I'm going to put this book in the 'not bad, but could have been better' classification. I have my own perceptions about how young Sherlock Holmes woul...moreI'm going to put this book in the 'not bad, but could have been better' classification. I have my own perceptions about how young Sherlock Holmes would be and this one isn't real close to my ideas. Yeah, I'm not sure I can clarify that right now, so I won't try. I just found the book disappointing in how it did craft young Holmes.
I did like the fact that Holmes has a mentor in an American who brings to mind a cross between Mark Twain and Wyatt Earp/Doc Holiday. Mr. Crow helps to develop Holmes' signature traits, deductive reasoning and a keenly analytical mind. It was interesting seeing how Holmes went from being a 'whatever/why is this important?' kid to the man who has an insatiable curiosity about the world and the burning desire to solve any puzzle that he encounters. I also liked Holmes' sidekick Matty Arnett. I have a feeling he will be accompanying Sherlock on more adventures in this series, and I'm very cool with that. I'd also like to see more of Mr. Crow. His daughter, Virginia, doesn't have quite as concrete a role, other than the horse-mad hoyden, would-be love interest, and perhaps, her tendency to bring out the impulsive adventurer in Sherlock.
What surprised me was how violent this book is. Personally, I would be wary about letting a child younger than thirteen read this. There are some fairly descriptive acts of brutality that I think would be a bit much for a younger reader. I was concerned that the exceedingly villainous bad guys who would torture a kid with a bullwhip in a book for a younger audience. It's a pretty drawn out scene too. Not to mention a nasty fist fight that Sherlock finds himself involved in, along with numerous altercations with the Big Bad's minions who have no qualms about murdering youngsters.
The main bad guy is suitably majestic, and really quite outre' in his madness and character quirks, almost over the top, in fact. I guess that could be fun, but his bombastic speech about wreaking vengeance against the British Empire was a bit tedious. Sometimes I get impatient with the "I am an Evil Overlord" speeches.
A big issue I did have was the pacing. I don't know. It just seemed uneven. I liked the action bits, for the most part, but I wasn't keen on how long it took Sherlock to figure things out. I realize that he's a young kid and he's just in the beginning of his long career as a detective, but I think he could have been a bit brighter in some circumstances. Happily, there is a good progression in his character over the course of the book.
Yeah, I know it, it's a problem of having too high expectations. Why do I do that to myself? That can burst a bubble or two for a reader. Would I recommend this? Hmmm, only if you really want to read about a young Sherlock Holmes, and your expectations aren't too grand. If you happen to be at the library and you can't find another book with a young detective to read, then you could reach for this one and it wouldn't be too much of a waste of your free time to read.
The Gray Man is an action-packed, suspenseful ride that I didn't want to put down. Court Gentry is the kind of hero I am always looking for. He is res...moreThe Gray Man is an action-packed, suspenseful ride that I didn't want to put down. Court Gentry is the kind of hero I am always looking for. He is resourceful, driven to get the job down, and a stone cold survivor. As I read this book, I was thinking, "Really? Did that just happen? I'd be so dead now!" Of course, I wouldn't want a wimpy heroine like myself in Court's shoes. Which is why I read these books, because I love seeing a tough character get himself out of some highly sticky situations that I'd be so dead meat in. And Mark Greaney through Court Gentry more than delivers on that front.
The storyline had me holding my breath, and muttering things I probably shouldn't be saying under my breath. Court is placed in a very tough situation, with many people out to kill him, and limited resources. The fun of this story is being along with Court on the ride as he faces all these top level death-bringers and gets himself hurt again and again, but manages to do some serious damage to the bad guys. I didn't enjoy him getting hurt so bad, but I did enjoy seeing this Energizer bunny keep taking his licks and keep on ticking. I love these kinds of characters. Although Court is a series bad*ss, he's also very moral in his own way. He believes in doing the right thing, and only kills bad people or to protect himself. I liked that even in the desperate situation he faces, Court doesn't lose sight of what he values. He's definitely the kind of guy I'd want on my side.
For readers who enjoy an adrenaline-infused story, but one that also engages the brain, I'd recommend this novel. The whys and wherefores take this story to higher level. I am officially adding Court Gentry to my roster of certified Grade A Kickbutt Artists, along with Scarecrow Shane Schofield, Joe Pike, The GhostWalkers, The Prakenskiis, Anne Stuart's Ice heroes and Jack Reacher. Believe me, that's a huge compliment!(less)