Killer Nashville Book of the Day
Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone
by G.S. Denning
Reviewed by Mary Hankins
Lovers of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson alike, enter a world where everything you thought you knew is wrong—and one that is infinitely more strange than you can possibly imagine!
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most fantastic fictional characters ever written. He is complex, intelligent, and mysterious, and over 100 years after his creation, still dazzles the imagination of readers and writers alike. Dozens of writers have gone back to Baker Street with a new puzzle for the great detective to crack, with adventures including time travel, space aliens, or even the son of the man himself. Into this mighty multitude steps G. S. Denning, whose take on the classic Holmes story is in a word, unique.
We enter this eccentric tale of crimes and the supernatural via the journal of doctor John Watson, where he begins by apologizing for his part in the downfall of the human race. Really. Expertly nesting himself in the normal Victorian ambiance, Denning takes the familiar story and characters and introduces a new element, one that shifts the entire world on its axis: magic.
The principal players are the same, though not with all of their names and classic characteristics intact. Watson is indeed a doctor who was recently wounded in Afghanistan, and Holmes indeed works with Scotland Yard on strange cases. But in this version, it is Watson who is the deductions expert. Holmes is in fact a sorcerer, named Warlock. His involvement with Scotland Yard has nothing to do with the drive to solve puzzles and put his great mind to work; rather, he works to help hide the existence of other beings who are not considered “normal” by polite Victorian society. Beings such as Detective Inspector Lestrade, a vampire, and Trog Groggson, a troll, enter the sitting room of 221B, much to the chagrin of Watson and their beadyeyed housesitter, Mrs. Hudson.
Fans of John Watson from the original stories will be vindicated in this book, and not because it is Watson who is the genius. Holmes, while extremely powerful in the arcane arts, is a bumbling idiot when it comes to the science of deduction. For many years, when examining the historic duo of Holmes and Watson, people have wondered what was Watson’s use beyond that of chronicler? Indeed, compared to the brilliance of Holmes, he often appears to be an idiot himself, hardly aware of the world around him. I found it extremely satisfying that the dynamic duo was finally depicted as two equals, both with their own unique skills and strengths which compliment each other, and not as a hero and his sidekick.
Magic, demons, and the spirit of Moriarty are only a few of the adventures the two take on in this, the first of what I hope to be many books. Enter into Denning’s London, one full of the strange and unbelievable, hiding in the shadows of Victorian society. His engaging prose and irreverent playfulness with the original source material makes it a book any fan of Sherlock Holmes will enjoy.
Mary Hankins is a recent graduate of Lipscomb University. She is putting her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree to use in the Nashville community theatre scene. Loves God, her family and friends, and Phantom of the Opera—in that order.
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