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Holmesians forget your preconceived notions
March 29, 2016
alt.sherlock.holmes: New Visions of the Great Detective
by Gini Koch, Jamie Wyman, and Glen Mehn
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date: April 12, 2016
Holmesians look out - this is a collection of tales that will delight and amaze, that will tear down your preconceived notions of who Sherlock Holmes and Watson are, and linger long in memory. Each tale features a Holmes who is all you know and love, but at the same time who is far different than you expect. These are the Holmes’s who might have been - and I for one am glad that they are here to be seen and experienced.
Gini Koch’s Holmes is the most familiar. Her playground is Los Angeles where she consults for the LAPD. Rather than suffering from addiction to drugs, she has a more prosaic but almost equally destructive addiction to reality television. With Watson she investigates murder amongst the stars. I especially liked the portrayal of Irene Adler.
The Holmes (Sanford “Crash” Haus) of Jamie Wyman is a carnie and a trickster in the Post WWI United States. For all his brilliance, he runs the Soggiorno Brothers’ Traveling Wonder Show. After meeting Crash during his first case as a Pinkerton, retired soldier and doctor Jim “Dandy” Walker joins the group. The stories are fascinating, as is the commentary on race and class.
The final Holmes was in some ways the most poignant and troubling. Drugs run rampant throughout Glen Mehn’s novella. Dr (Doc) Watson is a drug dealer to the glitterati surrounding Warhol - the artists and the want-to-be’s. As much as he deals to others, both he and Sherlock use. In this part of the 60’s there is violent social upheaval. The civil rights movement is struggling forth and the extreme conservatives of McCarthyism plot in the background to undermine progress. Mehn’s Holmes unravels the how of Kennedy’s assassination, but too late to make a difference. Here is where the surveillance state and the manipulations of Hoover come into clear view. His second case is that of the theft of a physicist’s (a known supporter of the civil rights movement) work and an attempt to discredit him. Mehn’s novella is as much a warning as it is entertainment.
I absolutely loved alt.sherlock.holmes. It is a thrilling departure from tributes that attempt to emulate Arthur Conan Doyle. Rather than emulate, these authors rise to new heights taking inspiration from his classic tales, creating something new and astounding.
alt.sherlock.holmes is available for preorder and will be released April 12, 2016.
I received a copy of alt.sherlock.holmes from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Sherlock Holmes as you’ve never seem him – or is it her? – before, as the Great Detective travels through time and across continents to master a set of three new mysteries.
A Study in Starlets, by Gini Koch
Sherlock Holmes and her partner Dr. John Watson have barely set up as consulting detectives in LA before Tinsel Town’s finest come calling. Joey Jackson and Tony Antonelli are in trouble: their partner, Cliff Camden, has disappeared without a trace on the eve of filming for a new show. The LAPD don’t care and Watson has his own reasons for wanting to stay out of it, but Holmes takes the case.
But she gets to work amidst neurotic actors, grumbling film crews and low-level sleaze that permeates LA, a fresh murder turns everything on its head...
The Case of the Tattooed Bride, by Jamie Wyman
Winter, and the Soggiorno Brothers’ Traveling Wonder Show has pulled into its berth in Peru, Indiana. Sanford “Crash” Haus, proprietor and genius, and his friend, the retired soldier-turned-surgeon Jim “Dandy” Walker, are looking forward to a quiet few months. By happy coincidence, just as the Strong Man and the Tattooed Lady announce their betrothal, the Wonder Show’s old manager Professor Sylvestri – a minister, no less - rolls into town with his ward in tow.
Preparations for the happy day begin, but violence and misfortune attend on them...
Half There/All There, by Glen Mehn
Glen Mehn’s novella is a drug-fuelled descent into the experimental world of Warhol's Factory. Holmes and Watson are faced with a mystery unlike any other, set against the backdrop of social, cultural and racial issues that rocked society and brought about the fierce (and sometimes violent) changes at the end of the swinging sixties...