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Doctor Who Series 8: Deep Breath Review

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Let’s all take a deep breath and see if this new, older, Doctor is any good. The long and short of it? Peter Capaldi is great. One episode down and he’s already won me over wholeheartedly. When Smith announced he was leaving the role my first thought was “I hope they cast an older Doctor.” When they cast The Thick of It Star as the Doctor I thought, “He’s great, but he’s been in Doctor Who twice?! Was there no one else?” Of course that wasn’t a worry about his ability to act and be brilliant – part of me didn’t want the familiar face but another part was very excited to see Capaldi fly the T.A.R.D.I.S. 

Plot:

Death! Murder! Mayhem! are wreaking havoc in Victorian London. A steampunk styled cyborg is murdering people, and Dinosaurs, while the Doctor is pulling himself together after recently regenerating. Clara is having trouble coping with the new Doctor and Vasta and co are there to help along the way. 

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Thoughts:

We can all take a long sigh of relief after that deep breath. After two questionable series of mismanaged plot lines, poor character arcs, and easy screwdriver resolves we finally get back how a Doctor Who story should be told. Doctor Who was never been about flashy action set pieces but slow burning mysteries. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t action and excitement before, there was! Deep Breath is the first episode to get that right in a very long time. The tone and pace of the narrative isn’t rushed and you have plenty of time to embrace the new Doctor while following familiar faces. 

Capaldi nails the role superbly! He harks back to the first three Doctors quite a bit! He has the ‘old man’ attitude like the first, the ‘quirk’ of the second, and the style resemblance and action mind of the third. He certainly is a darker Doctor. The implied killing of the cyborg has me raising an eyebrow, is this Doctor okay with killing? Don’t think he isn’t without humour, he is quite a funny Doctor still. Where the 11th Doctor was quite childish and bug-eyed Capaldi is much more serious which makes his humour a bit more adult. 

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Clara is still one of the dullest companions. Throughout the story she seems to have this hugely narcissistic attitude that she is the most important person in the universe and it does tend to grate on me. (Here’s hopping the rumours of her departure are true!). It still seems they can’t be consistent with her personality. Considering she has “seen all the Doctor’s faces” her reaction to this regeneration is slightly confusing. She doesn’t like him because he’s not the dashing young whippersnapper to steal her away in the night. Well, sorry Clara for someone who knows all the Doctors you should be okay with this new face! If she was having trouble with his personality, that is more understandable, but for her to complain about the way he looks. Many of the Doctors haven’t been spring chickens. She ought to know better. But more importantly is shows us how shallow Clara is a person.

Vastra and Co make their return after nearly dying but not dying in the Name of the Doctor. I admit I haven’t been a fan of these character since their odd introduction into the series. Their importance to the Doctor baffled me and still does. However, in this episode they were more enjoyable. I still feel they are Moffat’s way of promoting his own views on religion and lifestyle which for me get’s a little trying and not what I want from a children’s program. 

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I thought it was a nice touch to give Matt Smith’s Doctor a cameo. I don’t recall a Doctor reaching out to his companion after a regeneration. While to some it might look like it’s Smith’s endorsement of this new Doctor, I just found it a fun piece of story telling. I wouldn’t want to see it every time we get a new Doctor but as a rare moment it was fun. 

Another thing that is abundantly clear is that the flirting between Clara and the Doctor completely and utterly dead. I think the relationship between 10 and Donna was why everyone loved them. No romance at all! Just good old adventuring. Capaldi’s Doctor is the adventurer, the mad man in a box, and not spacemen looking for a new girlfriend. The role of the companion will undoubtedly go back to the way they were during the original series; the way they should be. In fact, you can see from Deep Breath that there is a lot of things harking to the original series and for this I am thankful. 

I feel hopeful that series 8 will stir things in a new direction for the revamped series started in 2005. 

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What did you think of the Deep Breath and the new Doctor?

 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Review

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There’s no beating around the bush. This film is terrible. The plot bumbles along trying to be fast, witty, and interesting but it just fumbles, is charmless and overrun with plot holes. 

The basic plot is, Shredder and Sacks are working together to create a virus that they can dispense over NYC and then Sacks will swoop in with a cure. Things get shaken up when the Turtles start messing up the foot clan’s plans. Well, April O’Neil is a half-assed reporter who stumbles upon the turtles one day after whining about how her career hasn’t taken off. She tries to tell her boss about these vigilantes but of course she can’t construct a liner sentence and gets booed out the office. After another fateful encounter with the turtles April is led to some video tapes in her closet where she learns that these turtles were her childhood pets (just take a hammer to the skull now!) and that her father was doing experiments on them with a green ooze from outer space.

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-2014-teaser-trailer-still-tcri-oozeWell, when Sacks turned on April’s father he tried to burn the lab and April (for no good reason) was nearby, inside, whatever, she was in the a lab while her father set fire to it and saved the turtles and splinter, releasing them into the sewers. Now, April, being the dumbo that she is tells Sacks how bad her job is and how no one believes her that she met these turtles. Now the hunt is on. Sacks wants the turtles blood (kind of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when Harry wants Peter’s blood) to create a cure to a virus that Shredder wants to unleash. The turtles then have to stop Shredder and Sacks. Hurrah. 

Teenage Mutant Knitting Turtles…I mean Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! It’s a good thing Splinter picked up a ninja book in the sewer waste and decided to teach his ‘sons’ that art. Not sure Teenage Mutant Knitting Turtles would have been as successful. 

In case you forget within the first 3minute of the film where the story is taking place they remind you verbally twice that it is New York City let alone a billion establishing shots of the city. Watching Megan Fox is like watching paint dry. All I kept thinking was “if someone pocked her face with a needle all her Botox would explode from her face.” 

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I nearly lost it with the 5 minute pizza hut commercial lodged in the film. When Splinter is saying what type of pizza it is, the ingredients, and how good it is; I wanted to punch the screen. Such shameless product placement! 

Geographically this film makes no sense. While it’s sunny and summery in NYC a 19minute drive outside the city and it’s covered in snow? And apparently the turtles know a secret sewer tunnel that leads from this snowy land right back to the heart of NYC as well. You’re just racking your brain to try and make sense of all this jumping nonsense and nothing helps.

Shredder, clearly a tacked on character, is nothing more than a knock off of the Silver Samaria featured in The Wolverine. He’s a big robot with a dude inside. It’s no secret that this film had lots of issues well before it started filming. Leaked Scripts, potential alien plot line, and William Fichtner being Shredder. As it turns out there is a Shredder in the film that isn’t Fichtner! However, Shredder is horribly underdeveloped and felt like a last minute decision. He randomly appears in scenes not long after Fichtner with no explanation as to where he is and we never once hear him utter his evil plan. He is reduced to muscle.

tmnt-shredderThe plot is terribly similar to both Amazing Spider-Man films and The Wolverine. While at the same time the film mimics the 1990’s film. Everything from Splinter being beaten up, the lair being invaded by the foot, Mikey hitting on April, Raph being Mr Longer angry pants, I felt like Bay and co took the original film and injected it with  bunch of stupid sauce, withdrew any emotion and heart and slapped this down for the crowds to gobble up. 

The film has terrible pacing and leaves no time for any kind of character growth. The Turtles are simply basic outlines of what we already know and we don’t really care about them or learn anything as the film ‘progresses’. 

Classic Michael Bay-ism found their way into this film. When Mikey first sees April he says “Guys, I can feel my shell tightening” implying that he is getting a massive erection while looking at April O’Neil. Yes, this children’s film produced by Nickleodeon makes a very crass erection joke. Don’t worry though, that is followed up later by April hanging out a truck window while her colleague stares at her ass saying how good it looks. Again, Nickleodeon! 

I am quite tired of these reboot/remakes being so generic and bland. There is no passion for story or narrative. This film is about lazy jokes and fast action sequences. The original films, even in their lamest moments still had heart. You cared about the characters and felt like you knew them. The film hits another low when the Sacks says, “Drain all of their blood, even if it kills them.” I mean, really?! Last time I checked if all your blood is drained you’re gonna die! Something else that is quite lazy is the ‘interconnectedness’. When we learn that the turtles and Splinter were April’s childhood pets I wanted to explode. Why does this have to happen? The Amazing Spider-Man suffered from this as well. What happened to happy accidents that turn or empower people into being heroes?! Not everything needs to be so linked. It doesn’t feel as natural or fun. Despite my great distaste for this film a sequel is apparently already coming in 2016. What a joke. 

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What did you think of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Comment below

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes iTunes UK and The Book Depository! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

In Montague Street – A Review

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All of Arthur Morrison’s fantastic detective tales are brought to life yet again in Marcum’s new release, In Montague Street. Arthur Morrison’s detective, Martin Hewitt, has never been as widely known as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It cannot be denied that both writers created interesting and unique detectives that shared the same Victorian streets of London. 

What David Marcum does in this new release is pay a hefty tribute to Morrison and his works. What he also does is re-write Martin Hewitt’s history. Hewitt, as far as Marcum is concerned, never existed but was a pseudonym used to coverup the name of Sherlock Holmes. Thus each of Arthur Morrison’s stories are re-released in full with the singular change that Hewitt is now Holmes. 

It has been toyed with many times before that Hewitt was Sherlock Holmes, or even Mycroft Holmes. Much in the same way Rex Strout’s Nero Wolfe is the son of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler. 

What has to be said is that Marcum has brought these original tales to life in a new and bold way. All of these stories are set pre-Watson in the early 1870’s while Sherlock Holmes lived on Montague Street. There is a lengthy and interesting forward that explains all the changes from Hewitt to Holmes and vice versa. What is important to note is all the original stories by Morrison are kept nicely in tact with a few additions here and there. This book gives credit where it is due and doesn’t try to be passed off as something that it is not. The Hewitt stories are joys to read and are still joys to re-read with these changes. Holmes fans I’m sure will enjoy these classic narratives and be keen to investigate the lesser known character of Martin Hewitt. And like many pastiches you pick and chose what you decide is cannon or not. Let these books be your gateway into Hewitt or let Marcum’s re-write be an insight into young Sherlock Holmes. Either way there is great level of fun within these pages.

Order on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Meanwhile, check out my books on sale now! 

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Video

Awesome Mix Vol 2

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What really intrigued me about Guardians of the Galaxy well before it came out was the initial trailer. Unlike the other Marvel films that had dramatic music and some serious tones Guardians kicks in with Hooked On A Feeling by Blue Swede. From that moment on I knew the film was going to have a very different tone and feel that the other Marvel films haven’t had. In short it’s a character piece. The plot isn’t as important as the characters and how they interact amidst various situations. (See my review here

I was one of the many to pick up the Guardians Sound Track and blimey charlie was my mind blown! Every song was just epic! Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky, David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream, I’m Not In LOVE by 10cc, Rupert Holmes’ Escape (The Pina Colada Song), and O-o-h Child by The Five Stairsteps; I mean if you were abducted and grew up in another Galaxy and these songs were your only connection to Earth, that is not a bad bundle of tunes to listen to. And of course hearing these songs in the film just made the film even more charming. I cannot watch Gaurdian’s of the Galaxy without a smile from start to finish. I must admit my iPod has quite frequently played Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix Vol 1. 

After a while though it got me thinking, what would my awesome mix be. Now in the film Quill is about 8 when he’s taken and the year is 1988. If I had to live my life as a space outlaw with only one group of songs, what would they be?  I was born in ’87 so I have stuck to the rule that songs up until 1987 will fit into my awesome mix. Well, for your amusement, and my entertainment, here is my Awesome Mix in this order!

Journey of the Sorcerer – The Eagles 

I Wanna Be Your Lover – Prince 

Another One Bites The Dust – Queen

Super Trouper – Abba

Astro Boy – Buggles

The Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News

Holding Out for A Hero – Bonnie Tyler

Everybody’s Talkin’ – Nilsson

Earth Angel – Marvin Berry

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor 

Immigration Song – Led Zeppelin 

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

Eclipse – Pink Floyd 

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Buy my awesome books while you listen to my awesome mix! 

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazonin the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com , Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

The Guardians of the Galaxy Review

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This film has been in the making for a very long time. In the world of Superhero films you have what the general public believe are the ‘best’ and most bankable characters. It is these that, for the most part, we saw on the big screen apart from a very few random films. Marvel’s big players, X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, they all hit the screens, and not all to great success but enough for some studios to try a few other characters like Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Electra. After films like Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Electra it seemed like the ‘lesser known’ heroes wouldn’t be hitting the screens, especially ones as low down as Guardians! Well the end of Marvel’s Phase Two culminates with a comic book film that consist of a talking racoon, a tree, a green girl, a greenish-red body builder, and a human. My first thought when Marvel announced Guardians was ‘how are they going to put a talking racoon next to Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man; I don’t see it!’. Production started and I still wasn’t sure what to expect. And sure Marvel opened the doors for a cosmic universe through Thor, which, let’s be honest, both 1 and 2 were pretty bland and only redeemed by Tom Hiddleston, but I have never been a fan of Marvel’s ‘space’ comics. If Thor couldn’t keep my interest why would a space version of the Avengers? 

The story opens in the late 80’s with young Peter Quill sitting on a chair listen to his walkman. He is in a hospital and we learn his mother is near death. She passes and Peter runs out into the night only to be abducted by aliens! 20 years later he is a space outlaw. In a sequence harken to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc, Peter Quill aka Star Lord has located a mysterious orb but he isn’t the only person looking for it. Thanos has Ronan the Destroyer on the hunt for it too, and in return for acquiring it Thanos will help Ronan destroy a planet that has pissed him off with their peace treaty. Ronan learns that Star Lord got away with the orb he sends Gamora to retrieve it. Quill delivers the orb to the buyer only for them to back out when he hears Ronan is seeking it. Meanwhile Quill is spotted by Rocket and Groot, a couple of bounty hunters,who want to cash in on capturing him. However, Gamora has already got her sights on Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy go head to head against each other, epically lose, get locked in jail, and learn that there is something much bigger going on. Gamora admits that she planned to betray Ronan and Thanos as she had a secret buyer for the orb. The group decide to break out of prison and split the fee three. . .I mean four!. . . ways. While in Prison the four meet Drax, a man who wished Gamora dead simply because she worked with Ronan who was responsible for killing his family. He agrees to join them so that he can get his revenge on Ronan. The Guardians break out of prison and go to Gamora’s buyer, the Collector. Ronan is able to track them down and the orb is taken. Now, knowing that inside the orb is an all-powerful infinity stone they realise they need to put their selfishness aside and get the stone back from Ronan, who betrays Thanos and keeps the stone, before he destroys the galaxy! 

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One of the most charming elements to this film is the music. This isn’t something where the music distracts from the story and you find yourself enjoying a song rather than the film; rather how Gunn fuses the songs into the scenes plays off really well. Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill is fun and is sort of Han Solo/Captain Kirk archetype. Smart-mouthed, on the run, womaniser who finds a little redemption. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is a tough character. Overall Marvel hasn’t done great by their female characters and felt that, for her first outing, she was far more interesting than say Black Widow in Iron Man 2. David Asutista’s Drax and Vin Diesel’s Groot were both semi-interesting characters but mainly there for extra muscle or comic/cute relief. I will say that Bradley Cooper’s Rocket was actually pretty fun. I wasn’t sure if Marvel could pull off a talking racoon and connect it to the bigger Marvel universe and make it believable but, hey, they did. 

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There is a lot of wit and humour in this story. It didn’t take itself too seriously and played off a lot lighter than I expected. This was definitely a story about character growth rather than a story about ‘something happening.’ Yes, you have your villain who wants to destroy a planet for his reasons. I mean the overall plot was not far off from the Avengers. Big bad spaceman wants to destroy a world and uses the help of Thanos to attempt this but a team of ‘misfits’ are forced to stop the menace. But I’m not suggesting this hurts the film. This film was about the characters. I found myself investing in them and enjoyed seeing how they get out of situations. It was great to finally see Thanos and hear him speak. I look forward to Josh Brolin’s portrayal of the character and seeing him crack some skulls eventually. Doctor Who star Karen Gillan as Nebula was fun great. She stole every scene she was in. Karen Gillan stepped up her acting game in series 6 and 7 of Doctor Who and I am glad to see her hitting larger roles. In some ways I found her character more interesting than Ronan. She has sibling issues, daddy issues, issues with Ronan. There was a lot going with with her and personally I would have maybe liked to have seen her explored a lot more! 

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As this is Marvel’s second cosmic film, grouping Thor 1 and 2 together, comparing Guardians to Thor and Thor: The Dark World this has a much better handle on itself. Tonally it worked really well. It looked great, narrative had a good pace, the character’s stories were engaging, the music is spot on, and there were several fun easter eggs and references. This is definitely a ‘feel good film.’ It’s kind of the best of Star Wars and Star Trek mixed with comedy/wit the other Marvel films are known for and it just really worked. I’d be quite up for a sequel to this film, which is of course announced for 2017, and I wouldn’t mind the inclusion of a character or two in a future Avengers film, preferably Quill and Gamora. I’m glad Marvel got this one right. Let’s see more of these guys and less of Thor, because this one could have easily been a flop!

Regarding the post credit scene. 

I’m just gonna say that the post credit scene wasn’t entirely worth it. The atmosphere in the cinema was really high, you could tell the audience had enjoyed it and they waited with anticipation for a glimpse into Avengers: Age of Ultron. Luckily I new what the post credit scene was so I was prepared, but when the post credit scene was just a quick cameo from Howard the Duck everyone in the cinema seems to turn their head in confusion. Even after the fade to black they waited until the lights were on hoping there was something more. I know some people are thrilled by Howard the Duck but, I mean, Howard the Duck? Aliens and talking racoons…let’s not push it Marvel. 

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What did you think of the film? Comment below! 

Meanwhile here are my Sherlock Holmes books! 

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

Musical Murders – A Review

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London: 1925. The Holmes and Watson we normally see are much older and thrust together after  a long absence due to the sudden death of Mycroft Holmes. While attending the funeral Watson encounters someone he can’t quite place. It turns out to be none other than his old friend Sherlock Holmes himself in disguise! Why the subterfuge?! Mycroft didn’t die of natural causes, as we are lead to believe. He was murdered and a cryptic message has been left behind. Holmes recruits his old friend to accompany him on this dark adventure. Holmes has left Sussex and returned to Baker Street. Inspector Lestrade Sr is replaced with a Lestrade Jr, and we even have new, attractive, Miss Hudson, Mrs Hudson RIP. 

Pastiche is a very tricky thing. People like their characters as they are. When anyone tries changing or adding things you fall into dangerous territory. The Holmes community knows this very well. John A. Little adds a very dark and twisted history to Sherlock Holmes and his family. We quickly leaner that Mycroft was murdered for being “musical” i.e. a term used in reference to homosexuals. Soon after Mycroft’s death Sherlock Holmes’s father, who has breached 90, is then found murdered for being “musical”. The story quickly becomes a race to find a serial killer who is murdering homosexual men and Sherlock Holmes is a target. Who is this serial killer? It is none other than a childhood friend of Sherlock Holmes who was sexually assaulted by Holmes’s father and who Sherlock, according to the killer, had a sexual encounter with. Before the fire and brimstone descend it is revealed that Holmes was not ‘gay’ or had any kind of relationship as such. What Little does do is try and explain why Holmes is the way he is. He does this by giving us more insight into his childhood where his father and mother were not happily married, his father and brother were gay, and his mother commits suicide. Throughout the narrative I picked up several theological discussion all of which shun or disregard the Bible for science and dreams of a more radical world ahead. While Conan Doyle did add various ‘beliefs’ into his story it felt that the author was, perhaps, pushing an agenda with some of these repeated digs. While it is easy to block Sherlock Holmes into a ‘scientific realm only’, Conan Doyle believed his character to have a notion that there was something else out there. This aspect tends to be forgotten in a lot of pastiche writings and is sadly disappointing. When you get away from the theological discussion and crack on with the story it’s quite a thrill. Murder after murder, cryptic cypher after cypher! For their old ages, this is quite the outing for the sleuth and good doctor. The story is well written and the plot runs at a good pace. Even with this risky content and toying with the backstory of characters like Mycroft, Little does a very good job of giving the reader an interesting and strangely plausible origin for Sherlock Holmes. New characters like Lestrade Jr and Miss Hudson were welcome and didn’t feel like cheap ways of keeping familiar names. Both characters have a vivid personality that pops out of the pages. 

This is certainly a darker tale, to say the least, but I found it an interesting and engaging read. One Holmes fans is completely unlike the other. There will be some who hate this story and there will be others who love it. While Mr Little’s origins for Holmes and his family isn’t something that I, myself, would have envisioned for the character I certainly did not hate this story. Like all pastiche, you pick and chose what you want to believe is canon and what isn’t. While I might not consider this as canon I’ll certainly be checking out Little’s next book!

Pick up your copy on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Meanwhile here are my Sherlock Holmes books! 

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

The Affair of the Contentious Contralto – Review

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London 1910. Not long after has Watson returned into Baker Street due to the loss of his wife Mary  he and Sherlock Holmes are summoned to the final concert of Irene (Adler) Norton. Irene is still married to Godfrey Norton (from Scandal in Bohemia) and is the mother of a 20something daughter, Sophie, who is to marry a young James Doyle. Irene isn’t convinced of young James and feels Sophie should reconsider. Tension rise between mother and daughter but this will not delay the concert. As Irene Adler takes to the stage one final time she is suddenly stricken dead and Sherlock Holmes suspect murder, but by who and why?!

I found this story to be an enjoyable read. Writing a Sherlock Holmes story can be very hit and miss and I think Fiona-Jane Brown did a nice job. Canonically is fits in well with Doyle’s original stories with some twists. The setting and pacing of the story is not what you would find in a Canon Doyle story, but that is not a fault. The story has a unique tone and pace. Early on in the story we get a sense that everyone is a little older. The Victorian era is over and Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are not the young men they once were. While old habits remain the same they have aged. Still there are plenty of deductions and bafflements, nods and easter eggs, and familiar faces. 

Long time Holmes fans will find familiar territory being tread within the story as you dive into the Sherlock Holmes/Irene Adler mystery. There is always intrigue when it comes to the relationship between Holmes and Adler and what, if any, further encounters might have been after their original meeting. For anyone unfamiliar with Doyle’s original stories or the plethora of pastiches this story would be a nudge to venture in to those works. 

Further Thoughts And Spoilers: 

Professor Moriarty has survived the great fall from Reichenbach and as the fates twist his son, James, is preparing to wed young Sophie Norton. The story revolves around the return of Moriarty who wishes to kill Irene Norton’s daughter believing her to be the illegitimate daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene. Moriarty will not have his son marry the possible daughter of Sherlock Holmes; he fails in his attempt to kill Sophie and Irene takes the hit. I am ever on the fence about the return of Moriarty. I’ve seen it done many times and often I am not a fan, but that is simply down the the readers preference and in no way reflects the quality of the story. Personally I might not have chosen to bring Moriarty back. That said it does add to the many ways in which he returns bent on revenge against Sherlock Holmes and this is certainly one of the more interesting ways I have read. There are some hints that Sophie might be the daughter of Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes, but this is neither confirmed nor denied. There is always speculation that this has happened and even the great Detective Nero Wolfe is sometimes said to be the child of these two. I enjoy ambiguity when it comes to Holmes and Irene and I am glad Fiona-Jane left it as such. 

Pick up a copy on amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Further reading check out

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

 

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