Book Review: Warlock Holmes, by G. S. Denning

Warlock HolmesI was in New York in July, and as is my want I like to pick-up a Sherlock Holmes book when away somewhere new. Something you won’t likely see in Waterstone’s back home.

In the comic book shop just off of Times Square I came across this book and it’s premise just intrigued me right away. The rub is this, Sherlock Holmes is a Warlock. He is also as thick as two short planks. Gregson is an ogre -like creature called Grogsson and Inspector Lestrade is in fact a vampire, which somehow seems apt.

Watson is human, bonafide and real. However, his meeting with Holmes – mirroring A Study in Scarlet – is one where it becomes apparent he is the brains of the Holmes/Watson axis.

That premise set-up, what Denning brings us in Warlock Holmes, A Study in Brimstone is a fun-filled set of pastiches over a half-dozen short-stories which build to a brilliant conclusion. The London of Warlock Holmes is one of demons and ghouls, and Watson’s bliss is torn asunder as he realises the world is not what he once knew.

Denning cleverly mimics ACD but at the same time, he makes Warlock his own character. The classic scenes of Holmes’s observational skills being showcased are used here but only to demonstrate the nonsense that Warlock talks and sees. Watson picks up the slack usually, using his skill as a doctor to augment or correct Holmes’s summaries. And why wouldn’t a doctor have good powers of observation?

The jokes, of which there a-plenty are generally well constructed and thought out. This is a supernatural roller-coaster set in Victorian London with no little mirth and humour. Even the most hardened Holmes fans would find this an ambitious, original and very well executed take on the great characters.

The follow-up based on The Hound of the Baskervilles is scheduled for release early in 2017. I will be buying it.




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