BOOK REVIEW: Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles

Warlock Holms

Title: Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles

Author: G.S. Denning

Publisher: Titan Books

Published: May 2017

RRP: £7.99

“Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly, but he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again. The game’s afoot once more in Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles, as Holmes and Watson face off against Moriarty’s gang, the Pinkertons, flesh-eating horses, a parliament of imps, boredom, Surrey, a disappointing butler demon, a succubus, a wicked lord, an overly-Canadian lord, a tricycle-fight to the death and the dreaded Pumpcrow. Oh, and a hell hound, one assumes”

Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles, G.S. Denning

Having not read the first novel in the Warlock Holmes series (A Study in Brimstone) I wasn’t all too sure I was going to enjoy Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles, written by G.S. Denning and published by Titan Books.

Warlock Holmes

From what I gather about A Study in Brimstone (and without giving away spoilers for either book) Warlock Holmes, a not particularly bright detective, had been left in a state of dead-but-not-all-the-way-dead by his arch enemy. This has left Dr. Watson in Hellhound of the Baskervilles with the conundrum of how to conceal the not-actually death of Warlock AND mask the increasingly bad smell of his decomposing friend.

Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles is not a novel of one story, but instead a series of shorter mysteries inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works. These include tricycle racing to Farnham, an argument with a flower seller who doesn’t sell flowers (but something else entirely) and a talking horse (not of the Mr. Ed variety) These stories all culminate in the title tale Hellhound of the Baskervilles which, in typical intersecting but separate plots style of storytelling, pulls together everything that has happened in the series so far.

The stories are filled with some wonderful, in your face, wacky humour and cleaver one-liners, but also some pretty dark and grotesque details. This is a lot darker than your average Sherlock Holmes parody, with the biggest twist coming with the titular Hellhound story. It does work with giving the book complexity and depth, but don’t go into reading this book expecting “Without a Clue” joviality.

At times, I found the supernatural elements of the story rather heavy handed and distracting from the stories, I don’t know if this issue would have been avoided if I’d read the first in the series before embarking on Hellhound. The confusion from the fantasy and magic elements is worse towards the end but overall won’t stop you from engaging with the characters.

Warlock Holmes and the Hellhound of the Baskervilles consists of the following stories:

– The Adventure of the Blackened Beryls
– Silver Blaze: Murder Horse
– The Reigateway to Another World
– The Adventure of the Solitary Tricyclist
– The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles

 

Rating: 4/5 – but I warn you that this may be like Marmite for Holmes fans – you’ll either love it or hate it.

Reviewer: Fia

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