Friday, November 04, 2016

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Counterfeit Dectective

THE COUNTERFEIT DETECTIVE
STUART DOUGLAS
TITAN BOOKS UK

Sent to me by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review:

Book Info: Paperback, Crime, 272pp

Buy/Read Now (links): Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads

Rating: 4/5

Audience: Readers who will enjoy a good old fashioned continuation of Sherlock Holmes' classic series. Those looking for a devious tale set outside of Sherlock Holmes' comfort zone.

Summed up in a few words: Safe. Solid. Enjoyable.

First Impressions: I had a great time reading my first book in the Further Adventures series. An intriguing plot idea, good old fashioned Sherlock Holmes and a new setting for one of his mysteries. This book does not break the mould, it doesn't reinvent Sherlock. The Counterfeit Detective is a continuation of his escapades that respects the lore and freshens the series up with a new setting. 

Book Synopsis: A False Sherlock. An anonymous letter brings strange news to Baker Street; there is an impostor Sherlock Holmes at work in New York City, solving cases and taking society by storm.

The real  Sherlock Holmes wastes no time in crossing the Atlantic to confront the charlatan. But he and Watson find more than they bargained for: the counterfeit Sherlock Holmes is missing, his land lady has been horribly murdered, and his clients are refusing to reveal their secrets...

BOOK REVIEW

I got pretty excited about the idea of an impostor Sherlock Holmes reeking havoc in New York City and for the most part that is what I got in The Counterfeit Detective. Sherlock Holmes is being worked to the bone by his older brother Mycroft and he is in need of a holiday. Sherlock receives a letter from an acquaintance from a past case informing him that a man is impersonating Sherlock Holmes in NYC and solving cases/helping those who need it. So Sherlock and Watson drop everything and head on a voyage to America to see this man in person. 

When Sherlock and Watson arrive, the impostor is nowhere to be seen, no one is willing to discuss him and only a handful of people have ever seen him. Picking apart every element of this man's existence starts to cause problems and eventually deaths, so Sherlock Holmes and Watson are on the clock to figure out this elaborate scheme and find out who the man is and what his plan entails. I was impressed with this piece and I definitely recommend it to all Sherlock fans. The storyline in The Counterfeit Detective is inspired and Stuart Douglas does a great job with the character. I especially enjoyed the little warm up case with a murder aboard the Oceanic, with the duo testing their skills in a tightly contained environment.

Told from the perspective of Watson, following all the leads and conclusions that Sherlock has is both exciting and dizzying. The pacing is just right with the book being just long enough. If Stuart Douglas had tried to go into more depth I don't think it would of worked, but the book doesn't take itself too seriously as this is sort of a holiday for Sherlock and it certainly feels that way.

Compared to other fiction that concerns the great detective coming out this year, this book is rather tame, that is not a bad thing, I would rather this book be a solid, enjoyable and brief read then SD trying to break any new ground. Sherlock fans will enjoy this read, it is a perfect warm up for the new series starting on television soon.

There are a mix-match of themes here from secrecy and murder to gentlemanly competition. The tone is mainly centred around intrigued and competition though it does flicker to darker shades of tone in the book at times, there are a fair few murders in this book. The key characters in the book have not changed much in terms of Sherlock and Watson. There are some new characters in the book that we may see in the future like Inspector Bullock, an overworked NYC officer who becomes increasingly involved with the impostor case as things start to take a turn for the worst.

Late 18th century New York City has both its similarities and differences to London which are outlined in the book at several times, I do feel that the setting had an effect on Sherlock, throwing him off his game slightly. The element I most enjoyed about this book is the solidarity. Everything was well written, enjoyable and when I put the book down I thought it was thoroughly enjoyable. The element I was most disappointed with I cannot really discuss here as it is a monumental spoiler :( but lets just say I didn't get everything I wanted from this book.

Overall this is a entertaining, true to Sherlock reading experience that will please fans and hopefully keep enticing new fans to join in on one of the longest running popular book series ever created. A few disappointments surpassed by a truck load of positive and enjoyable moments, I will be recommending this book to plenty of people.

About the Author: Stuart Douglas is the author of numerous short stories and novellas, and has edited several anthologies. He set up Observe Books in 2009 , a small imprint. Stuarts's novel The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Albino Treasure was published in 2015 and his writing of Sherlock Holmes has been described as 'reminiscent of the original brilliance [of] Conan Doyle' (Publishers Weekly). Moreover, Stuart contributed a story to Titan's Encounters of Sherlock Holmes in 2013, and is the Features Editor of the British Fantasy Society journal. (Official Titan Bio) (For more info on Stuart Douglas, his website is www.stuartdouglas.com/#)



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