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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is the young James Bond, not Sherlock Holmes, 20 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Red Leech (Young Sherlock Holmes Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I promised, in my review of the first of this series of books, that I would give it another chance by reading Red Leech. I kept my promise. What do I make of number two?

Well, first, I must acknowledge that Lane can tell a jolly good (though still far fetched) story. It is not only teenagers who will enjoy this galloping yarn. It is true that, as with the first book, a promising plot turns into something approaching farce by the end. But that doesn't really matter. This is a gripping and well-constructed story.

But it is NOT Sherlock Holmes. Yes, I know he learns the violin in the story. And he makes mental notes to understand more about tattoos and codes and things like that. But this is a James Bond story, not a Sherlock Holmes story. It is all action (and very violent action). Young Sherlock continues on his campaign of killing as many baddies as he can (not something he went in for in adulthood). The scene in the engine room of the liner crossing the Atlantic is plainly designed for a Bond type movie.

The dialogue remains, as in the first book, relentlessly late 20th early 21st century. This time we are also treated to Holmes imagining the day when steam engines may allow travel to the moon. The author is clearly desperate to convince his readers that the Victorian stuff is all peripheral. As I pointed out in my last review, Lane plainly wanted to write young James Bond novels and has simply decided to make Holmes into Bond.

I remain sad that Lane has, in effect, prevented anyone else from making a proper attempt at writing about the young Holmes. Not just Lane. We are told that Conan Doyle's family has approved these books as the official young Holmes stories. That is particularly odd as they also approved Anthony Horowitz's brilliant House of Silk (a very faithful to Conan Doyle novel about the adult Holmes). But there we are: the family thinks Lane has got it right; I think he has got it horribly wrong.

But I will read the latest (number 6) in the series (because I have already bought it) and I will let you know whether things have improved.

Charles
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