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A Study in Honor

(The Janet Watson Chronicles #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  460 ratings  ·  140 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, 304 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Harper Voyager
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Beth Bernobich Once it's published (in July), you can buy the e-book or borrow it from your library.
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…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)

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Elise (TheBookishActress)
“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 political t
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
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?

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
Scarllet ✦ Underrated Lit Warrior
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!!
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Avery (Book Deviant)
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3star
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.)
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
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
That is a tough review to write, mainly because I really, really wanted to love this book. What's not to love about a dystopian mystery with queer WOC?

Well... I have two major complaints:

1. In the first half of the story I was constantly thinking "What?" or "Where did this come from?" I was often left totally confused. The POV was not helping the story, as we readers are left in Watson's shoes and have no clue what is going on. This was used so much that I was left wondering if the author used t
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a really great read - i'm weak for holmes/watson always, and their dynamic was delightful in this. i was shrieking with joy at so many moments; holmes' particular brand of baffling intensity is wonderful. i love claire o'dell's reimagining of them as queer black women in a near-future US, and watson's voice was solid and engaging. and sara holmes is such a deeply devoted weirdo oh my god i love her.
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.
LAPL Reads
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sherlock Holmes is the world’s best known, and possibly most popular, detective. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the first Sherlock Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlet,” in 1887. Over the next forty years, Doyle went on to write fifty-five additional short stories and four novels about Holmes and his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson.

Holmes and Watson have become icons for both Great Britain and the mystery genre, and their adventures did not end when Doyle stopped writing. The characters have
Morgan Dhu
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a near-future America wracked by civil war, wounded army doctor Janet Watson, a surgeon who no longer has two flesh and blood arms with which to operate, heads to Washington. In addition to the physical trauma of her injury and the retrofitted prosthesis that doesn’t quite work right, she is dealing with the knowledge that her final military action was a shameful one, its veterans viewed with disgrace. Battered by war, without a promise of work or the skills she was trained in, alone in a cit ...more
Wow, I finally got around to writing the review, haha.

I am always a fan of new takes on classics and it is utterly delightful to read a novel that goes beyond the usual. My favorite so far has been (and still will remain a favorite) the television series, Elementary, taking place in modern day NYC. It certainly caused some displeasure for fans of the iconic duo, to discover that Watson would be portrayed by an Asian woman. Whatever the case, I’m truly happy that Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller did
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Me, a black lesbian obsessed with scifi and ACD Holmes, reading this book:

(view spoiler)
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was AMAZING. One of my favorite books period, not just this year. So good I kind of want to reread it right now and I just finished it last night.

That said, though, I don't even know where to start to talk about it. I love stories about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and am disappointed in them way too often. I was cautious of a genderbent version, excited about the scifi part and Claire O'Dell blew it out of the water.

It is told, like so many stories, from Watson's point of view and
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This was wonderful, but in the end didn't at all need the Holmes/Watson re-telling element and would likely have been stronger without leading on that expectation.

In the near future we follow Dr. Janet Watson who is a recent amputee, coming out of service as a combat surgeon in the second civil war. Fully the first half of the novel consists of her struggle to rebuild a life, her skills compromised with the loss of her arm, her mental state compromised by the tragic battle that took her arm. As
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Study in Honor has a great premise and I loved a lot of the ideas that went into this reimagining of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I did think that Janet Watson's characterization was well done and that she herself was the highlight of the novel, but I also thought that her promising dynamic with Sara Holmes never quite gelled. Ultimately, I found it to be rather slow going much of the time since the investigation didn't particularly interest me, but I have also found that science fiction my ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this retelling of Sherlock Holmes, except with black sapphic ladies in the middle of a post-Trump civil war. The political mystery I found interesting, and I loved the characterization of Sara Holmes and Janet Watson. Watson did revel in her misery quite a lot during the book, and I think it represented PTSD well. There wasn’t as much relationship building as I would have liked, but I hope we can see that in the next book.
I liked the writing, and some parts of this worked great, and some parts less so. Also I can’t help the fact that the narrative - from the first-person perspective of a black woman, at a time when race is fraught - being written by white person made me uncomfortable.
Geonn Cannon
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It takes a while for the mystery to get rolling, mainly because there's so much set-up (which I appreciate). This new Watson and Holmes are an intriguing pair, and I look forward to reading more about them in the future. Definitely lives up to the anticipation created when I read the summary.
Noella Handley
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An unsettling vision of what our near future could be like. Fun for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but also completely stands up as a great story on its own.
ellie w.
Jul 29, 2018 marked it as to-read
TWO MORE DAYS until one of my most anticipated books of the year drops!!!!
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Goodreads Librari...: This book is listed under the wrong author 5 30 Oct 31, 2017 10:47AM  
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 (Janet Watson Chronicles #2)