Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Associates Of Sherlock Holmes - Various Authors - Edited by George Mann

Book Details

Book Title: Associates Of Sherlock Holmes 

Author: Various Authors (Edited by George Mann)

Publisher
: Titan Books

Source: Sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Page Count: 369

Format: Paperback

Genre: Mystery/Crime



ISBN/Link To Book On Amazon: 978-1783299300

Audience: Those who love Sherlock Holmes and wish to see him from a different perspective.

Summed up in one word: Refreshing

Author Bio: There are many authors involved in the writing of this book (14 in total, as far as I know). George Mann has edited this book and produced the finished article so I will focus on his profile for this bio. George Mann is the author of the Newbury and Hobbes and The Ghost series of novels, as well as quite a few short stories, novellas and audio books. He has also written and edited several other of Titan's Sherlock Holmes series including Encounters of Sherlock Holmes, More Encounters of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: Spirit Box.

First Impression: I was unaware of this series of books until Titan Books offered me a copy to review recently. It was an intriguing experience, reading about Sherlock Holmes from the perspective of his friends and adversaries. Though I don't know much about Sherlock Holmes (I know! We just never crossed paths when I was growing up :/) I was still able to enjoy this book to a great extent.  

Featuring events set within the famous Sherlock Holmes books that everyone knows and loves, shown from a completely different view point. And also some original stories
written by authors in the style and mindset of characters featured or mentioned throughout Sherlock Holmes' escapades over the century that he has populated 221B Baker Street.

Summary of the Story:
Some of the friends and enemies of Sherlock Holmes want to set a few things straight, whether it be for an admiral purpose or not. Everyone who has been in contact with the great detective has something to say about him or has experienced his unquestionably accurate ability to deduce almost any scenario or circumstances. 

In The Associates of Sherlock Holmes, the reader gets to hear the other side of certain stories surrounding Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, written from the perspective of other key characters such as Irene Adler, Colonel Moran, Inspector Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes and many more.

Review

Story/Plot/Narration: In TAOSH we get 13 stories set within the Sherlock Holmes universe. Each story is told from the view point of another significant character present within certain key plot lines. Also we are treated to several original story lines created by authors, written in the tone and style of the characters already published appearances. Every story is written by a different author, so each episode has a unique feel and contribution to the overall effect that this book produces.

Each story is set in the first person perspective and the characters range from close allies like Watson, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes, to hardcore enemies like Irene Adler and Colonel Moran. The range of stories told here is impressive, there is a hunt for a mythological creature, a ghost haunting a student, a mad professor and his flute, a house infested with killer animals and other wonderful, horrific and bizarre tales.

Genre/Writing Style: Though this book is not strictly just Mystery/Crime as there are elements of horror and supernatural, I think it fits well into the genre, especially as a contribution to Sherlock Holmes' mythology. Unfortunately I have not read the other books published by Titan concerning Sherlock Holmes, so I cannot offer any comparison to those, but in terms of quality mystery content, I think this book excels. I believe this book will satisfy both long time fans of SH as well as newcomers who want to get an idea of what the detective is all about.

Setting: The time periods and locations used in this book are all over the place as the writing styles differ from author to author. Readers experience locations such as the classic London street settings, as well as more unknown settings like the American woods and the French nightlife. Time periods also differ as flash backs, memoirs and stories take us forward and backward in the SH timeline.

Characters: This book is filled to the brim with characters from all over the SH story arc. Each individual character has their own personal affiliation, vendetta or grievance against our star detective and the authors do a great job of bringing out the frustration or admiration that each of these folks harbour within themselves towards him. I like the fact that each author has their own personal reasons behind choosing the character that they wanted to write about and also stretching the limits of characters they could use. (One character did not feature in the original stories other than a brief mention, but that did not stop an author from bringing him to life within these pages).

Themes: The authors kept to the original idea behind Sherlock Holmes, that not matter how bizarre a scenario can get, there is always a rational explanation hiding out there somewhere and you just have to look hard enough. This idea fuels almost all SH stories and it is captured nicely here as well. There is quite a lot of anger, frustration and jealousy present as SH is a somewhat maddening individual most of the time. But the authors also feature a lot of admiration, respect and compromise within these stories as well because no matter how annoying SH can be, he is usually always looking out for the people surrounding him. 

Likes/Dislikes: I am satisfied with this book as it is a solid effort, the authors worked cohesively and managed to create a diverse and interesting chapter in the SH universe. As with many short story books, there are some stories I love, such as the haphazard sniper episode and some I dislike, such as the Mycroft memoir episode that was oddly written and even when I finished it, I was still unclear on the overall idea behind it. 

I am impressed with the execution of this book, it could easily have been a choppy, badly written piece, but with the right team and a talented editor at the helm, they brought life to both well known and lesser known people who surround SH.

Overall Opinion/Rating: I recommend this book to both seasoned SH readers and newcomers alike. At best, this book is an impressive contribution to the wider SH universe and at worst it is a Mystery/Crime/Horror book that will entertain you and provide some insight to the characters that surround one of the most iconic individuals in the history of literature.

9/10

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