If you are expecting a facsimile of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's prose and approach to Sherlock Holmes--drop your expectations. This isn't that kind of bo...moreIf you are expecting a facsimile of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's prose and approach to Sherlock Holmes--drop your expectations. This isn't that kind of book. More than being a crime fiction book, Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God is more like a book about the supernatural and paranormal.
That's okay if you don't have any expectations. Holmes plays a relatively minor role in this story and disappears halfway through the book, only to reemerge at the end. His departure is reminiscent of his disappearance in The Hound of the Baskervilles, to which the author alludes when Holmes makes his disappearance. I was okay with that, especially since the Baskerville book is one of my all-time favorites.
What I had to do, though, was drop expectations that this was a crime novel and treat it more like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I enjoyed the magical aspects of the story, especially the appearance of Alistair Crowley. The addition of Holmes as a character, and his approach to solving crimes, seemed like an afterthought. What do we want from a Holmes story? We want to see his attention to details that lead him to bold speculation that is almost always spot-on. We didn't find that in this book (maybe only a couple of times), and so I am wondering why Holmes is in this book at all.
Having said that, this story reminded me so much of the Rod Serling series Night Gallery that I even imagined Mr. Serling himself making introductions to the various chapters. That was a big plus. Another big plus was giving the story various perspectives in the form of letters and stories presented by various characters. That reminded me of Dracula, so the book gets another plus. The gruesome details of the mysterious deaths were deliciously horrific, reminding me of Stephen King. Another plus.
I do want to say one thing about the editing of this book. I found so many editorial mistakes in this printing that I began to wonder if it was edited at all. I had to pinch myself--was this a problem with differences in standards between British and American English? Was this due to the fact that this was told in the first person from the viewpoint of John Watson? I started to dog-ear the pages with mistakes. For example, I found a simple typo where the word "to" was used instead of "too." Also there were numerous grammatically challenged sentences that I had to read several times before I understood them ("Nonetheless, Mycroft has insisted that Holmes returns to London immediately"--really???). And finally, there were so many sentences with comma splices that I wanted to cry (I have not been a resident here for many months, I bought the house from the previous owner due to its suitability for a ritual I had in mind. For God's sake, don't be afraid to put a semicolon in there!). Certainly John Watson would never make these mistakes. Anyhow, I thought it was my own peevishness until I read this sentence: SIlence looked concerned. (sic) Note that the second letter in the name "Silence" is capitalized. This is obviously a typo, which makes me think that the editors did not give this book the once-over or twice-over it deserved.
Don't get me wrong--I did enjoy this book. I would give this book 3.5 stars because of the fun I had reading about the supernatural aspects, but I'm knocking it down to 3 (instead of raising it to hallowed 4) because of misleading me into thinking that this was a story in the Holmes tradition (i.e. looking at subtle clues to draw grand conclusions) and for the poor editing, which is sadly not the fault of the author.(less)
Santa Cruise was not the worst book I read this year, but it comes close. I picked it up at the library for a good trashy mystery read--and it certain...moreSanta Cruise was not the worst book I read this year, but it comes close. I picked it up at the library for a good trashy mystery read--and it certainly was trashy. Predictable plot, two-dimensional characters, and flat prose--all I have to say is, meh! I guess that whatever Mary Higgins Clark writes, gets published. Oh--and her lucky daughter gets published too. I wish I had that kind of carte blanche. The good thing about this book is that it was a quick read, so it didn't waste too much of my time. In the future, I'll check out the books before I check them out at the library.(less)
If you are a fan of the Monk series, you will like this book. You might even love it. Adrian Monk is a San Francisco detective with obsessive compulsi...moreIf you are a fan of the Monk series, you will like this book. You might even love it. Adrian Monk is a San Francisco detective with obsessive compulsive disorder. Fans of the television series will know that despite his annoying OCD compulsions, he is lovable.
Sadly, Monk's charm does not translate to the book. Instead, he comes across as a borderline insane, insufferable annoyance. Well, maybe he's a little like that in the show, but Tony Shalhoub gives Adrian Monk a lot of heart.
Probably the biggest problem with the novel is that it is written by one of the show's screenwriters, and it reads like a screenplay. That means it's 75% dialogue. There's a lot of back-and-forth banter that might work well with the actors but doesn't translate to a book.
At its best, this book is a fast, entertaining read. At its worst, it's a fast, entertaining read.(less)
Chasing Vermeer is The DaVinci Code for kids. Intelligent characters, mysteries, puzzles, world renown artists--it has all the elements of an intellec...moreChasing Vermeer is The DaVinci Code for kids. Intelligent characters, mysteries, puzzles, world renown artists--it has all the elements of an intellectual thriller. (less)
I read The Haunted Hotel to screen for my classroom. This is part of the A to Z Mysteries series--I thought kids would like the series, but it has nev...moreI read The Haunted Hotel to screen for my classroom. This is part of the A to Z Mysteries series--I thought kids would like the series, but it has never caught on with my students. I'm not sure why. This book is simply written, a little scary but not too scary, and a good stepping stone for first-time readers of chapter books. In the future, I am going to promote these books to the class so they catch some enthusiasm, and maybe even order a whole set.(less)
I. Am. So. Tired. Of writers. Who. Think. That. One. Word. Makes. A sentence.
Suffice it to say I am unimpressed by Kathy Reich's writing style. The st...moreI. Am. So. Tired. Of writers. Who. Think. That. One. Word. Makes. A sentence.
Suffice it to say I am unimpressed by Kathy Reich's writing style. The story was a little confusing because there were too many victims and suspects for my scorecard. And what really bugged me is that the villain responsible for everything didn't show up in the book until the last 20 pages. Aarrghh!
Some complain that her books are hard to read because the language is overly technical. I actually enjoyed that aspect.
I would give this two stars but I tip it slightly to three because of the things you learn about the use of animal parts in alternative medicines.
Maybe it's time to go back and watch a regular "Bones" episode instead.(less)
I love the series "True Blood" and decided to read the book from which it came. If you like vampires, "Dead Until Dark" (book 1 of the Sookie Stackhou...moreI love the series "True Blood" and decided to read the book from which it came. If you like vampires, "Dead Until Dark" (book 1 of the Sookie Stackhouse mystery series) is fun, but non well-written. Not as bad as "Twilight," not as good as anything by Anne Rice. I'd say that in this case--it's better to see the movie than the book. If you're a fan of the show, maybe read this book just to compare it. I probably won't read any more in the Sookie Stackhouse series unless I get laid up sick in bed for several weeks and need instant gratification through the Kindle.(less)
Guess who the most significant character is in The Hound of the Baskervilles?
It could be Dr. Watson, who embarks on the adventure through most of the...moreGuess who the most significant character is in The Hound of the Baskervilles?
It could be Dr. Watson, who embarks on the adventure through most of the book by himself, relating his findings to Sherlock Holmes (presumably stationed in London) via diary entries and letters.
It could be Sir Henry Baskerville, who has inherited a great fortune and responsibility in the form of Baskerville Hall and all the charitable holdings and ambitions of his uncle Sir Charles Baskerville.
Or--it could be Sherlock Holmes himself, considered to be one of the great literary characters of all time.
But no--the most significant character in this story is the setting, the moorlands of Devon. The lands of Dartmoor pose threats to the villagers and add suspense to the story. Peat bogs, rocky tors, and Bronze age stone huts control the direction and tenor of this story.
I gave this book five stars because everyone should read such a story, where the location becomes a formidable force in the direction of the plot.(less)