Hello Readers! It’s that time again to venture into the mysterious and crime filled world of Sherlock Holmes. You may remember that the last time we joined the brilliant team of Holmes and Watson, was through the creative and magical lens of G.S Denning’s Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone. We will once again be joining the mystical and baffling Warlock Holmes and his trusty companion Dr. John Watson in this much anticipated sequel, Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles. With excitement and a hunger for the supernatural, let us take a dive into another magical adaptation of the world’s greatest detective.
Our story begins following the haunting and chaotic conclusion of Warlock and John’s adventures in A Study in Brimstone. With Holmes still recuperating from his latest deadly case, Watson desperately struggles to hide his partner’s paranormal traits from the eyes of the public, while still trying to solve five cases. Being assisted by officers Lestrade and Grogsson, ghosts, wisps, tricycle riders, a thousand demonic spirits and a Hell-Hound, Watson and Holmes find themselves once again battling the crime ring of Moriarty and other supernatural forces. Will the magic of spells and mysticism be enough to solve these mysteries or will logic and fact have to save them in the end?
Since reading the first novel, I have been eagerly waiting to read this equally hilarious and magical sequel. This time around, Denning combines Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original classic novel (The Hound of the Baskervilles) with four of his original classic short stories (The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, The Adventure of Silver Blaze, The Adventure of the Reigate Squire and The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist) and puts a paranormal twist and comedic edge to them. Using magic and the supernatural, the original stories are told with the characters experiencing mystic phenomena within humorous situations.
I thoroughly enjoyed going through the different mysterious cases alongside both Holmes and Watson and found myself continuously laughing at the insane and ghostly places that they found themselves in. Like in the first book, the argument of magic vs logic is a major element within the partnership of Holmes and Watson. Warlock’s addiction to using magic opposed to Watson’s skills of deduction and observation provide a very humorous dynamic between the two characters. I loved Warlock’s use of his network of demons to summon random people, animals and corpses out of nowhere instantly into the cramped space of 221B Baker Street.
The paranormal and supernatural forces of different dimensions play a major role within each case and cause the theme of magic to not only be shown as humorous, but also be viewed in a serious light. Holmes is always in a constant struggle within himself about his dependency on magic and the consequences of it’s use within the “normal” world. With each case, readers are asked the questions: Is there such thing as ‘good’ magic? Can magic be used for the greater good or does it only put innocent people in danger? Does magic come with a price and can our world afford to pay the consequences for it’s use?
I loved how the secondary Sherlock Holmes characters are brought back within these stories. It was great to see Vladislav Lestrade and Torg Grogsson again, helping out Watson and continuing their witty banter with Holmes. It was also great seeing the other supporting characters within the different short stories; presented through a new mystical and comedic attitude. My favourite was the personality and descriptions of Sir Henry within The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles. Being Canadian, I thought it was very amusing how Watson was constantly trying to get Sir Henry to tone down on his Canadian characteristics and act more like a British Aristocrat.
Unlike in the first novel, Watson is on his own for some of the cases due to the state that Holmes is in. It was really fun and interesting seeing how Watson uses his own detective skills at getting to the root of the crimes and solving them without the help of Holmes’ magic. I found Watson’s actions within The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles most exciting and entertaining because of his sense of deduction and hunger for adventure. It was also my favourite of the bunch to read because of it’s winks and nods to the original novel; my favourite of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Diehard fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work will love this novel for the genuine love of the world of Sherlock, displayed within these fanatical stories of magic and mystery. Newcomers to the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes will also enjoy these stories, however I recommend reading the first novel before this one; so as not to be confused by the beginning stories and references to past cases.
I was happy to see that Sean Patella-Buckley was back to contribute his beautiful illustrations throughout the novel. His black and white drawings of the characters and strange supernatural occurrences provided perfect visuals to the hilarious cases. My favourite was the drawing of Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry meeting Holmes and Watson because of how Canadian Sir Henry looks with his lumberjack stature and “Wolverine-like” haircut and mutton chops.
I highly recommend Denning’s fresh new twists to the classic cases of Sherlock Holmes to anyone who loves stories filled with magic, mystery, murder and hilarious hijinks. Warlock and John capture the readers’ lust for adventure within these magical cases and provide a ton of laughs within every story. Check out Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles. I hope that G.S Denning continues to create more magical journey’s with the world’s greatest detective.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!