Book review: The Ghost Line, by Adam Christopher

ElementaryI was put on to this book by a fellow Holmes fan at work who recommended it as an enjoyable diversion, not ground-breaking, but a nice take on the Holmes and Watson making a splash on the American TV show Elementary.

I like the series as it happens. Johnny Lee Miller is brilliant as Holmes albeit I am not overly fond of Lucy Lui as Watson. But it works. The series tends to try to be too different at times and that is to its detriment, though thankfully the main foibles of Holmes appear sacrosanct to even the producers at CBS.

In this book, The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher we get a lashing of the CBS characters in a full-length novel. In taking a now well-established TV show and reverse engineering it into a book, Christopher and Titan Books have hit upon a potential gold-mine. The key question is, does he do it justice?

The answer, ‘well, yes…’

Christopher rarely strays from the formula which has made the TV show a success. In this story Holmes and Watson investigate a classic closed room mystery, a mystery which leads them into the literally dark underworld of New York’s subway and sewage network and into a cross border crime which is not quite what it seems.

As soon as I started reading book I saw Holmes and Watson in their CBS guise, with Christopher quite early on setting the scene for that and using the majestic city of NYC to immediately bring the reader into the 21st century transatlantic Holmes.

This a safe book, running well alongside its TV equivalent. There is no exploration of the characters that a book might have allowed, instead, Christopher keeps it straight by simply presenting what we already know and enjoy about Lui and Miller’s interpretations. The plot is fairly formulaic and I could see the ‘twist’ coming a mile off, which is usually the case with Elementary too – and therefore perhaps intentional!

Despite these criticisms, I enjoyed losing myself in the book, as American as Holmes would be without actually changing his accent. It read well, was well-paced and had enough charm to make it worth recommending.

And that gold-mine I mentioned? The follow-up is out in April this year…





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