Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Death Cloud

Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes, book one)
By Andrew Lane, read by Dan Weyman
Published 2011 by Macmillan Young Listeners

How did Sherlock come to be the eccentric and brilliant detective we know him as? Well, maybe it begins here, the summer when he is fourteen and living with his estranged aunt and uncle. When two locals die with symptoms resembling the plague, Sherlock takes it upon himself to uncover the true cause of death, with help from his new American tutor, Amyus Crowe.

This series came recommended to me by a colleague and when I saw it available as a SYNC free download last summer, I took the plunge.

It's kind of an odd choice for me. I love historical fiction but I sometimes find mysteries a bit tedious. Additionally, I've never read an original Sherlock Holmes story, nor seen any of the film adaptations (aside from the one starring Robert Downey, Jr., and I hated that one) or the current BBC series that everyone I know is obsessed with. I remember vaguely hearing about these books when they first started coming out, but I didn't really have any interest in them.

That being said, I found it a rather enjoyable listen - more so than I expected it to be. Despite not being a particular Sherlock fan, I of course know something about him and I think Lane's fictional vision of him as a teenager is believable and in line with Sherlock as an adult. I think, perhaps, the thing I found most difficult to understand was the lack of parents. I think there was an explanation in the book (I listened quite a while ago), but it wasn't satisfactory for me.

I liked that this created an original mystery for Sherlock to solve but the bad guy felt a little mustache-twirly for me. I liked it well enough that I picked up the second a couple months later, but I'm not in any rush to finish the series.

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