G S Denning – Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone

It’s a funny thing – you wait ages for a paranormal take on Sherlock Holmes, then two come along at once, or something like that. Anyway, this was another Amazon recommendation thingy, and it was a successful one in that (a) I was persuaded to buy it and (b) I enjoyed it.

As with the recent Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows, this starts with a retelling of the meeting between Holmes and Watson. Only this time, there are even more differences, not least that we’re now dealing with Warlock Holmes, who is, as his name suggests, not quite the rational detective we’re used to. The other little matter is, that despite having dark and mysterious powers, being occupied by various spirits (including Moriarty, who occasionally speaks through him), he is, not to put too fine a point on it, an idiot. By contrast, Watson soon shows a brilliant talent for deductive reasoning, taking us into two variant forms of Holmes stories at once.

The book consists of retellings (more or less, give or take) of A Study in Scarlet and several of the short stories. We encounter the usual Scotland Yard detectives: Lestrade, who in this version is a vampire, and Groggson (not to be confused with Greggson, of course), who’s an ogre. All perfectly normal, really…

There’s a lot of fun to be had, for instance when a character I won’t name to avoid spoilers, predicts his own death due to his

cardio-cranial narrative-sensitive exploditis

I think you can work that one out, and a lovely take on an old favourite

‘Tell him nothing, Watson!’ Warlock urged, struggling to reclaim his balance. ‘And for God’s sake, John, don’t let him learn your name!’

I did mention the idiot bit, didn’t I?

It ends on a suitably dramatic cliffhanger, setting things up for the sequel, due in 2017.

Good fun for fans of Sherlock Holmes who don’t take him too seriously. I think it would also appeal to readers of Wilkie Martin’s Inspector Hobbes books. Well, it did to me, and I’m both of those things.

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  1. Pingback: G S Denning – Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles | Losing it

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