Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blog Tour Review: Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz

(Sherlock Holmes #2)
Anthony Horowitz
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Orion Publishing Group, April 23, 2015
Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Book Synopsis: 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 that has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take Moriarty's 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.

Author of the global bestseller The House of Silk, Anthony Horowitz once more breathes life into the world created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. With pitch-perfect characterization and breathtaking pace, Horowitz weaves a relentlessly thrilling tale that teases and delights by the turn of each page.

The game is afoot . . .

Note to the Reader
I was provided with a review copy by 
TLC Book Tours, in exchange 
for an honest review.

The world of Sherlock Holmes is a truly fascinating one! I firmly believe that there's simply no  detective in mystery fiction that can compare with Holmes! I was therefore very interested in reviewing Moriarty, especially since Horowitz had already written The House of Silk, which was endorsed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate, and has garnered many rave reviews.

This second novel started out very well. The writing style is excellent, although perhaps a bit too modern-sounding for the time period of the story. There was the proper Sherlockian dark and foggy London setting, the feeling that a very puzzling web of crime had to be unraveled. The characters were well-developed, in a way Doyle himself might have done. 

In spite of these positive statements, I have to honestly say that this book did not pull me in as thoroughly as I expected it to, given that it 's supposed to be part of that very fascinating Holmes world. 

First of all, that immortal detective is not present at all in this novel, nor is his faithful companion, Dr. Watson. At the beginning of the novel, I kept hoping that Holmes would appear, to delight me with his brilliant deductions and observations. Instead, I was introduced to Athelney Jones, who was an avid Holmes admirer and obsessed student of the methods of the great man. Although Jones did emulate Holmes quite thoroughly, he lacked that certain something that made his hero such a wonderful, well-rounded character. Still, he was fairly likeable, and his sincerity was very apparent.

Frederick Chase, the American from the Pinkerton Agency, ended up becoming Jones's partner. It seems he was supposed to be the replacement for Dr. Watson, as Jones was for Holmes.I liked him much more than I did Jones; he was very much intent on doing his best, with his own knowledge and experience, to capture Clarence Devereux, an American criminal attempting to replace Moriarty as leader of the London crime world. At the same time, I liked how he looked out for Jones.

The action was a bit slow in places, but I didn't find that to be as much of a problem, because, where detective work is concerned, one can't expect every single moment to be full of action. This novel did have several unexpected twists and turns, though, so the suspense was there.

There were two things that really bothered me about this novel, however.

The first was the very detailed way some of the murders were described. The narrator of these was obviously a very sadistic person, but I really thought it unnecessary for Horowitz to delve so deeply into the mind of this criminal. At that point, the novel truly bordered on the horror genre for me.

The second one is more important, and it concerns the ending. I honestly found it very shocking, although Horowitz set everything up so skillfully, as the plot developed, that the reader was not aware of what was coming up. At least, this reader wasn't. Perhaps such an ending can be seen as very close to the type of thing that would happen in real life, where things don't always get resolved as we would want them to be. For this Holmes fan, it was still very disappointing.

If I were to judge this book as a mystery novel written outside of the realm of Sherlock Holmes, I would definitely say that it's an interesting one. I would even recommend it pretty highly. After all, it did hold my interest, for the most part. Horowitz has indeed written a novel that I know I would have really enjoyed, had it not referenced Holmes's world while so radically departing from it. 

In conclusion, I have very mixed feelings about this book. While it did provide me with some reading pleasure, I was not entirely pleased with it. I'm now very curious to read the first one in the series, which I'm sure will give me much more of a Sherlockian thrill.

MY RATING:                                         

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the international bestseller The House of Silk and the New York Times number one bestselling Alex Rider series for Young Adults. As a television screenwriter he created both "Midsomer Murders" and the BAFTA-winning "Foyle’s War", both of which were featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. He lives in London.

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  1. Your review is insightful and well written as always.

    I had heard such good things about House of Silk and I heard an interesting radio interview with Horowitz when it came out.

    I really want to read some of the books of the original series which I have not done.I would do that first before trying these books.

    Too bad that this was on the disappointing side. It sounds like the author wanted to do something different.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      As always, thanks for the compliment!! : )

      I am definitely planning on reading "The House of Silk", which I think will be much better, since our beloved Holmes and Watson are featured in it!!

      I read a couple of Sherlock Holmes novels -- Doele's creations -- when I was in my teens, and would like to revisit them, so as to post reviews of them. That was when I became a Sherlock Holmes fan!

      I don't know if you've ever heard of "The Seven Percent Solution". It's a Sherlock Holmes novel written quite a few years ago, by another writer. I'll have to look it up. This one was supposed to be EXCELLENT. I believe it was also turned into a movie. I think I have it somewhere here in this vast library of I also own another book, titled "Death Cloud", which looks VERY interesting! It features a teen Sherlock Holmes. And I know EXACTLY where it is, too. Lol.

      Yes, it's unfortunate that I found this book disappointing. At first I really liked it, but as I read further, I began to lose interest.... However, the ending is what really did it for me!

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful review for the tour!

  3. Hi, Heather!

    You're very welcome! I wish I could have enjoyed this book more, but unfortunately, I just couldn't. I really want to read "The House of Silk"!! I'm pretty sure I'll love it!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!! : )

  4. As soon as I saw this title (on Goodreads, maybe?), I added it to one of my Amazon wish lists with the idea of possibly giving it to my dad as a gift-- he LOVES Sherlock Holmes.

    This is actually the first review of "Moriarty" that I've read, and I'm glad that I did! I really appreciate the various points that you mentioned throughout your excellent review.

    I'm [still] on the fence about purchasing this book. What I'll probably do is hunt down a used copy, really because my dad is my THAT much of a Sherlock fan. And since this title has been out for a little while-- and Christmas is still a few months away-- yup! that'll likely be the plan.

    Thanks again for the great review!


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