her because he couldn't take being with someone with powers; it didn't help that his mother was also a psychic (though she relied more on the old superstitions to read the future) and he'd never accepted her ways.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • The Only Thing To Fear reveals that Q'talu, whose access to Earth was cut off by London in the battle of Elizabeth, New Jersey, isn't entirely dead. While the dimensional portal was closed, the portion of it that was blown to bits stayed on Earth and is responsible for the planet's attempted destruction almost two years later.
    • Some Things Come Back reveals that Martin Tabor survived his injuries in Some Things Never Die. Jhong finishes him off for good by the end.
  • Nuke 'em: Martin Tabor's plan in Some Things Come Back is to kill as many people as possible via an arsenal of 223 nuclear warheads of various kinds and then suck in all their life energy for himself. Ultimately, Hera sets off the bombs that were all being stored in the Dream Plane, presumably destroying herself and the rest of the Confessors while sparing the outside world.
  • Occult Detective: The whole point of the series.
  • Offing the Offspring: Some years before the events of The Things That Are Not There, a woman murdered her own baby. Dr. Timothy Bodenfelt, who'd personally examined the body and remembers what the mother told the police about why she did it, is still horrified over the whole thing when he tells London about the experience.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Jorhsa and his ilk don't drink blood, they just live forever by deliberately killing others in an up close and personal manner (guns don't count - they put too much "distance" between the killer and the victim), or by killing a lot of people at once, which results in the victim's soul and life energies flowing into them; if the killer takes responsibility for what they've done, and wants to hold onto the power they gained from killing, those energies will heal and sustain them and, over the centuries, cause the fading of their ethnic traits (as Jorhsa says, "Once you've killed all men, you become all men..."). Anyone can become a vampire this way. Including Teddy London. However, those who can't handle the voices in their head that come along with the souls absorbed won't be able to hold onto the energy, and revert to being normal humans.
    • It's also shown that vampires whose bodies are still intact can be resurrected by having another vampire kill multiple victims around them, allowing them to absorb the energy and heal.
    • By the time of Some Things Come Back, both London and Martin Tabor have learned how to use this energy to perform such incredible feats as flight and energy attacks.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The villain of All Things Under the Moon is not a traditional werewolf, but a man who, out of guilt over his crimes, used the dream plane to transform his physical body into that of a monster.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: When London blew up Q'talu and caused the Conflagration, his hair turned white, implied to be the result of his absorbing close to two million souls all at once and becoming a vampire. It reverts to normal when he releases that power at the end of Some Things Never Die.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • London develops these as a result of his experiences; by the time of Some Things Come Back they've advanced enough that he can use them for combat purposes.
    • Lai Wan gained psychometry when she died on the operating table and got better.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The first four books, at least:
    • The Things That Are Not There: Q'talu is defeated, but nearly two million people die in the Conflagration, including London's best friend Timothy Bodenfelt, who's at ground zero of the explosion. Other casualties in the book are his aide Joseph Bago (AKA Joey Bago'Donuts), killed by the monsters, and Michael Coleman, who dies of heart failure that very night.
    • Some Things Never Die: The vampires are destroyed, but London's client is killed by them before London ever lays eyes on one of them.
    • The Thing That Darkness Hides: George Collins, the soulless man who hires the agency to recover his immortal essence from the being he sold it to, performs a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the aftereffects of the enemy's death. Two priests, Fathers Samuels and Wickler, also die in the thing's attack on the building they, London, Collins, Bain and Morcey were in.
    • All Things Under the Moon: The werewolf ultimately dies, but during their first encounter with it, Pa'sha and the majority of his Murder Dogs are killed by it; Zachery Goward dies of injuries sustained in the fight, and their client Maxim Warhelsky also dies when the werewolf attacks the vehicle he was in.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: Friendly version in All Things Under The Moon, when London, Lisa and Paul all give quotes on the subject of death. London quotes George Washington, Lisa quotes Emily Dickinson, and Paul prefers the misquoted version of Mark Twain's famous statement regarding his own death being an exaggeration.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Referenced. The day before the London Detective Agency goes to face a werewolf, they get into a discussion that involves quotes on death; Paul Morcey says he prefers Mark Twain's famous quote on death, and hopes to be around to say it in a few days.
  • Refusal of the Call: The vampire Hercules takes up the mantle of the Confessor for a while, but ultimately rejects it, choosing to keep his own identity and take a side in the war against Martin Tabor rather than succumb to Loss of Identity.
  • Satan: The antagonist of The Thing That Darkness Hides. Supposedly. He's really a Dream Weaver altering his physical form to appear as Satan. He claims to be a servant of the real thing though.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: The Terra-cotta Army of China, who sealed themselves so that their spirits would still be around in order to be ready to aid the Destroyer when the piece of Q'talu still on Earth started acting in The Only Thing To Fear.
  • Second Coming: Royce Hutchinson thought this was what he was preparing for when he agreed to serve Q'talu. He was dead wrong.
  • Second Love: Paul Morcey for Lai Wan, and Lisa Hutchinson for Teddy London.
  • Sequel Episode: The Only Thing to Fear for The Things That Are Not There, Some Things Come Back for Some Things Never Die.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: The best approach when dealing with the werewolf. London and Jhong both talk the werewolf down rather than trying to attack it during their first encounters with the beast. When London does this during their second encounter, it leads to the werewolf's death. Failing to do this, on the other hand, is what led to Pa'sha's death, and so many others over the years.
  • Shout-Out: London's gun and knife are named for two characters in Archie Comics; a flashback in The Only Thing to Fear reveals why London did it.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The overturned cups at Dr. Goward's party in All Things Under The Moon, for seven people who'd died and couldn't attend: Joseph Bago, Michael Coleman, Timothy Bodenfelt, Mrs. Xui Zeng Lu, Fathers Wickler and Samuels, and George Collins.
  • The Soulless: George Collins after selling his soul to the devil. He retains enough sense to want it back, and is willing to pay London ten million dollars to recover it for him.
  • Straight Gay: Wally Barnes, who doesn't act flamboyant or anything; in fact, the only hint in Some Things Never Die that he's gay is that his lover, who died in the Conflagration, was named Barry.
  • Suicide by Cop: The werewolf's ultimate goal.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: This is how London defeats the werewolf, forcing it to admit its guilt and take responsibility for its very first crime, which led to it becoming the monster it had become. This takes away its automatic Healing Factor, enabling London to kill it for good.
  • Time Skip: A "several years" one between The Only Thing to Fear and Some Things Come Back that's long enough for Paul to have married Lai Wan, and for Teddy to have married Lisa and become a father of two.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: London discovers that because of his causing the Conflagration and inadvertently killing nearly two million people at once, he has become a vampire like the ones in Chinatown in Some Things Never Die. Fortunately, he gets better.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: London gets one in Some Things Never Die, revealing how his father and two older brothers, and later his mother, died when he was younger.
  • The Unchosen One: Jhong underwent much training with the intention of being chosen as The Destroyer, but was ultimately passed up in favor of London. Despite his initial hostility towards London for this, the two wind up allies.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Paul Morcey to Lai Wan. It helps that he'd already found out about the supernatural and gone whole-heartedly into the battle against evil not long before meeting her.
  • Urban Fantasy: The series is largely set in New York City. Later books take them further abroad, to Chicago, India and China.
  • Winged Humanoid: The monsters pursuing Lisa Hutchinson and serving Q'talu.
  • World-Healing Wave: When a vampire is killed and their energies are released, it heals every injury or sickness within range, no matter how severe. Depending on how much energy is released, they can heal an entire hospital's worth of people.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Essentially how the vampire transformation works - killing someone in an up-and-personal way channels their life energies (their soul) into the killer, who will hear their victim's voice in their head afterward. Only a few people can actually handle the strain of maintaining so many voices and so much extra life-force; those who can't will go insane and, in extreme cases, too much will cause the vampire to burn out and be disintegrated.

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