Book Review: The Army of Dr Moreau

Author: Guy Adams
Read between: January 2016
Number of pages: 281
Format: Paperback
Published: 24th August 2012
ISBN: 0857689339
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating:  five-stars.jpg

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This is the 2nd Book by Guy Adams in the collection I got off eBay and I was hoping for a more enjoyable story as I felt a bit deflated after the last one.

“Smartly written in the familiar Holmes style, the book has a crisp wit, high adventure, knowing nods to literary fans, and a well plotted mystery.” – THE DAILY ROTATION.

Synopsis: Dead bodies are found on the streets of London with wounds that can only be explained as the work of ferocious creatures not native to the city. Holmes is visited by Mycroft who is only too ware that the bodies are the calling card of Dr Moreau, a vivisectionist who was working for the British Government, following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, before his experiments attracted negative attention and he was halted. Mycroft believes Moreau’s experiments continue and he charges his brother with tracking the rogue scientist down before matters escalate further.

Review: After having a disappointing read with the pervious book, ‘Breath of God’; I was hoping for an improvement and I am glad to report I was not let down at all. This story takes inspiration from late Nineteenth century H. G Wells ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ book. From the get go we are told that someone is continuing with the experiments into the beginning of the 20th Century. When citizens of London start turning up on the street mauled by unknown creatures, Mycroft’s requests Sherlock to help solve the mystery with the help of scientists. Mycroft knows the story of Edward Pendrick and Dr. Moreau (once in his employ) and fears that Moreau is either not as dead as was formerly believed, or that someone has resurrected his work as a vivisectionist, hoping to create a race of super beasts for their own nefarious purposes. Sherlock finds himself intrigued, and before you know it, the game is afoot!

The Army of Dr. Moreau is a rollicking good ride, as Holmes and Watson take to the cities sewers, tracing the path of a local gang leader whose description sounds suspiciously canine. The novel does falter somewhat in the latter third, as Adams strays from the traditional Holmesian mystery to a straight up action novel, yet there is enough of Holmes’ and Watson essential nature to carry it to the finish. What starts out as a charming change of viewpoint (Holmes takes the reins as narrator when Watson becomes unavailable) becomes somewhat frenetic late in the novel, as every chapter is told from a different point of view. It does feel a bit rushed, and I wonder if his story could have benefitted from another fifty or so pages. The description of these ‘beasts’ makes them believable in a weird way. However, it doesn’t distract significantly from what is a thoroughly fun, although pulpy, pastiche.

So, if you were always disappointed that Conan Doyle and Wells never got together over tea to collaborate, this is for you. Click here for your copy.

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Book Review: The Breath of God

Author: Guy Adams
Read:  January 2016
Number of pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Published: September 2011
ISBN: 0857682822
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating: 3 star.jpg

“Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God plays out its mystery with an intriguing action aspect, spurred onward with fusion of supernatural and weird fiction. It’s an intelligently written book.” – SPOOKY READS

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As a person that loves Doyle’s classic style and the baton between Holmes and Watson I am always on the look out for authors taking on the challenge. I got this book in a lot of 6 books from ebay which I recommend. I will be reading them in published date order and I know Titan are bringing out more this year to keep the collection growing.

Synopsis: A body is found crushed to death in the London snow with no footprints anywhere near it. It is almost as if the man was killed by air itself. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson travel to Scotland to meet with the one person they had been told can help: Aleister Crowley. As dark powers encircles them, Holme;s rationalist beliefs behind the be questioned. The unbelievable and unholy are on their trail as they gather together the most accomplished occult minds in the country: Dr John Silence, the so called ‘Physic Doctor’; supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki; runic expert and demonologist, Julian Karswell… But will they be enough? AS the century draws to a close it seems London is ready to fall and the infernal abyss is growing wide enough to swallow us all.

Review: The opening of this book really captures the imagination and I can not fault it. However, though the read I was growing increasingly disappointed and I felt the story fell flat. I think, like Sherlock Holmes, have an issue with the super natural element because like Holmes, I know logic and science should be behind the mystery. I found some spiritual things hard to believe or a bit to crazy to believe were real. Guy Adam’s imagination and writing did keep me reading but even Holmes takes a back seat and says, “When you have eliminated the impossibles, whatever remains, maybe the truth “. The three new characters we are introduce to work well together but I missed Holmes present and the chapters were told from different perspectives which helped try to explain what was going on. The supernatural attacks are described well and are terrifying however, I still don’t feel satisfied I actually know what the breath of god was or maybe I was dissapppintment when it was just gas.

I feel very neutral about this book. It reminds me of Doyle’s, ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ so maybe I felt I have read this type of thing before by the man himself. The villain, Julian Karswell reminded me of the Joker from Batman with his hallucinations gas and I enjoyed the descriptions of what characters saw when effected. I am glad I read it as its a different take but maybe the supernatural topic is not my thing. It took a long time for the book to reveal it was gas and it turned very chaotic and over the top at the end.

Can’t take the Holmes logic out of the girl.

If you wish to have a read yourself and see what you think click here.

Book Review: The House of Silk

Author: Anthony Horowitz
Read between: Christmas Holidays 2015
Number of pages: 389 with a bonus review by author at back of book
Format: Paperback
Published: 11th September 2014
ISBN: 1409157245
Publisher: Orion Paperback
Rating: 

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After reading Moriarty and enjoying it so much over the Christmas break I knew Horowitz had a previous novel called, ‘The House of Silk’ and ordered it before I even finished Moriarty. I was expecting the same banter language echoing the Doyle’s classic style and as a reader I was not disappointed. When I put it down I found myself thinking about what could happen, what was going to happen next?

“Horowitz has captured Holmes Heaven” – THE TIMES

Synopsis: Set in London, November 1890 in the amerce of winter. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221B Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help, telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent week. Holmes and Watson find themselves drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from gas-lit streets of London to the criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious, ‘House of Silk’.

Review: Having come off the back of Moriarty Book I was sucked straight into this world. It is impressive to feel it is not a Doyle classic because the language Horowitz’s uses is so authentic. This is more of the classic style I would say Sherlockian fans are use to with Watson as the narrator. The classic characters are there. Sherlock, Watson, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and Brother Mycroft. Horowitz keeps the relationship between each character true.

The plot is well written with many twists and turns. There is a good balance of fast pace chases and masterful criminal thinking. The story has many layers of mysterious set in the victorian era. One of the main difference is the take on the Irregulars. They are not portrayed as the cheeky, street-gang but are pitied for their poverty and the harshness of their lives wrapped in with the ‘House of Silk’.

The ‘House of Silk’ turns out to be a gentleman’s club abusing children. It is well hidden and when revealed is a shock. I think it is a story that Doyle could not write but the modern author could. I was shocked as a reader this was the outcome as we were believed it was an all boys school where the teachers wanted what was best for their students. The way the truth is uncovered is well written and a good adventure.

Even though I read this second, it has a place on my bookcase. Its a good read, if you wish to order ‘House of Silk click here as we all know, ‘The Game is Afoot!’.

© Chris Bird Photography 2016

Book Review: Moriarty

Author: Anthony Horowitz
Read between: Christmas Holidays 2015
Number of pages: 362 with a bonus Strand Short Story ‘The Three Monarchs’
ISBN: 1409129519
Format: Paperback
Published: 5th November 2015
Publisher: Orion Paperback
Rating: 


‘Horowitz takes up the Conan Doyle baton and creates a suitably stylish and twisty detective story’ –
 SUNDAY MIRROR

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A well received christmas gift that sparked my Sherlock addiction and spurred me onto creating a blog to record and share the wonderful books I am reading. It was a completely refreshing take on the typical Sherlock Holmes style hence the title. Horowitz is known for his Alex Rider books. This is Horowitz second offering in his Holmes series.

Synopsis: Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard travels to Meiringen, Switzerland to view the body of one Professor James Moriarty, which has been pulled from the waters at the foot of the infamous Reichenbach Falls, I am sure you all know the story. Mr Holmes is also believed to be dead. He is joined – unexpectedly – by a Mr Frederick Chase of the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency who was pursued by Clarence Devereaux – a notorious New York criminal boss – across the Atlantic to a planned meeting with Moriarty. Together they return to London tracking their quarries’ last movements and known associates to a fateful nexus at the heartof the London underworld.

Review: The way I imagine this book ties into the Sherlock universe would be the sequence after The 2011 film “Shelock Holmes, A Game of Shadows” starring Robert Downey Jr. A recommended good movie.

Jones and Chase take on the famous role of Sherlock and Watson if somewhat diluted does try to reflect the Doyle-ian style banter. I found myself lapping up the pages as its fast pace kept me hooked.

The sharp string in the tail is when Chase ‘breaks the fourth wall’ and directly talks to us, that Chase is not really Chase and is in-fact Moriarty. He then spills into detail about why he took on the persona of Chase. It was to out smart the american criminal that had taken up resistance on Moriarty’s patch. He got access to police investigation and no one suspected a thing – not even the reader. No one knows what Moriarty looks like and it played all into his favour. I guess I am more of a Watson than a Sherlock but I did NOT see that coming despite the big clue on the front of the book.

A good read and a worthwhile story to add to my classic Sherlock stories.  Click Here to get your copy, have a cuppa and be sucked into this Holmes twist.

© Chris Bird Photography 2016