When I picked this up and began reading I did not realise it was the second book, coming after House of Silk however it works as a stand alone story and reviews I have read since all state that reading the first has no relevance on the ability to enjoy this one.
The Goodreads blurb says…
A delightfully fiendish crime thriller from the bestselling author of The House of Silk.
Sherlock Holmes is dead.
Days after Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty fall to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place.
Ably assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes’s methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace.
I have to say I had a little trepidation at reading this, I love Sherlock Holmes and have read all the original stories, I knew that there would be an element of authenticity to these given they were commissioned by the involvement and sanctioning by the Conan Doyle Estate by never the less I began with an expectation of being disappointed.
I have to say though I did thoroughly enjoy this book, there is a huge twist and although I suspected it two thirds of the way through I was not sure until the reveal. I think the fact that this is not a story told by Watson helps the reader associate it with the Sherlock legacy without making direct comparisons with the originals and I will certainly look forward to exploring more in the series. The only let down for me was the ending, though it did tie up most loose ends it felt like a little bit of an anti-climax and although I am not sure how I would have preferred it to end I know I would have liked a little more drama on the final pages.
It is hard to do a review without giving away too many spoilers and the more I think about my issues with the ending the harder it gets as they are directly tied up with a plot point and the character of the main protagonist in the story, obviously my reviews are not in-depth academic style explorations of linguistic choices and devices used, they are my feelings and opinions as a reader not a writer so I do not want to ruin an otherwise good book for someone over an issue that may not be an issue for them as a reader. I am someone who has been put off reading a book by reading a review so I am very careful about not doing that unless a book is really bad and then I generally just don’t do a review, so I would recommend this book still if you like Victorian crime fiction and the Sherlock Holmes style genre, don’t expect copy cat Conan Doyle and if you do read it I would be interested to hear your opinion on the ending. I considered this score for a while before deciding on 4 out of 5 stars in the end.