war­lock holmes: a Study in Brim­stone Baker Street ir­reg­u­lar

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Paul Kirkley

Sher­lock Holmes has had more rein­ven­tions than Madonna. He’s a kid! (Young Sher­lock Holmes) He’s a dog! (Sher­lock Hound) He’s an id­iot! (With­out A Clue) He’s a re­an­i­mated corpse! (Vic­to­rian Un­dead) So turn­ing Baker Street’s finest into a master of the dark arts might not be very orig­i­nal – how­ever, in Gabriel Den­ning’s hands, it is great fun.

As with Steven Mof­fat and Mark Gatiss, much of Den­ning’s shtick re­volves around finding new riffs on Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s orig­i­nal tales. But rather than sim­ply trad­ing up the spy­glass for a smart­phone, War­lock Holmes goes balls out by, for ex­am­ple, pre­sent­ing the Baker Street Ir­reg­u­lars as shape-shift­ing rats and In­spec­tor Lestrade as a vam­pire who drinks neat nose­bleed.

That said, the plot beats stick so faith­fully to A Study In Scar­let – plus ho­cus-pocus spins on five other orig­i­nal Holmes sto­ries – you can’t help but feel Co­nan Doyle is do­ing a lot of the heavy lift­ing here. But a rich seam of black com­edy helps add dis­tinc­tion, while the cliffhanger end­ing sets up an in­trigu­ing de­monic en­counter in the forth­com­ing Bat­tle Of Baskerville Hall.

Also re­cently pub­lished, by Abad­don Books: alt.sher­lock.holmes, a col­lec­tion of three novel­las.

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