Book Review of Warlock Holmes, by G.S. Denning
Published by Titan in 2016
Warlock Holmes, by G.S. Denning, is more of a comedy than anything else, but some very inventive action, mystery, and adventure is thrown in. A strong dose of the supernatural is also added. This helps increase the excitement and more often than not the humor of the piece.
The book is actually a series of novellas, but they build on each other to form a flowing story. The different sections just give Watson and Holmes a greater number of mysteries to solve. And yes you read that right, Watson and Holmes, for in this novel Holmes is as ignorant and comic as Sherlock Holmes is a genius. Watson is forced to do all of the solving, where Warlock is lucky to be able to make it through a social encounter without alienating everyone involved. However, what Warlock lacks in intelligence and grace, he makes up with his formidable magical skills and he is one of the more powerful wizards of his time.
So this unlikely duo where Watson is constantly correcting and coaching the bumbling Warlock becomes increasingly funny as the stories evolve these odd characters. Add to the cast a sad ogre detective and a fatalistic vampire and the occult peril is only overshadowed by the onslaught of English humor.
This is not the type of book I usually search out, but the dialog alone sends this book up into the all-star range Denning somehow takes proper ‘gaslight’ jargon and mixes it into a vibrant modern humor that is inspiring.
Not too much to poke a stick at here unless you do not like comedies. I had a bit of a hard time shifting gears when I was required to think of Holmes as a buffoon. I mean it is sort of a bizzaro world notion, but he made up for his lack of insight with his powerful sorcerer skills and more importantly the humor his strange behavior caused.
It might have been a weird concept, but I thought it worked and worked well. It probably helped that I have read a lot of the old English classics. Mixing the proper jargon with outlandish events and situations was something I enjoyed. As a speculative fiction comedy this one is aces.