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Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? (Shadow Police) Paperback – 19 May 2016
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There are very few people who should be allowed anywhere near those sacred words "Sherlock Holmes", and Paul Cornell is one of the best (Steven Moffat)
More dazzling work from a master of every medium he tackles (Rob Doherty, Executive Producer of Elementary)
The Shadow Police series is the quintessential British contemporary fantasy, full of grit and magic and wonderful things. Paul Cornell is a national treasure (Adam Christopher)
An irresistible blend of guns, gangsters, cops and monsters that grabs you by the eyeballs and never lets go. Start this book early in the day people, because you ain't going to get no sleep until it's done (Ben Aaronovitch on London Falling (Book One))
I think it is absolutely magnificent. I loved it . . . I'm not sure I've been that gripped by a novel in... well, decades (Russell T. Davies on London Falling (Book One))
Paul Cornell's London Falling is a much grittier vision of a gothic, fantasy London, well balanced between its depiction of the city's criminal underworld and a horrifying fantasy reality that for most of the novel lurks just at the edges of sight. Its take on the crime genre is less The Bill, more The Sweeney (Guardian on London Falling (Book One))
Realistic banter, original twists; a nifty debut (Daily Telegraph on London Falling (Book One))
Pacy, smart and revels in London mythology. It's especially clever in that our heroes don't stop being coppers just because they now realize there are more things in heaven and earth (and elsewhere) than dreamt of in our philosophies. London Falling might not be on the Booker longlist, but crikey it's good fun (Scotland on Sunday on London Falling (Book One))
The team's continued struggle to understand the dark and terrifying side of London is gripping. This book is a strong follow-up, a good standalone story, and an excellent read for fans of dark urban fantasy (Publishers Weekly on Severed Streets (Book Two))
The third book in the Shadow Police series continuing from London Falling and The Severed StreetsSee all Product description
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By the end of the book the mix works very well, with a lot that has been left hanging from the previous two novels resolved - but along the way it was decidedly hard work. This is because most of the main characters are, for various reasons, miserable and suffering throughout the book. Although this certainly gives the characters challenges to face, it can result in rather dour reading material.
As Buffy the Vampire Slayer proved so well, by far the best way to deal with the apparently impossible challenge of integrating the fantastical and the everyday is through humour. And humour was behind a lot of the resilience of the characters and interest in the plot in the first book. But here, things are so bleak for so long that is hard to really enjoy the book until you make it to the last few chapters.
Even so, the resolution is well handled - and there is clearly a lot more to mine here, if Cornell chooses to do so. He has moved an interesting character from the sidelines into the spotlight, which bodes well for future books. As long as Cornell can keep the mood a little more variable in future titles, rather than keeping things so uniformly bleak, we can look back on Who Killed Sherlock Holmes as a necessary low point to work through and get on with enjoying the rest of what is still one of the best urban fantasy series of the moment.
A really good series of books, highly recommended. I have reviewed one of the other books more fully.
Once again, the book loses points for trying to meld gritty urban policing with some meta-commentary (this time focussed around the sprawling entertainment industry that has grown up around various versions of Sherlock Holmes). The commentary intrudes too overtly into the narrative in places, reminding you too often of the author at the expense of the world he has created, but this is book 3 and those of us still here have decided to swallow this imbalance in order to explore the weird corners of the city Cornell has created. The plot is less satisfying than before, if only because the scale is smaller, but it pulls some neat tricks and ultimately entertains.
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