Greetings from The Raven!

Nov. 29, 2018

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures beyond the Cannon Volume II edited by David Marcum

My thanks go out to Derrick Belanger for my copy of this book.

I am going to assume that readers of this volume will be already familiar with the Holmes canon. I am using the Holmes story abbreviations from this site.

Readers of Sherlock Holmes might often ask what happened after Holmes solved the case, or where Holmes might have crossed paths with a villain before the current case. That is the premise of this volume. Occasionally in the canon, the story seems incomplete. This could be because there is obviously so much more to the tales offer a glimpse behind the scenes. Sometimes a tale is explained, sometimes a crook is traced further, and sometimes it is a “how they met” story.

David Marcum returns with another exciting volume of great Sherlock Holmes stories. Readers of the MX series of New Sherlock Holmes adventures will find that many of the authors are familiar. Be sure not to skip the Holmes poem by Rosie Mower!

In accordance with the SPOILER WARNING on page 21, I will be more careful than usual with my detailed review. I will give little beyond what the reader will encounter on the first page of each adventure. And now, on to the stories!

  • “The Adventure of the Empty Cell” by Kevin P Thorton

This takes place after the events of EMPT as a follow-up.

  • “The Case of the Mysterious Horseman” by Roger Piccard

Holmes and Watson are reacquainted with Silver Blaze. An American lawyer is in England for horse breeding purposes. I found this one co-best in the book! Excellent!

  • “The Adventure of the Third Traitor” by Craig Janacek

This one features further hijinks involving stolen government documents as in SECO.

  • “A Frail Thread” by Jacquelynn Morris

This adventure continues GOLD. To be honest, I don’t think this one does anything for the original story…

  • “Mercy Unwilling to Trust” by Thomas Fortenberry

The title is a line from NAVA. The story is a continuation of the misadventures of Percy “Tadpole” Phelps. The character of Holmes seems off…

  • “the Captain in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment” by Tim Symonds

This story continues the account of 3STU. To be honest, it doesn’t fit the original…

  • “The Fear of Retribution” by Craig Stephen Copeland

This story reintroduces a character from VALL. It would be a good story if it was couched as an original. As a sequel, not so much…

  • “The Case of the Stratford Poisoner” by Mark Mower

To even mention the original story would ruin a great reveal! Co-best in the book! Loved it!

  • “The Mysterious Client” by Derrick Belanger

Another message written in the “Dancing Man” code…

These stories disappointed me. They should follow the original canon, not try to rewrite some of them. I give the book only three stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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Nov. 29, 2018

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures beyond the Cannon Volume III edited by David Marcum

My thanks go out to Derrick Belanger for my copy of this book.

I am going to assume that readers of this volume will be already familiar with the Holmes canon. I am using the Holmes story abbreviations from this site.

Readers of Sherlock Holmes might often ask what happened after Holmes solved the case, or where Holmes might have crossed paths with a villain before the current case. That is the premise of this volume. Occasionally in the canon, the story seems incomplete. This could be because there is obviously so much more to the tales offer a glimpse behind the scenes. Sometimes a tale is explained, sometimes a crook is traced further, and sometimes it is a “how they met” story.

David Marcum returns with another volume of great Sherlock Holmes stories. Readers of the MX series of New Sherlock Holmes adventures will find that many of the authors are familiar. Be sure not to skip the Holmes poem by Phoebe Belanger!

In accordance with the SPOILER WARNING on page 21, I will be more careful than usual with my detailed review. I will give little beyond what the reader will encounter on the first page of each adventure. And now, on to the stories!

  • “The Unsettling Matter of the Graveyard Ghoul” by Will Murray

I cannot mention the canonical story this one is based on without spoiling the story! Great stuff!

  • “The Adventure of the Star-Crossed Lovers” by Daniel D Victor

This story continues YELL, and not favorably… Perhaps it is too true, but really shouldn’t go there…

  • “The Pearls of Great Price” by Deanna Baran

Violet Smith of SOLI fame needs Holmes again.

  • ‘The Adventure of the Crown Jewel” by Sir Author Conan Doyle and Ann Margaret Lewis

It is more like adding footnotes to MAZA. I realize that Doyle had the story written by Holmes, not Watson. It should have stayed that way…

  • “The Adventure of the Gnarled Beeches” by Robert Perret

The story continues COPP. This one really gels with the original story. I think it is “Best in Book!”

  • “A Ghost from the Past” by Nick Cardillo

More from the people involved in ILLU, it doesn’t help the original at all. I like it least…

  • “Another Problem at Thor Bridge” by Geri Scher

I am at a lost for words. Really? I mean really?

  • “The Pegasus Affair” by Tim Symonds

Holmes and Watson return to the scene of SHOS. It follows well with the original. Good show.

  • “The Brook Street Mystery” by David Marcum

Doctor Trevelyan of RESI fame needs a hand forty years after the original story. Not bad!

Some winners for sure and some I didn’t like at all. I give the book as a whole three stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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Nov. 19, 2018

The Avenger Double Feature by Bobby Nash & Chuck Miller

The Avenger is Richard Henry Benson, a man forever changed by the murders of his wife and daughter. After their demise, Benson was cruelly treated in an effort to drive him insane. The shock killed the nerves in his face, turning his skin into a zombie’s gray pallor. The face lost movement but could be molded like clay. Benson was now a master of disguise and the underworld would come to know him as the Avenger; a pitiless scourge for those who would do evil…

Along the path of his adventures, Benson found companions to aide in his battle against crime. All of them had suffered at the hands of crime. Fergus MacMurdie, pharmaceutical chemist; Algernon Heathcote “Smitty” Smith, gigantic electrical engineer; Nellie Gray, five feet tall and delicate looking, but actually a female firebrand skilled at martial arts; Josh and Rosabel Newton, an educated, refined black couple treated as equals in a time when prejudice was rampant; and the final member, Cole Wilson, a fighter who often acts like a wisecracking Don Juan make up Justice Inc.

The first novel in this double feature is written by new pulp author Bobby Nash, creator of former undercover agent Abraham Snow. The novel is titled Black Water

A secret cabal of men and women who have worked behind the scenes for centuries seek the Black Water. The Tartarus Legion and their council of twelve Titans desire the dark liquid’s power. They also want the Avenger…

 Unlike the first Avenger stories, this case involves possible supernatural circumstances. It is a most unusual foe for the Avenger.  But it isn’t without precedent, as the final original paperback from Warner Books by Ron Goulart involves a ghostly foe. So it works better if you have read the novel Demon Island.

Replicating the Avenger’s odd skin color and malleability is The Tartarus Legion’s goal. I liked the story, but I didn’t love it. It could have been the Avenger meets the X-files. I did really like the epilogue…

The second and final novel (perhaps novella would be a better word) is by Chuck Miller, creator of the new pulp character, The Black Centipede. The story is more in line with the shorter stories from Clues Magazine written by Emile C Tepperman. It is titled The Face of Death. A woman brings a case to Bleek Street concerning a pale face in her neighborhood. It is apparently the face of serial killer Walter Emerson Porter. The problem is, Porter died in the electric chair thirty years ago…

All told, I found the book interesting for the unusual enemies created by these two authors. I give it four stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it here>

Nov. 18, 2018

The Shadow Batman by Steve Orlando and Giovanni Timpano

SPOILER ALERT!

This graphic novel teams up two of my favorite characters. Bruce Wayne knows the Shadow as “Lamont Cranston.”  For the Shadow, this takes place after The Death of Margo Lane, also published by Dynamite. I recall years ago the Shadow and Batman crossed paths in a comic, but I don’t recall the comic series (other than it was a Batman) nor do I recall the circumstances.

The Shadow is at war with the crooks that pester New York City. In the comics, Gotham is not NYC. According to Wikipedia©, Gotham is in New Jersey in close proximity to Metropolis, which the map shows as in Delaware…

The book begins with a case Batman and Robin (Damian Wayne) face against Professor Pyg. The Shadow approaches Pyg in a cell in Manhattan and is upset at something he reads in Pyg’s mind.

The Silent Seven, a group the Shadow defeated once before, have moved into Gotham and the Shadow is there tracing them. Along the way, we find out the Seven were founded by Professor James Moriarty!

Damian Wayne, aka Robin, is in one of his usual snits and has decamped to New York to investigate on his own. A fake Batman confronts Damian, but he isn’t fooled. After an attack by the Silent Seven, Damian, Batman, and the Shadow join forces.

Damian senses a mind behind the Seven and Pyg’s “Dolltrons.” And there is a major mind there—Shiwan Khan! Khan has control of people he calls his “dead men.” According to Khan, they were once dead, and he has raised them up as slaves of his will. He even hints that Batman is a raised dead man and so subject to his will.

Taking the Shadow prisoner, Khan works to break the Shadow’s mind.  And  Khan is not on his own. Fellow conspirator Ra’s al Ghul wants to destroy Damian Wayne and Batman…

They should never underestimate the mind of the Shadow…

I liked this book very much. While I would always see a pairing of the Batman and the Shadow, I wouldn’t have thought Khan and Ra’s al Ghul could ever work, as both have such tremendous egos. But it works fairly well.

The book has a ton of Easter eggs! For example, Margo Lane is buried in “The Blue Coal Cemetery.” Blue Coal® was a major sponsor of the Shadow radio series.

Following the battle with Khan and Ra’s al Ghul, the Shadow is seen patrolling with Batman and Robin…

I give this graphic novel five stars!

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>

Nov. 18, 2018

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures beyond the Cannon Volume I edited by David Marcum

My thanks go out to Derrick Belanger for my copy of this book.

I am going to assume that readers of this volume will be already familiar with the Holmes canon. I am using the Holmes story abbreviations from this site.

Readers of Sherlock Holmes might often ask what happened after Holmes solved the case, or where Holmes might have crossed paths with a villain before the current case. That is the premise of this volume. Occasionally in the canon, the story seems incomplete.

This could be because there is obviously so much more to the story. The tales offer a glimpse behind the scenes. Sometimes a tale is explained, sometimes a crook is traced further, and sometimes it is a “how they met” story.

David Marcum returns with another exciting volume of great Sherlock Holmes stories. Readers of the MX series of New Sherlock Holmes adventures will find that many of the authors are familiar.

In accordance with the SPOILER WARNING on page 21, I will be more careful than usual with my detailed review. I will give little beyond what the reader will encounter on the first page of each adventure. And now, on to the stories!

  • “Gentleman’s Disagreement” by Narrelle M Harris

This is a further look into BLUE. The reader will recall that Holmes let Ryder escape at the end of the case…

  • “The Incident of the Frantic Countess” by Arthur Hall

Lord St. Simon of NOBL fame, advises his cousin to allow Holmes to solve her own case…

  • “The Ten Orange Pips” by Jayantika Ganguly

As the title suggests, this story continues FIVE. Readers will recall that the case ended rather mysteriously…

  • “The Adventure of the Spectral Menace” by Benjamin Langley

Holmes and Watson return to Stoke Moran, site of SPEC. The new owner has problems of his own…

  • “The Greek Murder” by Katie Magnusson

This is an explanation of the ending of GREE, tracing the further adventures of Sophy…  I absolutely love this story from concept to the last word! This will get “Best in Book!” honors from me!

  • “The Adventure in Nancy” by Stephen Hereczeg

Firstly, “Nancy” is Nancy, France! Victor Hatherley of ENGR fame returns for more adventure…

  • “The Shadow of Malice” by Brenda Seabrooke

This is based on BOSC. Alice Turner, now married to James McCarthy, asks for Holmes to return to Boscombe Valley…

  • “The Adventure of the Upright Man” by Nick Dunn-Meynell

This story is a further look into CROO. It is the longest story in the book. I found it to be— interesting… Frankly, I liked it the least.

  • “A for Argentina” by Mike Hogan

Continuing immediately from REDH; the arrest of John Clay sets off more problems. I would like to see in the future someone tell the story of Holmes’ previous encounters with Clay…

These stories should delight any fan of the Holmes canon! And since this is only volume one of three, more stories are to follow. According to the publisher, this may very well only be the beginning…

I give the book four stars…

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>