Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client
Being Book One Of The Unpublished Case File Of John H. Watson, M.D.
by M.J. Downing
Pub Date 01 Jun 2019
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Sherlock Holmes has only been deceased a month when Dr. John Watson, still grieving, recounts his final case with Holmes. A terrifying mystery, it sends Watson and Holmes into the dark reaches of London’s back alleys – and the human soul. It begins when Anne Prescott, a lovely Scottish nurse, begs Sherlock Holmes and Watson to help her find her fiancé and her sister, who have gone missing in the teeming streets of London. Immediately, Watson feels an attraction to her that shocks him. Newly married to Mary, and deeply in love with her, he struggles to put Anne out of his mind. As Watson and Holmes dig into the slums and sewers of London looking for Anne’s fiancé and sister, they uncover a deadly web of bloody murders, horrific medical experiments, and even voodoo ritual that threatens not only London, but the entire British empire, and beyond. Watson must call on his unique combination of expertise in the medical sciences, as well as his military training to stop this killer before London —and Anne — are lost to the killer’s bloody plan. But time is short and the mystery ever more complex. How can he manage his feelings for Anne? What about his loyalty to Mary? He can’t have both.
"Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client breathes new life into a classic series in brilliant and bold fashion by casting Dr. Watson in the lead and relegating Holmes to a supporting role. M.J. Downing’s literary gamble pays off in a huge way, providing a great read for both its nostalgia and blistering originality. Even Arthur Conan Doyle would be a fan of this stellar mystery that maintains the feel and flavor of the series, while offering a fresh take that would make him wish he'd done it himself. A must read for all mystery fans in general and Sherlock Holmes fans in particular." Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of MURDER, SHE WROTE: A Date with Murder
"Entertaining as hell. Highly recommended!" -- Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Return to Woodbury
Zombies take on the Victorian super-sleuth in this debut homage to the Arthur Conan Doyle detective series. It’s 1888 and Sherlock Holmes, assisted by newlywed John H. Watson and a posse of street urchins, comes to the aid of Anne Prescott, a nurse whose sister and fiance have disappeared. In improbably short order, he figures out the basics of the mystery: Mad scientist Emil LaLaurie is using a brain-destroying infection, assisted by the voodoo rituals of his confederate Alcee Sauvage, to turn slum dwellers into zombies. The ensuing struggle to stop the villains is a well-rendered tribute to the Conan Doyle classics that retains the original style while updating the sensibility with combat feminism, queasy sex, and torrents of gore. Roaming a foggy, atmospheric London, Holmes is his old self, bursting with know-it-all pedantry (“It is perhaps a compound word from several terms in West African Kikongo…‘nzambi’ and ‘zumbi’ “), unlikely deductions (“The particular callous patterns on the man’s right hand, the many injuries to his left, and the discoloration of his trouser legs all speak of a man accustomed to repairing shoes”), and curlicued trash talk (“I wish to assure you…that I am the least worthy of the agents of justice who will fall upon you soon and take you down to ruin”). But he’s also modern enough to declare that “it is high time, Watson, that we treat women as our equals,” and to insist that Anne get samurai training. The latter comes in handy as the heroes confront hordes of rotting, snarling, brain-eating, galumphing undead and mete out old-school dismemberments and beheadings. The grisly violence—“The meaty ‘snick-snack’ sound of a razor-sharp blade slicing through flesh and bone came from my right….The head spun for a second in the air above the creature’s torso, and a weird giggle escaped my lips”—darkens Downing’s vigorous series opener. So does Watson’s agitation as he conceives an ungentlemanly desire for the gorgeous Anne that only grows more intense as she gradually zombifies after getting bitten. Holmes fans may find the video game carnage and Watson’s somber obsessions to be a tonal clash with the Conan Doyle aesthetic of cerebral cool, but the brisk action and pitch-perfect Sherlockian aplomb make for a page-turner. A gothic, ghoulish but enjoyable version of Holmes.