Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils, James Lovegrove

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-DevilsCthulhu Case Books Book 3, James Lovegrove

 

Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils

Fantasy/Mystery: Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-DevilsCthulhu Case Books Book 3, James Lovegrove

 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have been fighting the supernatural for about 30 years. The years have been kind to Holmes. Shockingly kind. Watson looks like a man in his 50s; Holmes is as spry and energetic as a man 20 years younger. A good thing, too, as this duo must face their grimmest challenge yet.

 

Holmes has relocated from London and is living in Sussex. Watson comes to visit, and is almost immediately captured and taken to a secret ritual where a young girl is set to be sacrificed to an ancient god. It is no spoiler to say that Holmes arrives to save the day, and the two old friends return to his home. Far too soon, though, the phone rings. Holmes’s brother Mycroft is calling, but is unable to form words or sentences. His distress is great enough that Holmes and Watson leave immediately for London.

 

They are too late. Mycroft Holmes lies dead on the pavement outside his home, having cast himself from the roof. Several other of London’s leaders have also committed suicide that same night, making it obvious that this was not simply an individual melancholy. Following the clues, the duo find themselves confronting an old enemy wearing a new face.

 

Escaping London, they return to Sussex where a new mystery awaits. Three young women have been captured, allegedly by “sea-devils,” legendary creatures that live in the ocean and look similar to humans and may be able to interbreed with them. Holmes and Watson tackle the case, knowing full well that the most likely source is their enemy from London attempting a new approach to kill them.

 

This being the ultimate book of the trilogy, you can expect the dangers to be greater, the action to be more epic, and the final battle more climactic. All of these things are true. Hopefully it is not spoiling the book too much to say that author James Lovegrove meets those expectations and then adds some special twists at the end.

 

Lovegrove does a masterful job of evoking the voice of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Narrated throughout by “Dr. Watson,” the vocabulary and phrasing is very Victorian, sometimes cringingly so. The books really have the narrative feel of the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries, even if some of the mysteries and monsters come straight out of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. Lovegrove very deliberately and intentionally turns the Holmes oeuvre upside down, revealing that those stories were indeed fiction because the real story was far stranger.

 

Taking a fictional detective pair from the real London and dropping them into a much stranger, supernaturally hybrid world takes deftness and boldness. That Lovegrove accomplishes this feat is a testament to his skills as a writer and his immersion into the worlds of two iconic authors.

 

Also see:

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows, Cthulhu Case Books. Book 1, James Lovegrove

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities, Cthulhu Case Books Book 2, James Lovegrove

 

Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-Devils

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Sussex Sea-DevilsCthulhu Case Books Book 3, James Lovegrove

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