Read Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows by James Lovegrove Online


It is the autumn of 1880, and Dr John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the victIt is the autumn of 1880, and Dr John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the victims appearing to have starved to death over the course of several weeks, and yet they were reported alive and well mere days before. Moreover, there are disturbing reports of creeping shadows that inspire dread in any who stray too close. Holmes deduces a connection between the deaths and a sinister drug lord who is seeking to expand his criminal empire. Yet both he and Watson are soon forced to accept that there are forces at work far more powerful than they could ever have imagined. Forces that can be summoned, if one is brave – or mad – enough to dare…...

Title : Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 30287190
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows Reviews

  • Gabrielle
    2019-02-27 02:32

    How, oh how, am I supposed to resist a book that offers me a mash-up of two of my favorite fictional universes? I am not ashamed to be one of those people that looses all sense and reason when the words "Cthulhu" or "Sherlock Holmes" are uttered, so when they both are on the cover of the same book, well, all I can do is grab a copy and take it home.Now the issue with H.P. Lovecraft and Conan Doyle pastiches is that everybody and their dog wrote one. The two canons are religiously beloved by their fans (myself included), and when they are not treated with respect, talent and a certain measure of panache, they are great disapointments. I bought the book, but I was as terrfied as I was excited about reading it.The introduction offers the reader a lovely fable about a distant relation of H.P. Lovecraft having hidden an antique manuscript allegedly written by a certain doctor John Watson, manuscript which was subsequently sent to the author who seems to believe this is either a "monstruous hoax" or a game-changing historical document… Eight pages in and I was giggling gleefully.The story is told from the perspective of an older Doctor Watson who feels that he must unburden his soul and put down on paper the "real" version of the events that took place through his many years as Sherlock Holmes' dearest friend and colleague. Together, they come to realize that a secret, underground cult worshipping the Elder Gods is active in 1880 London, and that its followers are hunting the low-lives of the city to satisfy their deities' appetite for human sacrifice.This is pure penny dreadful material, with plenty of action, creepy creatures and twists and turns. I really enjoyed the rollicking adventure, but two elements bothered me through my read. The first is that while Lovegrove obviously did his research, both historical and of the Doyle and Lovecraft universes, he sometimes drops the ball on keeping the language quite Victorian. A few anachronistic expressions and turns of phrase crept up here and there, and this grated me because I felt pulled out of the story. I seriously doubt that anyone refered to apartments as "flats" in Victorian London, for example.The other point of annoyance was that Lovegrove made Watson very hot-tempered and beligerent. Certainly, the character is a retired army doctor, and he is often described as carrying a gun and knowing how to use it in several stories of the Holmesian canon, but nowhere in Conan Doyle's stories do you ever see him simply offering to beat someone up to get them to talk or dessist whatever criminal activity they are suspected of. The fact that he is willing - and even eager - to punch someone's clock out in "Shadwell Shadows" felt out of character.These nitpickings aside, this is a fun read for fans of both universes, filled with clever references to the original works. I will be looking for the sequel, due to come out this fall.

  • Huriyah
    2019-02-23 05:46

    This book was sent to me by the publisher.What we have here is H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle’s love child. The blurb had me at ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and then I saw the cover and I was all I need this now. Just look at that typography *slow clap for design team*. I picked up this novel at a time when I was looking for a light crime read. I wasn’t in the mood for a slow-paced 500+ page detective novel, I was too busy to sit down and dedicate brain space to that sort of thing, so a Sherlock mystery was perfect. Since I was reading in October, a sprinkling of Lovecraft was a bonus.You can read the rest of my review here:SugarQuills.

  • Jonny Ruddock
    2019-03-25 07:33

    It's very fair to say that I had some initial misgivings over this book - due mainly to the mash-up involved, but its fair to say that it won me round, the penny finally dropping just over half way through as I came to terms with this interpretation of Lovecraft's Mythos (I can't comment on how it stacks up as a Holmes homage).And ultimately it is fun. Basically a read along version of one of Chaosium's Cthulhu By Gaslight scenarios, with a passing nod to Sax Rohmer, its a very pleasant way to pass a few hours. Looking forward to the next instalment!

  • Sarah83 L
    2019-03-15 07:32

    Die grundsätzliche Aufmachung hat mir gut gefallen, aber ich komme mit dem fortwährenden Okkultismus nicht klar. Nicht mein Fall.

  • Drew
    2019-03-25 04:38

    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek, always worth! https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows is the first in a new trilogy of books by author James Lovegrove merging together Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic canon and literary characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson with the Cthulu mythos created by H. P. Lovecraft.The Shadwell Shadows is the first book to be followed by Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities in November 2017 and then by Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils in December 2018.After a short preface by the author (interesting in its own right and unique). The book starts with a short foreword by an aged Dr Watson knowing that time is catching up with him as he’s an old man nearing his end. He seeks to unburden his soul of these last tales of his and Holmes exploits finally revealing the three stories that make up The Cthulu Casebooks, forever changing the Sherlock Holmes canon we all believed to be true. Giving you an alternate retelling of their first meeting along with some of the other events that transpire during their relationship together throughout the years.The story starts in the winter of 1880 with Watson newly returned from Afghanistan and very troubled in both body and mind. The bullet wound injury to his shoulder that fans of the series know he sustained in the war in this retelling wasn’t caused by a rifle bullet and was in fact a result of an expedition going awry in a lost city in the Kandahar Province – this is the first glimpse we get into the Cthulu mythos with a vague mention of a subterranean city and its inhabitants, tantalising you into wanting to find out more.Watson, on a foray into a tavern of rather questionable repute bumps into an old medical friend in Stamford at the same place. Stamford is trying to procure the use of a young girl for the night from two Lascar’s and subsequently ignores Watson pretending not to know him. Stamford won’t pay the going rate for the girl and this is when Watson gets involved, attempting to get Stamford to leave and go to a different tavern to share a drink with him. The Lascar’s take affront to this interference as it would mean losing Stamford’s custom and tell Watson to back off, those fans of Sherlock Holmes will know that Watson has a hot-headed streak about him and he realises that this was actually what he was looking for all along, confrontation to release some of the anger he was feeling within. With violence imminent, an older gin soaked Yorkshire gentleman appears, he has been sat, nondescript and unnoticed by all in the corner of the tavern and now makes his appearance known taking on the two Lascar’s with an unknown martial arts that he is more than adept at, during the commotion and fighting Stamford disappears. We then find out that the elderly Yorkshire man was now none other than Sherlock Holmes in one of his vaunted disguises, he had been training Stamford and Watson bumbled in, trying to do the right thing and allowed Stamford to make good his escape and this dear readers is how in this alternate retelling Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes meet.We then learn that Holmes had been trailing Stamford as he’s a suspect in a spate of murders that have been taking place. After attempting to find the trail he left after leaving the tavern and failing, Holmes and Watson end up back at Baker Street, where they start talking, resulting in Watson staying the night and agreeing to aid Holmes in his apprehension of Stamford and thus the partnership is born.The murders have been taking place regularly in the Shadwell district, a very poor part of London and the victims have been nobodies, people who no-one will miss, just another forgotten death amongst the poor. In gothic nature there’s the usual rumours and superstition of the supernatural, vampire’s, hanged men hanging from the gallows on street corners and Shadwell’s own creeping shadows. The murders occur on the night of the new moon when the night is darkest, but is that because in the darkness it’s easy to dispose of a body or is it something altogether more sinister and that in the blackest of nights and the darkest of dark something more than just shadows can manifest.When the bodies are found, the murder victims look like they have been starved to death over weeks but there are reports that the victims were alive and well just days before.Inspector Gregson then makes an appearance, after all what would a Sherlock Holmes book or retelling be without both Gregson and Lestrade. We hear Stamford shouting what sounds like incoherent rambling ravings of a madman but to Watson’s shock and dismay is discernible as the same language he himself heard back in the underground city in Afghanistan. From this we learn that Stamford is an opium addict and the investigation takes us to the opium dens of London where we meet Gong-Fen Shou, a creepy yet wealthy and well established and highly regarded Chinaman.Holmes agrees to go with Gong-Fen and learn the truth about what is going on. Holmes is still very young in this book and at the start of his career as the world’s only consulting detective and reason and logic that it’s a trap go out of the window despite Watson’s fervent misgivings and admonishment as Holmes needs to know the truth behind the murders.After Holmes learns the truth, he stumbles back a day later into Baker Street where he tells all to Watson, this is where the Cthulu mythos that’s been hinted at during the book so far comes to the front. Holmes revelation is met with one of equal importance by Watson who after trying to forget and put the nightmarish occurrence of Afghanistan finally decides to tell Holmes what really happened in the Kandahar Province and how he his wound was really inflicted.Realising that there is far more evil out there and that there are many, many more deities and realms other than just God, the Devil, heaven and hell. Holmes and Watson now put there all into uncovering the truth and stopping the malevolent evil force that is behind the murders in Shadwell. These forces can be summoned and there is an ominous presence behind the evil forces engineering their devious master plan in the human guise of Moriarty, Holmes arch rival and nemesis.From here it’s a race against time for the intrepid duo of Holmes and Watson to stop Moriarty and the evil malevolent force and minions from enacting his evil plan.The characters in the book really are those that we all love and Lovegrove’s characterisation is spot on. The brief appearances from Mrs Hudson, Gregson, Lestrade and Mycroft add alot to both the story and the book making it feel like an authentic Holmes tale. Likewise Holmes and Watson are the characters we all know, they are younger in the book, just starting out and are as such slightly more reckless than in their later years but Holmes powers of deduction and sleuthing ability is still on show. Lovegrove to me, has added his own little nuances to Conan Doyle’s classic characters but underneath they are still the Holmes and Watson of old. Moriarty himself, is as evil as he has ever been and you really get a sense of his sinister personality.The addition of Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos is also nicely done and fits in well with the story, with the beginning and the lost city really drawing you in and taking something as mundane as a set of murders and adding supernatural and dark otherworldly elements.The writing style of Lovegrove is decent and he keeps a well measured pace throughout the book, pulling you in from the start and moving the story forward before anything ever has a chance to out stay its welcome and as for the story itself, it’s very interesting. The reveal of the dark otherworldly forces when it finally occurs after various little hints and nods during the book building as a precursor, is handled really well and the conversation with Holmes recounting his revelation and what he discovered with Gong-Fen to Watson and then Watson reciprocating with his own secret is one of the best moments of the book.And, the parts of the book where an aged Watson is writing are a nice addition as he comes to terms with the story he is recounting and the lasting effect it has had on him. But on the whole, Lovegrove has the voices of Watson and Holmes just like their characterisation spot on and it really feels like you are reading a Sherlock Holmes book – that’s the highest praise I can give as I am a massive Holmes fan.The story told in The Shadwell Shadows is a great adventure, having everything you could want in a Holmes book and more. The two aspects of both classic works fit and gel really well together and Lovegrove creates a story that showcases aspects and elements of both creating a top quality read.As I mentioned earlier, I’m a massive Conan Doyle and Holmes fan. But, I must admit that I haven’t read anything by H. P. Lovecraft before and had only heard of Cthulu and the Cthulu mythos but that was as much as I knew. However, my lack of knowledge on the subject didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book at all and you could easily read it without prior knowledge of either the classic works.2016 really was a good year for new stories featuring Sherlock Holmes that I read. First there was G. S. Denning’s humorous parody in Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone. Followed by Paul Kane’s Holmes and Hellraiser excellent horror mash-up in The Servants of Hell. And, then to conclude the trifecta we have another splendid book in James Lovegrove’s The Cthulu Casebooks: Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows.The Shadwell Shadows is a top quality mash-up of two classic literary canons, that serves as an excellent read and is a great addition to the legacy of the iconic Sherlock Holmes.It’s elementary my dear reader, but of course I must say, it’s highly recommended.

  • Bruce Hatton
    2019-03-25 05:00

    This is a book I picked up quite by chance at my local library. Although a bit different from what I normally read nowadays, it does combine two favourite series from my early reading years: the Sherlock Holmes books of Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cthulhu Mythos horror stories of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Two series which have been considerably expanded by other authors following the deaths of their respective authors although, to my knowledge, never before combined.I'd not heard of the author before I read this although, it would appear, he's been writing prolifically for the past 20 years in a variety of genres. I have to commend him for attempting to combine these two seemingly disparate series.As in most of Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories, this one is narrated by Holmes's loyal sidekick Doctor John H. Watson. The author manages to reproduce Watson's pompous, blustering voice brilliantly. For extra effect he also occasionally injects some of Lovecraft's narrative style too (although an American writing in the 1920s/30s, Lovecraft affected an older stilted Gothic-Regency English style more akin to Jane Austen than any of his actual contemporaries like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner).This is certainly not a book to be taken seriously, although that doesn't mean it is not well-written. I get the impression the author had a lot of fun writing it - as I did reading it.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-14 03:52

    Had to finish the book prior to library reclaiming it, therefore accelerated my reading, but the last part of the book very addictive and I wanted to keep reading on. An excellent adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story, it is very different and a supernatural theme compared to ordinary plain mysteries. Very appropriate for this time of year. I bought into this fully and really enjoyed them. Can't wait for book 2 and 3 when published. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

  • Jen
    2019-03-16 02:01

    This was creative and a fun read (for me, at least. It is a little dark and I wouldn't categorize it as a general 'fun' or say beach read). I really liked how the whole book was set up with Watson chronicling in his 'lost journals'. I want to read the other two volumes.

  • Maggi LeDuc
    2019-02-24 02:34

    I devoured this book in a little more than a day and am already telling myself that I can't go out and get the sequel yet! I need to pace myself!

  • Tim Elliott
    2019-03-15 04:51

    Sherlock Holmes meets Cthulu , a nerds dreams are answered in a really great way . James Lovegrove writes in a similar style that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle . I don't know if that was a happy accident or planned but either way it was a nice touch . The story is the retelling of the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson , fresh from his service in Afghanistan. Unbeknownst to the readers , at the beginning of the story, the good doctor has had a brush with the sinister occupants of HP Lovecraft's Universe.What follows is a wonderfully written imaginative excursion into a sinister world with a stalwart group of heroes that is a joy to read . My only complaint is that I wished that the writer would have waited to introduce a certain bad guy , but this is minor complaint .

  • Mark
    2019-03-02 08:53

    Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I must admit that, at first, I was rather skeptical. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was a character I first read when I was little, and have reread many times since. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu is a staple reread for Halloween and indeed through the year. So a combination of the two was, to put it mildly, a little off-putting, too bizarre to be credible.Nevertheless, determined to avoid my own prejudices, I started to read. I was soon sucked in and kept those pages turning. The central conceit is this – this is one of a set of previously unpublished manuscripts purported to be written by Doctor John Watson, ‘the’ Doctor Watson of the Conan Doyle tales. The framing story is that this was sent to James Lovegrove in 2014 as part of the property of recently deceased Henry Prothero Lovecraft, of whom James is a distant relative.In it Dr Watson stated that these three manuscripts are the real unexpurgated stories of Sherlock Holmes. Whilst the general public followed Holmes’ stories, as told in novels and in magazines like The Strand, the ones here show his real purpose whilst also doing the detective work. They have been left unpublished because the truth they hold is just too scary, too wild for the general public of the 1880’s to understand.That is an intriguing idea, if perhaps a little difficult to swallow. But James’ telling of the situation is so well done that it reads in the same form and style of the original, and I was quickly taken in by it.In this first case, Sherlock and Watson pick up the case of four similarly grotesque murders in the Shadwell district of Victorian London, where residents have talked of a strange cloud of smoke that has appeared, smothering and killing people. Holmes is convinced that the events are connected to Valentine Stamford, an ex-colleague of Watson’s, and the book begins to try and discover whether this is the case. As we keep reading, we find that the smoke has a much more malign purpose and that it is the mere beginnings of a much bigger conspiracy, one that covers cosmic distances…So: what is it that works here? Well, it is clear from the off that James has done his homework. (I am sure that his previous writing of more traditional Sherlock Holmes stories has helped here.) I was pleased by how much the tone of this book evokes the Victorian period and Conan Doyle’s style very well, and so, even when things go deliberately odd, there is still a grounding in the typically sensible and rational world usually inhabited by Holmes and Watson. In wonderfully meta-moments there are references to the original Conan Doyle stories with Watson here pointing out how things are different in this weirder ‘reality’.Of Lovecraft’s world, again the research impresses. We find that Watson’s injury in Afghanistan did not occur how we thought in the original stories, but from something darker – and in an ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ style, quite thrilling. Lovegrove’s ability to fill in that Lovecraftian idea of cosmic horror through brief, yet telling, details, fills the plot and makes the weird seem horribly and logically real.Of the main characters, it is Watson that surprises me most, as the one most typically wanting to go and bash heads together whilst the coolly logical Holmes goes about his sleuthing. It works, though, and despite the two only knowing each other for a month over the time of this novel, there is a seemingly genuine respect noticeable between the two. This is important, as it continues the reason we like, as readers, the original Holmes and Watson.On the negative side, there are minor occasional lapses of logic (the mention of ‘bolt cutters’ seems rather anachronistic, for example) and at least one point where things seem to happen rather conveniently, but on the whole, I was pleasantly surprised how well this one worked.It’s been a while since I’ve had such a difficult time putting down a book as much as this one. I am now looking forward to the next book, due in 2017, with great interest.

  • Adrian Middleton
    2019-03-21 10:01

    Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows starts strongly and with some well constructed prose that presents us with a slightly different version of Messrs Holmes and Watson that that seen in the original canon. Taking us from their original meeting through their very earliest adventure, Lovegrove presents us with a mystery too terrible to be told at the time, revealing exactly why Dr Watson was invalided out of Afghanistan and why we never heard of any of Holmes' more supernatural cases. These subtle changes--all presented as truths concealed by the fiction of the canon--justify the voice of an older, more honest, more intelligent Watson who shows us a Holmes whose dedication to spurious possibilities in conversation a conspiracy that positions the pair as champions of the war against Cthulhu and his minions. Some minor niggles. First, while the book presents a crossover between the world of Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu Mythos of H P Lovecraft, and wile it revisits and reimagines the early adventures of Holmes and Watson, it is not a mash-up.Such a label does the book, and Lovegrove, a disservice. The words are not Doyle's, and the characters have be appropriated so effectively that they acquire a new life in the telling of this story, dipping into key moments in their lives together, but never truly quoting the original. There are common facts, but there are also divergent ones, and Lovegrove tales is deeper into the realm of period adventure, evoking both the classic Weird Tales of Lovecraft and Howard, the lurid Dime Novels of Hammet and, of course, the more rigid tales of Doyle himself. The second niggle is language. Overall the voices of Holmes and Watson are captured. With Holmes this is flawless, and with Watson almost so. While Lovegrove effortlessly inserts period language into his narrative in such a way as to infer the meaning of words most readers will be unaware of, these insertions do stand out and, on occasion, jar. I never once needed to reach for a dictionary, but there were times when I just knew a word or phrase wasn't quite right ('myocardial infarction' instead of 'coronary thrombosis', for example). That said, he has introduced me to my new favourite word: parrumping! The Lovecraftian element is layered enough to introduce the novice to Cthulhu and his minions. Using plot devices resembling those used by Sax Rohmer to shift from the mundane to the exotic, weaving the two worlds together seamlessly in a pulp style that would make the late August Derleth green with envy. Indeed, the common criticism of supernatural Holmes crossovers is the idea that the irrational undermines the great detective's rational approach, meaning that it might only take one horror story to unravel Holmes' approach. Where this was previously tackled head-on in Andy Lane's Holmes/Cthulhu/Dr Who crossover All-Consuming Fire, Lovegrove takes an entirely different approach, using Watson's Afghan experiences as a touchstone for Holmes' scepticism, and setting the pair up for a trilogy of adventures spread out over a lifetime of cases. Not once did I feel that Holmes' mundane cases would be affected by the inclusion of the mythos, merely that the forbidden knowledge that he acquires adds an additional dimension to his thought processes.In conclusion, while not perfect, Shadwell Shadows comes as close to unifying the Holmes and Cthulhu canons as is possible, easily meriting Titan's foray into producing a very special hardback trilogy that stands apart from its other Sherlockian ranges.

  • Jared R.
    2019-03-06 09:34

    Very enjoyable. If you are a Sherlock fan, and like the works of H.P. Lovecraft (or just like Weird Fiction with a supernatural flair), it's a great read. I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because there are continuity issues between this and Sherlock Holmes canon. The author does a good job of explaining these, but I still found them somewhat distracting.

  • Stuart
    2019-03-21 08:51

    I was immediately intrigued by this book, due to the fact that it was taking a tried and tested story and sending it in a new direction. After finishing the book, I felt Lovegrove was half way there. The new Lovecraftian influence is top notch and I had a great time with it, the darker tones, the blood, gore and intense mythological beings all added a interesting dimension to a new Sherlock Holmes story arc and I definitely look forward to the next 2 instalments.Lovegrove is a dedicated Sherlock Holmes writer and he knows the lore inside and out, writing new and alternate versions of the great detective's story lines. But in The Shadwell Shadows, it seems like he was more focused on the Lovecraft part of the mash up, therefore the Sherlock side was left lacking. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong with the SH side of things, there just wasn't anything new/fresh and the book only really stood out when the Lovecraft writing style and story elements were in full swing.Watson returns from war and meets Sherlock during a chance encounter that brings them together. A mutual appreciation for each other, some interesting developments in a local crime case and a few escapades keeps them glued together for the duration of this book. It was only when the horror/mythological elements became involved, such as when Watson's friend chews through his own arm whilst speaking an ancient dialect or when Watson is chased out of a underground city by lizard men, did I feel that the story evolved into anything more exciting or amazing.I loved the Sherlock/Watson dynamic in this book more so than other books. Sherlock is not as overly condescending and annoying as he can be and is actually more over-protective of Watson than usual. Watson is more influential in The Shadwell Shadows as well, not just being taken along for the ride but actively charging ahead with the investigation/escape strategy when needed. The involvement of other key characters in the SH universe worked really well but I did find it unnecessary for Lovegrove to try and actually re-write the overall story arc for SH. Lovegrove obviously has a great passion for both SH and H. P. Lovecraft and he does a great job threading them together, and the Lovecraftian side of things winning out is not necessarily a bad thing. I adored the involvement of Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, it was intense, jaw dropping and nerve-wrenching and Lovegrove lets events get right to the brink of oblivion on many occasions. Though to be honest I was left wanting more of the darker tones and events as the other events and interactions just felt like filler until the next big set-piece.Overall, I am absolutely going to check out the next instalments of this series, I enjoy Sherlock Holmes and H. P. Lovecraft very much so Lovegrove's writing is perfect for me, I just hope that he can rustle up a more interesting storyline for Sherlock as JL already had the Lovecraftian vibes down perfectly.

  • jacqui
    2019-03-11 08:56

    I almost gave this two stars, but it was so much fun, so in love with its source material, and so attention-holding, that that last one stays on. The knowledge of and respect for each canon in particular earned it, I think. That opinion may change.That being said, calling out HP Lovecraft's racism in the fictionalized author foreword doesn't absolve Lovegrove of then going on to indulge in several of the same racist tropes (particularly that of hidden secrets being the domain of foreign, more "barbaric" cultures). Certainly it's nowhere near as xenophobic as the originals could be, but that's not saying much, and neither is the defense that the material he's working with was racist. Victor Lavalle rewrote the most xenophobic story in Lovecraft's canon to be about a black man's suffering in a racist world. It's doable.I'll likely read the next in this series when it comes out, with the hope that Lovegrove will fix his mistakes, because, like I said, this book was still a lot of fun. But if it looks like it's going to follow in the same vein of laziness - because that's what the racism is, in this case, the laziness of orientalism and "the exotic" as shorthand for the mysterious - well, I won't be finishing it, you can be sure of that.

  • Richard Howard
    2019-03-13 09:49

    If you are going to attempt to add to or modify the Holmes canon you have to at least try to get the tone right. Horowitz has done this in his 'The House of Silk' as did Nicholas Meyer in his 'The 7% Solution'. Lovecraft was a writer of prodigious imagination but not much literary ability but, again, if you want to work with the Cthulhu mythos it is not enough to throw 'fhtagn' around. Holmes is always serious. Lovecraft is often ridiculous but is never silly. This mash-up fails on every level: it is, overwhelmingly so, silly. Not one character speaks in a genuine Holmesean manner. 'Watson, you blockhead!' The great detective would never belittle the good doctor so. Mycroft and Holmes mesmerized? It just does not ring true. But, most unforgivable, is the way the author resorts to Deus ex machina whenever he needs to advance the 'plot'. It's almost Potteresque. I would not have been surprised if Holmes had suddenly said: "Needius Escapimus". It is all very much from the 'With a bound Jack was free!' school of writing. Awful, awful nonsense.

  • Keary Birch
    2019-03-10 04:48

    Yep. Well worth a read.

  • Rose
    2019-03-21 07:45

    I kind of can't get over how wonderful this was.I'm a massive fan of James Lovegrove's pastiches, and when I found out he was writing a trilogy of books mashing up Sherlock Holmes with the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft, I was kind of beside myself with excitement. I had never read any of Lovecraft's books, but I knew they were stories of supernatural horror -- and the idea of throwing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into this world sounded like a series written specifically for me. I like heightened stakes, and they don't get much bigger than this!Lovegrove can spin an adventure novel, and the action here does not disappoint -- he even managed to insert flashbacks that were engaging and lent a sense of urgency to the plot, rather than slowing things down. (I especially appreciated how, when Holmes had a story to recount to Watson that Watson had not been present for, Lovegrove simply wrote the scene from Holmes's point of view, instead of giving us a tedious account of Holmes's dialogue as he recites the story to Watson.) (This is a pet peeve of mine in pastiches.) The horror is, well, horrifying -- as I said, I've never read Lovecraft, but I'd wager Lovegrove does a magnificent job of capturing that spirit of inexorable, unknown horror lurking just under the surface of the everyday world. I liked the *length* of this novel. It's the longest Holmes novel I've ever read, original or pastiche, and it never once drug -- but the size of it meant there was an epic adventure to sink one's teeth into. The adventure is slightly bigger than the mystery, but there is certainly a mystery to be had here, and Lovegrove does a good job weaving it.Thrillingly, while Lovegrove is clearly well-versed in the original Conan Doyle stories, the nature of this trilogy allows him to disregard the continuity of said originals and spin his own tale -- much to my delight. (I cannot tell you how many pastiche writers have hampered themselves by insisting on trying to force their stories into the contradictory canonical timeline, instead of just _writing a story_.) Best of all, of course, is the characterization. This is set at the very beginning of Holmes and Watson's careers and partnership, and so we get a Holmes who is a little more rash than the tempered Sherlock of later years. There is also a _beautiful_ moment in which Holmes shows just a crack of uncertainty, of a sense of, "I'm not up to this; it's too far beyond me," only to receive a much-needed encouragement from Watson. There's no doubting the friendship here.Watson is quicker to anger than his Canon counterpart, but I found this 1,000% appropriate in the story: this Watson has been through something even more horrifying than war, and it's left him scarred. This does not make him one iota less loyal or courageous than the Doctor Watson of Conan Doyle's stories, and I was impressed with how Lovegrove managed to infuse the duo with unique layers (given the "alternate universe" they are in) while still capturing the spirit of Holmes and Watson. Also: (view spoiler)[Moriarty, and I don't think we've seen the last of him. :D (hide spoiler)]You wouldn't necessarily think that Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural would work in a story together. But it does work, and it works _well_. After all, the Holmes and Watson of Conan Doyle's stories were always there to fight the darkness. Here, we're just making the darkness a little more *literal.*Cannot wait for Book 2!P.S. Best prologue to a book EVER. <3

  • William
    2019-02-28 06:52

    A really enjoyable read. I wanted this to work beacause I really appreciate the work of Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes is...well need I say more? However a crossover sounded like it would be very hard to pull off. I was pleasantly surprised that Mr Lovegrove has done an excellent job (I debated giving 5 stars). This is told by Dr Watson in perfect Dr Watson style. The tone and the characters feel spot on. Dr Watson explains that this is the true account of how our two heroes meet and their first case together - an account that Dr Watson had not felt that the public were ready for. Avoiding spoilers this account deals with several suspicous deaths in the Shadwell district of London which leads Holmes into areas familar to fans of the great detective, such as the docklands and the opium dens... but also into darker and more mysterious realms more familar to readers of Lovecraft's work.I started the book half expecting to put it down after a chapter or two because it just sounded like it couldn't work. I expected it to be over-the-top, contrived or just cheesy. Instead we really see Holmes being Holmes, applying himself to a case with his energy, interlect and drive for justice, in this case however the world he investigates reveals itself to be more complex than expected - but as ever our favorite Consulting Detective is up to the task even when Scotland Yard is a bit out of it's depth. • If you are a fan of Mr Holmes, but are intrigued to see how he would react to some seemingly paranormal activity: this book is for you (hint: he reacts like Holmes, with observation and the application of reason). • If you know nothing about the "Cthulhu Mythos" and are looking for an introduction/prequel: this is for you - it's easy to get into and touches all the main bases without anything I would consider spoilers for the Mythos tales. To be honest, this introduction is just what the Mythos needs. • If you are a Holmes purist and the thought of any revision to the cannon fills you with nameless dread... then run, run now.

  • Mike
    2019-03-04 05:44

    I'm not usually a fan of "genre mash-ups" or "revisionist" fiction, but author James Lovegrove does a pretty good job with the premise that Sherlock Holmes secretly battled the "true" forces of evil in "Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows." This is the first of three novels chronicling the "secret history" of Sherlock Holmes as it relates to the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft (and several other authors).Full disclosure, I have not read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories since I was a little kid. So I have no real memory of the prose style of Arthur Conan Doyle. But Lovegrove's attempt to mimic the narrative voice of Dr. Watson seemed fairly authentic and accurate. But that also means the tale moves with a "Victorian" pace. I never found myself bored reading this novel, but aside from three or four sequences, there isn't much action either.And my dislike of revisionist fiction did come to the fore in a couple of places where the author seemed determined to undermine the original Doyle stories of Holmes and Watson by saying "that story was really about this incident" and the like. I would have much preferred as much of a parallel narrative as possible. But that's just me.I'm much more of a Cthulhu Mythos fan than a Sherlock Holmes fan (though I do watch "Elementary" and the excellent BBC "Sherlock" series...and I try to forget those horrid Guy Ritchie "Sherlock Homes" movies...and even watch the old Basil Rathbone "Sherlock Holmes" films on cable), so I wasn't that disturbed by whatever liberties that Lovegrove took with the Sherlock Holmes character and his world. And, for the most part, his depictions of the Cthulhu Mythos elements were interesting and accurate. This book is designed to appeal to fans of Sherlock Holmes and of Lovecraft, and it should. But the writing style of the book might not be "modern" enough for the average reader. As for me, I'm already starting the second book in this series--"Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities." A review will be posted soon. Until next time...

  • Toni McKilligan
    2019-02-24 04:02

    H. P. Lovecraft meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in an adventure that somehow manages to remain true to both authors and only be a little bit cheesy. But cheesy is totally acceptable when the great detective is dealing with the supernatural. (Keeps one from feeling the need to peek under the bed for monsters!). If you are a fan of either of these authors and are able to accept their characters being interpreted by a different author, then you may appreciate the ingenious license Lovegrove employs with obvious affinity and respect. This is a fun and thoroughly enjoyable hybrid - Sir H. Conan Lovedoyle, if you will - bringing Victorian fantasy and mystery into harmonious delight. I am looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy.

  • allbooksnoheart
    2019-03-08 05:53

    In 'On Writing' King critiques that HP Lovecraft had a tin ear for dialogue and a habit of telling not showing so when I say I felt this more Lovecraft than Conan-Doyle it is perhaps not too much of a compliment. I felt there was so much exposition in large paragraphs which I found frustrating to wade through but then again I am probably also biased in that I adore the original Homes stories and have read many an excellent fanfiction online such that perhaps any endeavour of published fanfiction is up against stiff competition to make me like it.I suspect if one is fonder of the Lovecraft style of writing it might be more enjoyable. Certainly it seems like it's a bit of a marmite sort of book.

  • Gianni
    2019-03-21 02:40

    What a disappointing book. It started well, as a straightforward mistery in the good old Holmes style, then after a hundred pages or so it all went sour. Very sour. What is this? Harry Potter meets Sherlock Holmes? Black magic and necromancy take residence in nineteen century London? Terrible mash up of genres (more a confused pastiche, really), shamelessly using the Holmes franchise to distort, re-write, even butcher the great Conan Doyle’s character. Do yourself a favour: do not waste time with this book. It’s not worth it.

  • Carl B
    2019-02-26 08:32

    A Ripping YarnI've never read any Lovecraft and my real knowledge of Holmes comes from watching Jeremy Brett on ITV (with an honourable mention for Basil Rathbone). Obviously that means I can't really comment on how respectful Lovegrove has been to the source material.What I can say, though, is that I'll be going from here to the next book in the series. I've already recommended it to The Mrs (who knows her Holmes) and a friend from work.

  • Rida Rehman
    2019-02-27 05:57

    More like 3.5 stars. It was good although sometimes predictable that Holmes will survive no matter what, being the hero. I loved that it was not just a crime novel but a mystical-crime novel with Elder Gods such as Cthulhu. Holmes along with 3 complices is fighting for the survival of the universe. There are numerous characters which are not just plot devices but each has a persona. Definitely recommended to all who love fantasy novels with a twist of mystery.

  • Abby
    2019-03-19 07:43

    This was a good read. It felt like I was reading a Sherlock Holmes book, but in many ways it also didn't feel like it. In either instance I was definitely enjoying it. The author was able to mostly stick with the timeline that Doyle had created with his books, and when he didn't he very creatively was able to explain why it's different, and it was actually very believable. I am looking forward to more from this author and series.

  • Trudi Hauxwell
    2019-03-14 05:57

    Would have given it 5 stars had the author not gone overboard using outmoded language in an attempt to sound more 'Holmesian'. The reader knows this is not a true member of the Holmes canon, stop trying so hard to make it sound like one, please. Otherwise it was a thoroughly enjoyable adventure through part of London I know well.

  • Stephen Goss
    2019-03-05 05:01

    An excellent book - two of my favourite things mashed together - great fun! I would suggest the author tones down the rather unnecessary "fit into cannon" stuff that Watson occasionally foregrounds, it rather makes it laboured. It totally works as an alternate or untold tales Sherlock Adventure...

  • John R. Dailey Jr.
    2019-03-25 02:52

    THE TENTACLE IS AFOOT MY DEAR WATSON, IT IS...Hello, this was absolutely fantastic. I read the whole thing and could see Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett ( in this, I think Jeremy would have been the better choice) talking and living this story. Great job. Thanks.

  • Patrick Ewing
    2019-03-01 07:33

    Great fun!