Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

I don't know about most of you, but I enjoy reading books about and watching Sherlock Holmes movies. It's always interesting to try and outsmart him and figure out what's going on before he does. It's easier in the movies, but the books still keep me guessing.

This time we add a new writer to the Holmesian Canon and hopefully will interest you in getting a copy of the book.

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson

Lyndsay Faye, Simon & Schuster, Apr 2009, $25.00, ISBN: 1416583300

In 1888 London is shocked by the brutal murders of two prostitutes in the East End. Inspector Lestrade knows this is no run of the mill killer and he will need help. He asks renowned private sleuth Sherlock Holmes to investigate the homicides. Already fascinated by the accounts Holmes welcomes the case.

As Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson investigate, more vicious murders occur by the same killer whom the media dubs Ripper for his brutality. In an ironic twist one reporter claims Holmes is the Ripper, which is why he insists the famous detective has failed to end the reign of terror.

Holmes fans will welcome Lyndsay Faye to Baker Street as her Watson comes across as a winner telling readers the tale of Holmes and Ripper. Fans will enjoy the great detective’s efforts even as the press badgers him to solve the case; which ironically readers do earlier than the sleuth does. Although Homes and Ripper co-starring has been used before by Carole Nelson Douglas (in her Irene Adler series) and Michael Dibdin in THE LAST SHERLOCK HOLMES STORY, etc. Ms. Faye provides a fresh entry.

Deadlock, Iris Johansen, St. Martin’s, Apr 2009, $26.95, ISBN: 0312368119

She goes to the hot spots of the world under the aegis of the United Nations to find the country’s historical treasures and bring them out; she returns them when hostilities cease. Currently archeologist Emily Hudson is in Afghanistan seeking artifacts in a remote hard to get to village in the shadow of Hindu Kush. She and her best friend and associate Joel Levy find nothing worth saving, but as they depart they find two of their crewmembers dead.

Joel and Emily are taken hostage by a deadly mercenary Staunton who has killed the rest of her team. He and his associates seek Zeliv’s Hammer and rejects Emily’s claim she never saw anything remotely like what he describes. Staunton tortures Joel until he dies; the terrorist expected Emily to break and provide him the answer he demands of her, but she remains in denial.

Meanwhile her disappearance has led to an international media tsunami. CIA Administrator Ferguson blackmails freelance operative John Garret to find and rescue Emily. He arrives in time to prevent her from being raped and brings her to his haven to recuperate. However, as she heals Emily knows she has one last mission to kill Staunton, but the malevolent monster has his own plan to recapture his meal ticket starting with killing a friend of Garrett that personalizes their battle as far as the American agent is concerned.

Iris Johanson novels denote bestseller and her exhilarating over the top of the Pamir Mountains is another sure shot. The story line is filled with action but it is the strong cast and the geography that make DEADLOCK a stunning thriller. The support characters add depth with two strong enough for their own tales. Garret and Emily are drawn to one another but before they can explore their attraction, they must deal with Staunton and his unmerciful mercenary horde.

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