Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review: Sherlock Holmes Investigates. The Pink Jewel Conundrum

Sherlock Holmes Investigates. The Pink Jewel Conundrum Sherlock Holmes Investigates. The Pink Jewel Conundrum by Philip van Wulven
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sorry this one took me longer than usual. I finished this late last night and was out all day today.
So..... let's get to it....
This book had a pretty strong starting point. It certainly felt like a Holmes novel. I appreciated that attention to detail and obviously faithful Holmes/Watson relationship. Since it was so short, it got to the ending so fast that I felt all I did was blink and it was over. And, unfortunately, it did not end as strongly as it had started. I can see why Holmes took the case.... I can't see why he didn't flip out over its conclusion. To put it bluntly, it was a lame conclusion. Totally unsatisfying. It was just so un-Holmesian and the mystery's conclusion is easily forgettable.
And I'm sure I will forget it, eventually.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Stars Align

The stars align. The planets align. My breath slows. The crickets sing me a lullaby as I fall back in your arms. Why are we the children who dream of letting go, of never letting childhood slip from our fingers kissed by stars? Why is childhood so blessed? I fall from your embrace and collapse on the ground and cry over the beauty of the sun. The world turns as the stars dance about us, as the wind sings, as the aurora borealis appears. I want to climb the lights of the sky and dance in the auroras, but that sea of dark blue scares me as much as it fascinates me. Your rose is made of moonlight as you reveal it and hand it to me, a child. Yet you are a child, too, and you are weeping tears of joy as I take the rose and kiss you on the mouth. The kiss is warm and gentle and we float away and dance in the twilight. The aurora rains on us and the stars become one with us.
I hold you as the night turns to day and the birds sing to us. We float down and walk in the warm grass as the clouds surround the sun, narrowing its light to shine on us.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Review: The Devil's Grin

The Devil's Grin The Devil's Grin by Annelie Wendeberg
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don't understand this book's aim. Is it a Holmes pastiche? Is it its own story? I put it under Project Sherlock because it uses Holmes' name and tries to pay homage to his methods.... for the first chapter of the book. After that, the narrative completely abandons the mystery involving Holmes in favor of Anna's medical studies. Another problem sprouts up from that, but Holmes' involvement is minimal at best. What is it with authors taking classic characters and saying they are respectfully using them, only to either abandon the character or add some new element that is out-of-character for them? Seriously!
When I say this, I'm referring to the last scene in the book where Anna and Holmes kiss. Why is that there? Holmes is unattached. It damages his character. He's not himself at all.
One last quip and I'll call it quits. Anna calls Holmes by his surname at first, calling him "Mr. Holmes" then calls him "Holmes" as their relationship progresses. She calls him by his first name once, to make him angry, but at the end of the story, she switches to his first name out of nowhere. Not because she's angry with him, not because she wants to provoke or annoy him, so I guess we can only conclude that dear Anna has fallen in love. Love!
On its own it's actually a good story, but I'm rating it as a Holmes pastiche and unfortunately it is not a very faithful pastiche at all. If more research had been done, if the author had set rules for herself and limitations so as not to get too carried away (like Anthony Horowitz did).
It's a shame. What started out as an interesting story was only destined to fall flat in the end.

Sorry for using this on so many reviews. I just think the photo can fit so many situations.

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: The continued Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The continued Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The continued Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Samuel Ingraldi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In the simplest terms, too short.
The so-called "resurrection" of the diabolical Professor James Moriarty has been done before (many times, in fact). Counting this short story, I have already perused three novels concerning the return of the Napoleon of Crime. This was a well-done version, but it wasn't enough for me.
I feel that, to make it more convincing, this story really would have benefited from a few scenes from Holmes' POV - and therefore some lines from the professor. Perhaps some inner thoughts from each man during the climax as they settle their conflict once and for all?
Just another small quip and I'm done: If Holmes said they could not just bring Moriarty to justice because there was no evidence of his dirty work, how did they have evidence of the gunfight? And was putting Moriarty to death really an appropriate punishment, since there was such little evidence?
This story could have been so much better. It's a shame it wasn't handled with more care.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Review: Shadows Over Baker Street

Shadows Over Baker Street Shadows Over Baker Street by Michael Reaves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please note that my rating of this book is merely the rating I gave out most often to the stories presented and does not represent the rating for every story. Those ratings make up my updates.

This novel shouldn't work. Sherlock Holmes mixing with the horrific characters and creations by H.P. Lovecraft. It shouldn't work.... but it does. It proves that a masterful hand is really the secret weapon to the best tribute, a hand that has done research and shown a love for both works from which the new story is drawn. From a shocking Jack-the-Ripperesque tale to a story that takes you back to Watson's time as soldier this book has something for everyone.

I really can't give this book a critique because of its structure, but I encourage those who are skeptical to give it a try. You may end up finding a favorite.

And, on that note, here's a list of my personal favorites
1. "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman
2. "The Case of the Wavy Black Dagger" by Steve Perry
3. "A Case of Royal Blood" by Steven-Elliot Altman
4. "The Weeping Masks" by James Lowder
5. "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece" by Barbara Hambly

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