G.S. Denning
May 2016

Yes, this is yet another re-working of Sherlock Holmes. As someone who has read many and been disappointed in most, this one charmed me. It stays true to the source material yet massages and prods it at the same time.

In this version, Sherlock isn’t Sherlock. And he isn’t quite human, either. Oh, and he isn’t always terribly bright. He is a “consulting magician.” A walking, talking tome of the esoteric. But not what one would call observant. Not one to deduct. For tried and true fans, Dr. John Watson is still at Holmes’ side after his return from the Afghan War. He’s just had to make kind of a blood pact with a man who is haunted by demons. And many prospective flat mates are made to enter their new flat by stepping over the threshold backward.

Watson takes us along for the first of six stories with A Study In Brimstone. The case hinges on a pastry wrapper that has been stuffed into the mouth of the victim. At the scene of the crime Watson meets Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, a detective at Scotland Yard and a vampire. His sidekick is an ogre, Inspector Torg Grogsson.

It is here we (the Reader and Watson) discover that Holmes is not a detective. He knows his occult references, his demons and receives help from LondonMapoccasional possession. On the scene, he is a bit of a bumbler. But Watson, a doctor and soldier, discovers, deduces and discerns. As they move from case to case, Watson is pulled deeper into a world he could never have conceived of and Holmes seems to be pulled closer and closer to the edge of oblivion.

Denning won me over with odd, utterly likeable characters. The stories all move along dexterously, peppered with daring do. That such creatures inhabit the world as one would have only read about in penny dreadfuls is perfectly acceptable. The Reader will be engaged and will wait with delighted trepidation for the end of each tale.

Jennifer Jordan