I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, read this the day it was released and felt a little disappointed when finished but I couldn't quite say why. I've let itI am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, read this the day it was released and felt a little disappointed when finished but I couldn't quite say why. I've let it bounce around in my head for the past close to week and I think I'm coming closer to understanding why it just seemed kind of "Well, it's OK. I guess." to me. I think my problem is that it just feels like I've read it before. It was very much a Neil Gaiman book, doing all the things with myths and memory and the like that I love from him, but it was a Neil Gaiman book with nothing new to offer if you've read all the previous Neil Gaiman books. It is short for an adult novel. I don't know the word count but I wouldn't be surprised if it is close to the novella / novel border depending on what definitions of the terms you use. I read it in under two hours. Short isn't necessarily a bad thing. I suspect the word count here is greater than that of Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, for example, and I love that to pieces. I don't know that the story told here could have been any longer. It doesn't feel like there is anything missing, it just doesn't feel like there is much here either. I understand that this was a very personal book for Gaiman to write, that it is highly autobiographical in ways none of his other books were and means more to him in many ways. Maybe that's part of my problem, too. There were so many moments when the protagonist would say or think something and I'd think "Well, yeah, I read Gaiman saying that on his blog two years ago," or similar. Maybe if you don't know Neil Gaiman's work and his online persona as well as I do there will be more in this for you than there was for me, but for me it was an OK story that I might have loved if this were my fifth time re-reading it as a comfort favorite but left me wanting for a first read of something that should have been new....more
An alternate history (Victorian London meets 1980s Punk) comic book about a female version of Sherlock Holmes (named Sharon Ford - get it?). That brieAn alternate history (Victorian London meets 1980s Punk) comic book about a female version of Sherlock Holmes (named Sharon Ford - get it?). That brief description hits about 5 different "I must read this book" check boxes for me. In the end, I think I liked the concept more than the execution but it is OK. There are two main stories in this complete collection. The first is a bit messy and difficult to follow. The art isn't clear enough for distinguishing a rather large cast of supporting characters and the plot a bit too convoluted for the space allowed it, making it feel rushed. The second story is better if more derivative (playing off Jack the Ripper is a bit overdone in Sherlock pastiches). It is clearer, more interesting, and has much more of an emotional payoff in connection with the main characters. The main stories end on something of an ambiguous note with the feel of something intended to be part of an ongoing series that didn't keep going. There are a few filler fluff stories in the back that don't amount to much. Overall, it is an interesting take on the Sherlock Holmes idea and does some things with the original canon I've not seen elsewhere, but would, I think, be a very difficult read for those not well-versed in reading comics and in Sherlock Holmes....more
This anthology is a mixed bag. Some of the 16 true stories and one epilogue mini-story are pointless and pedestrian: major mystery writers retelling CThis anthology is a mixed bag. Some of the 16 true stories and one epilogue mini-story are pointless and pedestrian: major mystery writers retelling Conan Doyle canon stories with their own series stars solving the same case or just writing a basic mystery with a few nods in the direction of Holmes references. Fortunately that isn't all the collection has to offer and there are a few true gems and even more entertaining offerings in with the blandness.
Neil Gaiman's "The Case of Death and Honey" and Margaret Maron's "The Adventure of the Concert Pianist" are brilliant stories that feel like they actually have something to say about the original canon characters and should be read by all Holmes pastiche lovers. The Adventure of the Purloined Paget by Philip Margolin and Jerry Margolin is a more Agatha Christie-esque modern mystery with a Sherlock Holmes theme to it and Charles Todd's The Case that Holmes Lost is a story about Arthur Conan Doyle himself solving a mystery with a bit of help from his creation. While they don't rise to the level of Gaiman's and Maron's efforts, they're worth reading for those looking for a love of Sherlock Holmes but not necessarily Holmes himself in action.
There are a few other stories that might appeal based on individual interests. For fans of specific Holmes stories, The Men with the Twisted Lips by S. J. Rozan is a behind the scenes look at the similarly titled canon tale and Lee Child's The Bone-Headed League is a modern twisted version of its canon parent. They both have something to say, offer a different take on the originals rather than merely rehashing them as some stories in this collection do. For my own interests, The Last of Sheila-Locke Holmes by Laura Lippman is a rather quiet story about a modern girl with a love of mysteries who felt familiar to me while Colin Cotterill's The Mysterious Case of the Unwritten Short Story is a comic about the difficulties of writing the story appearing in this collection that I absolutely loved but it will certainly not appeal to all tastes. Jacqueline Winspear's A Spot of Detection didn't do much for me but I can see it appealing to general mystery fans looking for a quieter story. It is a tale of falling in love with Holmes and perhaps trying too hard to be like him with a special treat for fans of another famous mystery writer I'll not name for those who like surprises. I don't see much of worth in any of the other stories save for The Startling Events in the Electrified City by Tom Perry. I honestly can't decide how I feel about this rollicking adventure story that has Holmes and Watson traveling to America at the invitation of the American President McKinley. The story is a great deal of fun that amused me immensely, but I can't decide if it amused me in the wrong ways, if I were perhaps laughing at it more than with it, or if that was the point....more