Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

Review based on ARC.

Moriarty is the new book by Anthony Horowitz, touted as the only author approved by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle.  I understand [House of Silk] to be an excellent piece of "Holmes" literature, though I have not read it myself. Although I have not read Doyle myself, my husband is a big fan, I intend to read the books someday soon, and I am a huge fan of the BBC's newest Sherlock series and, in particular, think the actor cast as Moriarty therein has made him one of the more intriguing characters in literature. So I was rather excited to have won a copy of Moriarty.

I was disappointed. The plot is interesting enough.. New York Pinkerton detective Chase heads to England in pursuit of one of the worst criminal masterminds America has seen, Clarence Devereux, who himself has purportedly headed to London to hook up with Moriarty in an effort to expand his criminal enterprise. However, Chase discovers that Moriarty and Holmes (and/or their cohorts) have just committed double homicide on one another at Reichenbach Falls. Chase follows the body, hoping to be given an opportunity to find a letter from Devereux to Moriarty discussing their suggested partnership. Thus he meets Scotland Yard investigator Athelney Jones, who has previously appeared in Watson's own explanations of Holmes investigations as a somewhat bumbling idiot. Jones has devoted many efforts to discerning Holmes' own investigation methods, and Chase and Jones create a sort of Holmes-Watson duo... like, the kid version.

Together, they set forth to try to hunt down Devereux, bodies piling up left and right in the brutalist of manners as they go. All the while, Chase ponders the apparent ill-information Watson has provided regarding Reichenbach falls and contemplates what really happened, and how.

So all that sounds great! And the plot wasn't bad. But... it wasn't really good either. It was choppy and weirdly paced and felt like ... it felt a little like a novice author. Which I know is not the case! And the conversations were weird -- they didn't feel normal even for the timeframe in which they were occurring. And it almost felt like Horowitz was trying to fit a puzzle and "make it work," rather than simply telling a story.

However, as I say, it *was* interesting. And it had some compelling reveals and turns. And the ending certainly redeemed a lot of what happened in the rest of the book (though I won't even hint at what that means because it is worth discovering on your own). Also, there was some interesting foreshadowing.. Although the ultimate reveal was somewhat predictable and a little unbelievable, I enjoyed it all the same.

So, overall? I thought this hyped-up book was not particularly well done. The language was inorganic, the relationships were stilted, and I just never felt like I was really there in the story... On the plus side, as mentioned, it was interesting, had some good plot development, and the end added a bit of credit.

Recommended to .... well, I think this is best recommended to people who need more Holmes, however they can get it. And maybe recommended to other Holmes fans, just with the understanding that it's not amazing.

THREE AND A HALF of 5 stars.

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