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A Study in Honor

(The Janet Watson Chronicles #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,297 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in th ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Harper Voyager
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Beth Bernobich I ask myself that same question! It's also in the Supernatural Ghosts category, even though there aren't any ghosts in the book.

Maybe because Sara Ho…more
I ask myself that same question! It's also in the Supernatural Ghosts category, even though there aren't any ghosts in the book.

Maybe because Sara Holmes cooks a lot? And Janet mentions her phantom arm? Otherwise, I got nothing.(less)
Beth Bernobich Once it's published (in July), you can buy the e-book or borrow it from your library.…moreOnce it's published (in July), you can buy the e-book or borrow it from your library.(less)

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Elle (ellexamines)
“It’s not as expensive as you think.”
Sara Holmes leaned against the entry to the parlor, arms folded and mouth quirked into a smile. The lace gloves on her hands were just visible, though their color had faded to a pale gray.
“How did you-”
“Deduction. And a certain empathy born of like experience.”

god, this was so good. it's a really fucking awesome reimagining of Sherlock Holmes but they're both black sapphic ladies and also, it takes place in a post-Trump era, and also, it's a p
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNFed at page 100. It’s compelling enough to pull you in, but then for me it kept hitting sour notes, and I was disturbed by the author photo.

The book’s written in the first person, plus the heroine writes about herself in her journal. We get an unlikely amount of background info (ie infodumping) from that journal. Nobody writes a summary of recent current events in their journal, do they? For that matter, do they write in a bland, complete-sentences style appropriate for a letter to an aunt?

Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to this book, and although it has some great qualities, I didn't enjoy it. I have not read many published Sherlock Holmes adaptations, but I think I've rated them all two or three stars. So, please keep in mind that I may be more biased against adaptations with these characters than I realize.

The cover is absolutely perfect; it's so rare for a cover to show the characters exactly as they're described, and I am always glad to see black women on the cover of a novel. I
Bryan Alkire
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Surprisingly good. I wasn’t sure about this one, it’s basically a standard suspense plot wrapped in a near future war package. I did find the plot a bit hard to swallow, but that’s the nature of the genre, or really, most fiction…if one doesn’t suspend disbelief it’s going to be hard to read fiction. After all, how many regular people actually stumble blindly into conspiracies or the like or, in a different context, how many authors actually work as doctors, lawyers, agents spies police or crimi ...more
Susie Munro
I have a lot of thoughts about this novel and I'm reviewing primarily to work my way through them - probably not very coherently. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Some positives: I thought the handling of trauma was excellent and the setting scary plausible as was the indifference of 'caring' bureaucracies for individual suffering. I loved all the little genre-nerd call outs with Watson's reading and that she primarily reads black women authors.

Ultimately however, I had a lot of issues with this nov
Amy Bruestle
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Soooo.... let me begin by saying that I was given the sequel to this book in exchange for an honest review, but I really hate starting a series anywhere but the beginning. Like, DUH! So of course I then had to track down a copy of this book, which I couldn’t find anywhere except online. Thank God for Amazon! Lol. Anywhoo, it turns out that I actually really enjoyed the book! I really liked the characters and I love how in this version of “Sherlock Holmes” both Watson and Holmes are women! I like ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

Oh man, what to make of this? I love so many things about it: the casually queer main character, the fact that it’s a Sherlock Holmes retelling/homage with female Holmes and Watson, the fact that they’re also black, all the references to the books they’re reading (Nalo Hopkinson, Nisi Shawl, Martha Wells — all names I know, treated as classics). I enjoyed the characterisation of Janet, her sense of duty and honour, her dedication to finding the truth, her unwilling
This was an interesting enough novel about a future in which the US is involved in a second Civil War. However, I didn't understand the point of it being a Sherlock Holmes retelling. Apart from the names, almost nothing is the same, so it would have made more sense to me to just write a completely separate novel. I mostly enjoyed this though, but I did find it a little boring at times.

Rep: queer Black MC with a prosthetic arm, Black side character

CWs: war, violence, PTSD, involuntary drugging
Stella ☆Paper Wings☆
The concept for this is AMAZING and the execution is also REALLY good. My only complaint is that the mystery kind of fell short because there was so much focus on character development. However amazing that character developent may have been (see: very amazing), this is a Holmes retelling, so I do expect a good, complex mystery, and I'm not sure if I got that here... But I'm also not sure it matters since this was an awesome book otherwise.
Full review to come
Barb in Maryland
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A number of my friends had recommended this, primarily because I love Sherry Thomas's Charlotte Holmes series. I was uncertain, even though this book does feature women in the major roles and the mystery sounded interesting. It was the story's setting that had me concerned. Well, it is rather dark and disturbing (near future US experiencing a second Civil War); however, the two main characters just grabbed me and wouldn't let go.
I loved Dr Janet Watson! Loved her righteous anger, wept for her di
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

This is a gender and race flipped Sherlock Holmes retelling. Though I was interested in it, I have to admit that I ended up enjoying it a lot more than expected. Dr. Janet Watson was a surgeon in the army, on the front lines during the new civil war. She was discharged when she was shot and lost her arm during one of the battles against the New Confederacy. Now that she is back in DC hoping to get her metal prosthetic repl
Not my cup of tea, I’m afraid. I’m always game for a genderbending Sherlock Holmes story (hello, Elementary!), but I was pretty disappointed here. Maybe most puzzling were the decisions to make Holmes a spy rather than a detective, and to keep Watson in the dark most of the time and/or repeatedly drug her while the bigger plot happens offscreen — why?? Without getting a chance to see those deductive skills at work, or a true partnership forming, I don’t think you can even properly call this a sp ...more
Janet Watson became first a surgeon, then enlisted in the military, all to help others. After years fighting the New Confederacy, she returned home invalided out of the army and with few options or hope of a better life. Right when she was beginning to give up hope, she met Sara Holmes, a rich and mysterious woman with a talent for deduction. They team up and solve a medical mystery that turns out to involve people at the highest levels of the US government and the pharmaceutical industry.

I real
Scarllet ✦ iamlitandwit
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Sherlock Holmes and queer women
What do I even say? It was a slow start but A Study in Honor came alive and made me remember why I, a Holmes and Watson fan, love Sherlock Holmes so much.

4/4.5 🌟's!!
Joe Crowe
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
So cool. That's what this book is.

It combines sci-fi and Sherlock Holmes in a feminist telling of the Holmes mythos with Janet Watson and an LGTBQA Sara Holmes in a future after a second Civil War.

The author has created spins on the characters that are true to their origins. Clearly, author O'Dell is having a blast with the characters. This is Holmes at the Holmesiest.

Beyond the Holmes stuff, the story is a frenetic, intelligent mystery. O'Dell has opened up a new world that I hope she revisit
Caidyn (he/him/his)
I totally forgot to put the link to this review up! Whoops. Either way, here's the joint review Chantel and I did. ...more
The top review for this book wonders how this book reads in a post-Trump era. I regret to report from the view here in 2021 that A Study in Honor's imagined dystopia of a divided USA vastly overestimates a calculated sedition while underestimating the toxic stew of White grievance and deranged conspiracy theory cultists. I'm not sure I bought the idea of another Confederacy, logistically speaking; it was a little hard to picture exactly how that worked, because the characters seemed to have no p ...more
Brittany (whatbritreads)
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, lgbt, mystery
This book had me at queer, black, female Sherlock Holmes honestly.

I enjoyed the writing style, and I loved the characters. Especially Sara (Sherlock). Her whole demeanour and personality is phenomenal, every time she spoke I was in love. Janet (John) felt less interesting to me, though I was still drawn to her. The author did a good job with the presentation of her PTSD and kept it consistent throughout, which a lot of books tend to fall short on.

The near-future vibes were exciting, but other th
I'll be honest, I struggled with how to rate this. Usually when I give a 3/5, it's because the book had flaws, but was largely harmless. That was not the case here! With this book, the stuff I liked, I really liked, and the stuff I didn't soured the genuinely good aspects.

First, the good stuff: I loved the main character. I loved her narrative voice. I loved the way O'Dell depicted her PTSD and depression, her anger, her stubbornness, her knowledge of her place in the world and the injustice of
Heather Jones
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’d handed me A Study in Honor knowing nothing except what’s in the blurb, I’d probably have told you that I’m not really into near-future dystopian political thrillers, even one that’s re-visioning of Holmes and Watson featuring two queer black women. But tell me that [author I love] is coming out with a new series under a new nom de plume and I’ll give anything she writes a try. I would have missed out on a great book if I’d gone just by my usual genre and setting preferences.

O’Dell has c
mina reads™️
Mar 13, 2019 marked it as dnf
DNF at 46%
I’m just so fucking bored this story is inundated with political commentary, bureaucracy, corruption etc etc but they overpower the story in my humble opinion. I definitely agree with Watson’s politics so that’s not my issue, I simply feel like it’s incredibly heavy handed. So many passages, pages and pages dedicated to the politics which were of course important but I wanted more intrigue.

I wanted more mystery. I wanted to like the characters. I just feel so distant from the story be
Paul Daniel Ash
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
lovely dystopian procedural

I had forgotten, when I started reading it, that it was a re-imagined Sherlock and Holmes with black women. The characterizations are all delightful and the action builds at a terrific, measured pace.

I can’t say I’m unconcerned about a white women writing black lives at a time when black authors are struggling to get published, but the work strikes me as well-done.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Honestly, I'm a bit annoyed about the author's attempt to write with a black voice. I only made it to chapter 4, but every instance of the author trying to point out the problems of race seemed forced and inauthentic. Plus, the introduction of Watson to Holmes was utterly ridiculous and made no sense, honestly. I will not be finishing this book. ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Review originally posted on the John H Watson Society website.)

General Review
I think most people could guess by now that I love twists on the classic Holmes story. While I do enjoy the more traditional pastiche—give me a Lyndsay Faye story any day!—there is something that continues to intrigue me about pastiches that do something different to our characters. Holmes and Watson were, after all, men of their time, even if they were eccentric. Pastiches that throw them into different times, differe
Monika Cacev
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
A Study in Honor is a sci-fi thriller written by Claire O'Dell. It follows Janet Watson, a military surgeon who during the Second Civil War loses her arm in the battlefield. With an ill-fitting prosthetic arm and severe PTSD, Watson arrives in DC and tries to get her life back on track; there she meets Sara Holmes, and her life soon becomes threatened.

I was so disappointed by this book, which makes me sad, since when I first heard about it, it sounded amazing. A military thriller involving mode
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I have a lot of thoughts and most of them come down to: it didn't match my expectations.
It definitely wasn't bad but it just wasn't what I expected or hoped it would be. If you're looking for a futuristic book with some action, this is your book, but if you're looking for a gender-switched Sherlock Holmes retelling with some f/f romance, I think you'll find this book lacking (like I did).

i was sort of meh on the worldbuilding & writing at times, and the mystery didn't start til over halfway through, but janet and sara's relationship >>>>>>>>>>>

Rep: Black wlw amputee mc with PTSD, Black wlw character

CWs: racism, mention of self harm/attempted suicide (side character), death, depictions of war & PTSD
Lauren Stoolfire
I have to admit that I was looking for and expecting something different from what I got here with A Study in Honor (The Janet Watson Chronicles #1) by Claire O'Dell. I was hoping for more of a gender bent Sherlock Holmes retelling with dash of f/f romance, but that never quite came to pass here. Janet herself was an intriguing character who is different from her inspiration (although I'd argue that we didn't need to see the excerpts of her journal with the story being in first person from her p ...more
Avery (Book Deviant)
ok so. i really liked this book!! but a retelling of sherlock holmes...should have a mystery BEFORE the 50% mark. which this book ultimately failed at, because i only really caught wind of the mystery around the 65-70% mark.

also--that ending? convenient and cheap as fuck. i wanted a solid end to the mystery, not more questions and anger at being cheated out of an actual, substantive ending.


full review to come eventually (i promise.)
So, if you are a Sherlock Holmes purist, this is not the book for you. For instance, if you are like my dad who believes the Rathbone movies are the only ones where Sherlock is allowed to be modern, you most likely wouldn’t like this book. (My dad hates the BBC recent Sherlock series. Hates it. I don’t like for it entirely different reasons. My dad, however, admits that Disney’s Great Mouse Detective is good but that’s because Basil is named after Rathbone). I’m not judging by the way. I totally ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: This book is listed under the wrong author 5 37 Oct 31, 2017 10:47AM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Pen name of Beth Bernobich

Other books in the series

The Janet Watson Chronicles (2 books)
  • The Hound of Justice (The Janet Watson Chronicles, #2)

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