Top positive review
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A nightmare this book wasn't.
on 20 October 2015
I'm always wary of getting into books from a series that aren't by the original author, what if they don't get the tone right? What if they blemish the original series I love etc etc. There are simply many ways for them to go wrong. The stylish covers of the new Holmes adventures by James Lovegrove supported by the large amount of positive reviews inspired me to give them a go and so far, so good.
This is the first of three Sherlock Holmes novels Lovegrove has currently penned (the other two being Gods of War and The Thinking Engine) Set in 1890, Stuff of Nightmares starts with a powerful opening of Watson arriving at Waterloo station as a terrorist bomb explodes causing a shocking amount of death and devastation. This is the third boming to have gone off and the country is beginning to panic. Having witnessed the horror first hand Watson immediately sets off to find his old friend Holmes knowing he would be in the thick of the investigation.
What first struck me about this book is Lovegove's excellent use of language, just the bomb scene at Waterloo station alone was wonderfully described, not only in it's use of words but the tone of the book was spot on written from Watson's point of view as if he is penning it, as it should be. The story treads at a steady pace following Holmes's investigation meeting a fair amount of both familiar Holmes characters such as Mycroft, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade etc as well as a host of new faces which are brought to life with equal skill, my favorite being the infamous Baron Couchmare who turns up in truly splendid fashion at every appearance. The balance is also very well done with a mixture of serious moments but also humour. There are also times where there are rather dark aspects explored which made me feel slightly ill at ease, but in a good way, it was just well written.
I will say this though, Holmes purists will hate it as the plot becomes pretty Steampunk. The ending is especially over the top (I loved it personally) taking things as far in that direction as it's really possible. However even with these more fantasy elements Lovegrove shows a great love and respect for the source material and has created an excellent novel that takes Watson and Holmes on a great adventure that is a little different than you would expect and for that alone I think people should try it. I have already bought the next one ha ha.
+ Well written throughout.
+ Excellent pacing.
+ Baron Couchmare.