Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles

** I was given an early copy of the book by the G.S. Denning, because he’s merciful and knows how eagerly I have been awaiting this book. He’s also horrible. Read on to find out why.**

So, friends.

Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles.

Holy shit.

If you read my review of Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone, the first book in this series, you know how hard I’ve fallen for this retelling. How well the characters captivated my mind, captured my heart and did their best to give me abs (thanks to laughter–in case you had any idea that Warlock and his wacky impropriety or Watson and his esteemed passion for being properly English somehow encouraged me to work out. I confess that you are sadly mistaken and I’m still ab-less–but I might have laugh lines when I get older, just from this series alone).

I had really high expectations for this book. It does contain my favorite Holmes story, after all. And as I became, dare I label it, friends with the author, I became even more invested and my expectations continued to rise.

I’m delighted to report that those expectations were not disappointed.

(I would like to offer a little caveat real quick and let you know that being friends, per say, with the mind behind the madness does not taint the outcome of this review at all–which you might find hard to believe, considering this one is glowing. Nor does getting surprised with an early copy of the book. If you don’t trust my word that is positive review is unbiased, why don’t you check out the book and let me know what you think? I promise the story will speak for itself.)

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First off, I absolutely love the way the book was organized. You get a couple, shorter sections covering various cases/stories before you get to the meat and potatoes of the book (which, in this case, involved the most interesting hell-hound I’ve ever encountered and a very unfortunate family). The stories before the main event were no filler or fluff, either. All of them were a joy to read and I actually read all four cases in one sitting, they were that un-put-down-able (because that’s a word).

(I would like to take this moment to also formally deny that the lack of productivity at work last Thursday had absolutely no correlation to that reading-binge. None. At all.)

I actually annoyed one of my coworkers because I kept switching between giggling and suppressed snort-laughter for the entire two hours I read those first four cases. But I couldn’t help it. You try and read about Grogsson’s SPOILER SPOILER or Warlock SPOILER sneeze SPOILER or Watson SPOILER SPOILER dang Canadian SPOILER SPOILER or Mrs. Hudson SPOILER that smut did what? SPOILER and try not to laugh. It’s practically impossible.

Mix in all of that humor, the clever one-liners and fantastic references, and you already have a recipe for a seriously awesome book. But then you read the tale of the Baskervilles and you get another element that you didn’t see as much of in the first part of the book, yet it also didn’t feel out of place sneaking its way into this case. Instead, it complemented this retelling and fulfilled all expectations.

The element of darkness.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s plenty of grotesque details that threads throughout the series that is utterly fantastic (and sometimes makes me question my decision to eat while reading), but the darkness that surrounded the twist in Baskervilles surprised me. And I immediately loved it, even if reading about it made my heart hurt a little. It gave the story even more depth than it already has and complicated Warlock’s complexity. I finished the book feeling absolutely content.

Well, almost content.

I know what you’re waiting for. Nicole, you mentioned that the author was horrible in the first paragraph. I’m dying to know why. Oh, I’ll tell you why.

The ending.

That single bloody line.

How dare you, sir. *stares straight at Denning* That’s right, I’m talking directly to you, now. You know what you did. You know exactly what. *grumbles about book three’s unknown publication date and other spoiler-y unmentionables*

Now I realize that you, dear reader, have no idea what I’m talking about. Luckily, I have the perfect remedy for you. (Hint: it’s reading the book, which could actually be pre-ordered (before May 16th) or purchased (after the 16th) here or here or here. You’re welcome.)

Read on!

PS: Also, that cover art? *drools*

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone

So, first things first: stop reading this review and go read Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone. Seriously, I really appreciate you stopping by. I am so grateful for my readers and love that you’re reading my words right now, but my words aren’t what you should be reading. Now, G.S. Denning’s words? The author of Warlock Holmes? Now, his I can support and get on board with, considering all of the effects that linger after finishing said book this morning: my dimples still hurt from grinning so much, my diaphragm sore from withheld laughter that would have given away the fact that I was reading when I definitely shouldn’t have, my thoughts are still being narrated by the esteemed voice of English gentlemen Dr. John Watson and my heart pines for May 2017 so I can read The Battle of Baskerville Hall, if only to experience all of these things again tenfold, inspired by the words penned by G.S. Denning. So yes, I think that confession alone makes the case of whose words you should be reading right now, if comparing this review and Warlock Holmes.

*peeks around the corner*

What, you’re still reading this? Why aren’t you questioning Watson’s decisions and grinning like a fool already? Fine, you’re forcing me here, but since you stuck around, I’ll reward you by telling you exactly why Warlock Holmes should have been on your Goodreads To-Be-Read shelf yesterday and why you’re going to be kicking yourself in unpleasant places until you finally give into temptation and read it.

*cracks knuckles*

If you’ve been following this blog at all, then you know from reading this review of Tim Aker’s The Pagan Night that I have begun politely stalking following the authors represented by Jabberwocky Literary Agency, reading their books to hopefully unlock the secret of how to write amazing stories that Jabberwocky loves, so one day, I can join my dream agency’s fierce and nerdy ranks with my works. So far, I’ve only read two books and I don’t think I’m any closer to unlocking the secret of getting Jabberwocky to like me (alas, ever onward). Instead, I’ve found two books that I have enjoyed immensely, two new favorite authors to support and occasionally bother and creep out on Twitter, and two new series to push onto all of my friends. So still a win, on my part.

I discovered Warlock Holmes after seeing G.S. Denning’s agent, Sam Morgan, advertising it on Twitter. Mr. Morgan was so passionate, talking about the release of this book, that I had two immediate thoughts. A) If only I could find an agent to be that passionate about my stories. B) I need to get my hands on a copy of that. I want in. I put a copy on hold at my library and waited ever so patiently for it to be my turn to read it.

Finally getting my hands on it, I took it with me to work one evening and started reading it while on my dinner break. Usually, I eat dinner hiding back in my cubicle-office, so the patrons can’t see me and be jealous of my expertly prepared peanut butter sandwich (I know, your mouth is watering in jealousy). Whatever book I’m currently reading, I leave back there to keep me company during my solitude. After I started reading Warlock Holmes, I only got 30 pages in before work forced me to return to my desk up front. When I got there, I glanced down at my arm, surprised to find something cradled in the nook of it.

Warlock Holmes.

A fair warning, now: once you do finally abandon this review and go secure a copy of this book for yourself, this book will find a way to follow you, even to places where it doesn’t belong; even to places where you will be unable to ignore the temptation to read it, even when you know you shouldn’t be, else risking the wrath of your superiors, yet you’ll do it anyway, thus resulting in the sore diaphragm I mentioned earlier as you attempt to hide your rebellious nature and weak constitution, both exposed by the mercy of a paperback featuring incompetent detectives. This book is dangerous in the sense that not only is it a charming read with a fantastic story, but you won’t want to put it down. And frankly, you won’t be able to put it down, either (as evident by the book’s will to sneak to work with me). So once you pick up a copy, go ahead and take a vacation day or three. It’s simply safer–and smarter–that way.

I won’t give away any of the good stuff. That’s simply too easy. Obviously, this book is a retelling of the classic Sherlock Holmes character, except Sherlock Holmes is now Warlock Holmes. And where Sherlock Holmes was a genius, Warlock Holmes is an idiot; an idiot with arcane prowess and the uncanny ability to get involved in situations he solves, but can’t explain, thus risking the exposure of the true nature of his powers. Thankfully, the friendship stumbled upon with the intelligent, humorous and questionably-sane John Watson saves the day. Or perhaps ignites the end of the world. Could be the same thing, really. Guess you’re going to have to read to find out which.

A few things, I must admit. One, there is no bigger idiot in this tale than the writer whose words you are reading right now. I read the back cover, which revealed Vladislav Lestrade was a nihilist vampire (how bloody brilliant) and Torg Grogsson as a house-proud orge. I knew the book was called Warlock Holmes. I was aware that supernatural twists helped bring fresh life to a classic tale. Yet it wasn’t until I was a good third-way into the novel that I realized Warlock wasn’t simply his name, but also his title, representing what he was. I had just assumed it was a good name because it rhymed with Sherlock, not that it had any deeper meaning.

know. Watson is shaking his head in disappointment, while Warlock is probably smiling while inside, is trying to come up with how I am associated with demons. Lots of demons.

Not only did I have a nice humbling moment laughing at my own idiocy, but I also laughed through most of this book. I loved how the characters–whom I couldn’t stop picturing as the cast from BBC’s Sherlock–were given new life, quirks and characteristics (picturing Rupert Graves as a vampire was absolutely giggle worthy). I loved the fourth wall breaking on Watson’s part. I loved that I was rewarded with my familiarity regarding Sherlock Holmes yet this retelling/mash-up was brilliantly unique and enjoyable in its own right. I loved the moment when I understood what the title meant. I loved that it had pictures, which were awesome and such a pleasant surprise. I loved the unintentional (at least, I can only assume it was unintentional) video game references I drew as I was reading (I couldn’t not read Torg’s lines unless they mimicked the voice of the trolls from Witcher: The Wild Hunt and of course dealing with a client whose last name was Trevelyan make me think of Dragon Age). And the ENDING. Holy shit.

Please give me book two sooner than planned, Mr. Denning. I beg of you.

If you’re still here, thank you for reading yet another lengthy review where I ramble about how much I enjoyed reading a book, how angry I am about having to wait for the next one and do nothing whatsoever to tell you anything helpful at all about the book itself nor really review it properly, as a great story should be reviewed (yet, I did warn you in the Welcome to Erlebnisse post that this sort of thing is exactly why this blog is here, so I can rightly apologize without being a hypocrite). I hope, despite it all, that you are inspired to pick up Warlock Holmes and read it.

If you’re not here and took my earlier advice to skip this review all together and instead move right along to Warlock Holmes, then I hope while others have been reading this, you have reached the part regarding the earwax. I mean, seriously, earwax? How did he…you know what, nevermind, I don’t want to know. I’m just impressed.

Read on!