Greetings from The Raven!

Apr. 15, 2018

 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Volume 11

The series continues in this latest volume by our usual intrepid authors!

This ongoing series seems to be extremely popular with readers! The volumes always contain the best in Airship 27 Hangers’ rotation of mystery writers! There are four exciting stories in this volume. I will be very careful so as to not ruin reading for future readers:

“The Scotland Yard Murder” by IA Watson is based on a historic event. During the Jack the Ripper killings, a woman’s torso is discovered inside the site of what will become “The New Scotland Yard!” The incident was extremely embarrassing for Scotland Yard during a time when citizens already thought them failures because of Jack the Ripper. Holmes is requested to investigate.

IA Watson always includes little tidbits in his footnotes which make his stories not only good reading but informational as well. This takes the form of historical documentation and Holmes lore from such sources as “Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street” by Holmes Historian William S. Baring-Gould…

“The Adventure of the Artful Forger” is by Lee Huston, Jr. Holmes is retained by a wealthy man, Lord Van Horton. Someone has stolen his wife’s picture from his private study. The story isn’t all that bad, but I did like it the least in this volume. It just didn’t resonate with me. I cannot put my finger on what I feel is missing. I’m sorry, Lee.

“The Adventure of the Man Hunting Marshall” by Peter Basile has “a distinct touch,” as Holmes would say! An acquaintance of Holmes from the Great Hiatus comes to London in pursuit of a wanted felon from the American West. Readers like myself who are fans of the old west historically will not need Basile’s afterward to know who most of the outlaws really are! Kudos for placing Holmes in the old west! It is very possible, even probable, that Holmes visited American while on the run from Moriarty’s gang…

I really have to mark this one “Best in Book!”

Rounding out our stories is “The Adventure of the Conundrum King” by Greg Hatcher. What can I say about a story that is really, really good? Kudos for this character and I am sure you will know what I mean, Greg, when I say a tip of the green derby to you! Great stuff!

The volume is a welcome addition to the series. I give it a big four stars!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it here>

Apr. 15, 2018

Dan Shamble, Zombie PI: Tastes like Chicken by Kevin J Anderson

Things are clucking up in the Big Uneasy!

Kevin J Anderson is back with another volume featuring the whacky world of Dan Chambeux! Fans of the stories know that the “Big Uneasy” has transformed our world. All of the historical monsters and things that go bump in the night are now everyday citizens. For many, death is truly only the beginning…

Dan Shamble, his ghostly girlfriend Sheyenne, his human lawyer partner Robin and best human friend (BHF) Officer Toby McGoohan are up to their usual hijinks! There is a new food supplier to the unnatural quarter. The food is well received by all, but there is something weird about Monster Chow’s representative…

Vampires are going on rampages after ingesting drinks at local blood bars. A gang consisting of both humans and vampires battle it out in the streets with the law. Unaturals of all types have been going missing. Dan and McGoohan have a little vampire girl left on their doorstep, so to speak. And there are feral chickens loose in the street!

Kudos for a lot of crazy, sometimes unsubtle cameos in the story! There is the gang of hillbilly vampires who call themselves “Suck Dynasty!” Are you in dire need of assistance? Just call for the EMTs. In this case, that’s Emergency Mortician Technicians. If you are traveling, you can always count on Hellhound Bus Line. The Bigfeet (their chosen term!) are collecting for their Bigfoot/Yeti Visibility Society. “You have real trouble seeing them!” There’s Edgar Alan Troll, the Less-than-whole Food Market, and many, many more!

This is quite possibly the most fun you will have with a book that has a collection of ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, demons, golems, Bigfeet, and much more from the realm of fantasy and horror! I love this series! I give this latest volume five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it here>

Apr. 15, 2018

 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Volume 10 by IA Watson et al

Four more great stories by the usual suspects!

This ongoing series seems to be extremely popular with readers! The volumes always contain the best in Airship 27 Hangers’ rotation of mystery writers! There are four exciting stories in this volume. I will be very careful so as to not ruin reading for future readers:

“The Affair of the Norwegian Sigerson” is a prime example of the quality of stories Airship 27 selects for these volumes! It takes place during the Great Hiatus and is told on two fronts in alternating chapters. Watson reports on matters in London after the fall of Moriarty. A special friend is aiding Holmes in Montenegro, while Moran is trying to kill him…

This story is told in IA Watson’s signature style. There are many footnotes, making this not only an excellent Holmes adventure but a more scholarly work as well. I think this one has to have the honor of “Best in Book!”

The other three stories are much shorter, proving that quality in prose is far more important than mere quantity. Aaron Smith is the author of two of these stories.

“The Problem of the Unearned Beard” is Smith’s first story in this volume. The survivors of a fierce battle in India find someone is crashing their reunion meetings. The man even has the gall to wear their style of beard, worn in honor of their service and their fallen comrades!

Greg Hatcher wrote the next story, “The Adventure of the Irregular’s Innocence.” Wiggins has been charged with murder! Kudos for the surprise reveal. I thought it a very nice touch!

Aaron Smith is back for the final story in this volume. “The Problem of the Theatrical Thefts” finds Holmes consulted by Lestrade. Rich Londoners are having their homes burgled while they are out for the evening attending various theaters…

This is a fine volume in this delightful series! I give it a solid five stars!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it here>

Apr. 15, 2018

 The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Moonstone’s Curse by Sam Siciliano

A fabulous gem with a murderous spirit attached to it!

Siciliano is back with more blending of various authors! Siciliano’s chosen author for this volume is Wilke Collins. The book is presented as a kind of sequel to Collins’ novel The Moonstone.

The accursed jewel has passed down to a lady called Alice Bromley. Once part of an Indian temple statue, the stone had been stolen many years ago. Charles Bromley, husband to Alice comes to 221B citing danger to his wife and asking Holmes for help.

As usual with Sam Siciliano, Doctor Henry Vernier takes Watson’s place in the adventure. In fact, Holmes dismisses Watson’s writings as “mostly fiction.” Vernier is Holmes’ cousin and Vernier’s wife, lady Doctor Michelle Doudet Vernier plays her part as well.

The book uses subtle hints and clues carefully, revealing just enough to tantalize the reader and keep him or her hooked. A steady pace helps, rather than hinders the plot, making time to fully develop all of the characters.

There is one thing that maybe I missed, but I don’t think so. In the final reveal, it seems some of those involved are never clearly identified. I guess I could have missed something, but going back and rereading the last several chapters still left me unsatisfied.

If you can get beyond the fact that Watson doesn’t appear in the story as narrator, or indeed at all, the story isn’t all that bad. It is just a bit lose in the end. The mystery is solved, some crooked people identified, but not all of them I believe.

I give the book three and one-half stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy it here>

Apr. 15, 2018

 

 The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The White Worm by Sam Siciliano

 Siciliano is back with more blending of various authors!

 Siciliano’s chosen author for this volume is Bram Stoker. It follows very loosely the text of Stoker’s “The Lair of the White Worm.”

 Gentle giant Adam Seton hires Holmes to go to Whitby to investigate a mystery. (Readers may or may not know that Stoker was often referred to as a gentle giant!) Much like “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the story starts with a legend passed down through generations of his girlfriend’s family. It speaks of a battle between the legendary White Worm and a knight of old, Sir Michael Marsh. Having defeated the White Worm, Marsh’s family becomes cursed. Every female in Marsh’s line was to become the host of the White Worm!

 Diana Marsh lives in her home at Diana’s Woods with a very eccentric aunt. The aunt’s former husband committed suicide in the presence of his wife and his doctor.  A lecherous old man lives in a nearby tower and has his eye on Diana. Another nearby estate is the home of Sir Nathaniel de Salis, who tells of druids or pagans who worship at a blowhole in the rocks. He states that they sacrifice to a large white worm…

 As usual with Siciliano, the story is not recounted by Watson. In fact, Holmes is openly dismissive of Watson’s value as a companion. The tale is told by Holmes’ cousin Doctor Henry Vernier, who accompanies Holmes on “serious adventures.” Vernier’s wife, Doctor Michelle Doudet Vernier always plays a role in these continuing stories.

 

If you are willing to deal with Watson being sidelined, (at one point when the client asks if this is Doctor Watson both Vernier and Holmes answer “No!” simultaneously) you might find the stories enjoyable.

 I will give kudos for the reveal of the “White Worm.” It was something that would never have occurred to me! And when you think about it, it is perfectly logical…

 I give the book four stars.

 Quoth the Raven…

 Buy it here>