My daughter  reads a book every few days, plus she has DVD collections of TV's Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Hannay and the like, that supplement her Dresden Files/Vampire and Rom-Com collection. So she eagerly chose this book to read when it was offered. The storyline is about young Sherlock's first case, he's fourteen and it's 1868. My daughter loved the book, which is aimed squarely at young secondary school kids - in fact it's the first childrens book to be endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate. She says 'Its a new take on Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is still at school, and his older brother Mycroft is totally awesome (he's just left school and taken on the family business as dad has died and mum's ill).'
This first 'Young Sherlock Holmes' book 'Death Cloud' has an ending, but many of the underlying themes are unresolved with Moriarty like arch-villains still left in the shadows (apparently not Moriarty as such, just someone rather like him). For Sherlock Holme's purists the story is in keeping with Conan Doyle's original books, in that there's no Watson [they meet years later], although here young Sherlock does have two 'mates', a street urchin boy and a girl whom he meets via his American home tutor. In terms of 'violent themes' my daughter said 'there aren't any, well other than the odd kidnapping' - although when pressed, she admitted quickly reading through the fight scenes as she was keen to discover the outcome. She thought this book was aimed at 12-14 year olds.
Would she buy the next book in the series - definitely! In fact she would have been very annoyed if there's no sequel - fortunately Young Sherlock Holme's Book 2: Red Leach, and Book 3: Black Ice have now been released [and my daughter was excited when she got them, and loved reading them]. So Book 1: 'Death Cloud' is a hit and 4*, a high score for my daughter also given to the likes of 'His dark materials' and 'Inkheart' [she loves 'Harry Potter' and rates his books 3*, with Michael Morpurgo, 'Chaos Walking', 'The Dresden Files' and 'Wyrmeweald' achieving 5*]. For kids aged 7+, also check out Spielberg's excellent PG rated 1988 film 'Young Sherlock Holmes' thats naturally quite sympathetic to this book.