2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client by M.J. Downing

Oh dear… In my experience, new authors writing in the style/series of established characters like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go one of two ways – they’re amazing homages that enhance and build upon an existing world (e.g., the Mary Russell series by Laurie R.King) or they fail, miserably, by either trying too hard to be the same OR to be too distinct. This one, unfortunately, proved one of the latter.

I was intrigued by the concept. Sherlock Holmes’ world with zombies? Sign me up! I thought it would be a fun new twist on an existing world/concept that I enjoy, and the possibilities for explaining away Jack the Ripper as the work of zombies seemed endless. Unfortunately, all that I found endless was the eye-rolling and my irritation. From the opening salvo, I found this one curiously flat given its subject matter. I was struggling to stay with the story – then when Dr. Watson turned out to be a lech it lost me. Seriously. It’s fine to put your own spin on the world of well-established characters, but don’t be surprised if people react strongly when you take them so far afield…

This one flopped for me in a big way. It felt cobbled together and half-hearted, like it was trying to force itself into the skin of Holmes/Watson. If the author wanted to write Victorian zombies, I say brava – but don’t force-feed classic characters to them, sacrificing all that makes those characters classic along the way…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy. It wasn’t for me, but if you aren’t as wedded to the concept of Holmes/Watson as I (apparently) am, it may suit you more than it did me.

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