First book I’ve read this year. It’s an easy read, I read it over a night and an afternoon.
Tackling such an iconic author and set of characters is always going to be a difficult situation for any person, no matter your credentials. So kudos to Mr Hororwitz for giving it a go.
On the whole, he got the flavour right. I enjoyed 80% of the book. He did his research; nothing in the Victoriana of his England seemed glaringly out-of-place. The first part of the book has the right flavour of language and yes this book could sit well among the other Sherlock Holmes stories on my shelves. The first of the two stories is fairly straightforward, easy to work out using Conan Doyle’s literary mechanisms (great writing there! I was thrilled at that!) but then it all seemed to go a little off the rails in the second half of the book.
The clandestine meeting between Watson and You Know Who is absolute fanboy rubbish and serves absolutely no narrative purpose whatsoever. The who scene appears to be there so Horowitz could fanboy! Please rip it back out and put it back in a second novel where it fits! Where was your editor????
And the whole purpose of the House of Silk? The handling of that subject matter is commonplace now, but Conan Doyle would not, could not have written about it. To me again, that places this book into the fanboy category NOT a book that could be part of the series. That lets it down.
Those two segments move it to a three out of five for me. Those two items moved this book from one that initially, I was prepared to stack next to my Conan Doyles – to at the end, was merely a fanboy letter.