James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons was published by Titan Books in October 2020.

About James Lovegrove:

James Lovegrove is the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of Odin. He was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1998 and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2004, and reviews fiction for the Financial Times. He is the author of Firefly: Big Damn Hero with Nancy Holder, Firefly: The Magnificent Nine, and Firefly: The Ghost Machine, along with several Sherlock Holmes novels. He lives in south-east England.

Click here to visit his official website.

About Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons:

New York Times bestselling author James Lovegrove's continues the story of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles, as five years later, another monstrous creature stalks across Dartmoor...

1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.

Until, that is, Audrey's lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry's aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge...

REVIEW: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BEAST OF THE STAPLETONS BY JAMES LOVEGROVE

James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons is a beautifully written mystery novel to everybody who loves Sherlock Holmes stories. It's an impressive sequel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Ah, what a pleasure it was to read this novel! Being a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I'm more than happy to say that this novel is worthy of being in the same league as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories, because it reads like a good old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes story. When compared to Doyle's stories, the only difference is that this novel has a slightly more modern and sharper edge to it.

This mystery novel has all the necessary elements to keep the reader intrigued: adventure, intrigue, strangeness and excellent prose. The story will please readers of mystery fiction and speculative fiction alike, because it has elements of both genres. Although this novel is largely a mystery novel, it has a few elements that will fascinate speculative fiction readers (elements related to the possible mysterious monster and exsanguination shall undoubtedly be of interest to many readers).

The story begins with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson receiving information about an old acquaintance of theirs needing urgent help due to an acute crisis. The acquaintance in question is Henry Baskerville whom Holmes and Watson met a few years earlier. This time, it's not only Henry's life that is at stake, but his very sanity. Holmes and Watson hear that Henry's wife, Audrey, has been killed a short distance from the Baskerville Hall in a gruesome way. The rumour has it that she was killed by a monster. What makes her death strange is the fact that the body is completely drained of blood...

As the events begin to unfold after the first pages, the reader is treated to a deliciously dark and Gothic story that becomes increasingly intense and spellbinding towards the ending. In this story, the protagonists not only visit the Baskervill Hall on the moors, but also travel to South America, and they unearth a few secrets along the way.

The mystery and horror elements are in perfect balance in this novel and compliment each other. The rumours about a strange and unnatural monster make for an excellent read, because the author plays with the reader's expectations and gradually reveals how all the bits and pieces are connected to each other.

The characterisation is delightfully nuanced and perceptive. It was enjoyable to read about all of the characters and how they were introduced in the story.

The author's vision of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson feels remarkably authentic. He fleshes out both of their characteristics in a splendid way and makes them come alive with his prose. For example, by writing about how Dr Watson feels about the previous happenings on the moors the author lends depth to the character, and he manages to describe Holmes as the same kind of an intelligent man as he is in Doyle's stories.

It was interesting to read about Henry Baskerville and his son. The author's way of writing about these characters and their reactions to what is happening to them is excellent.

I have to admit that I'm amazed at how beautifully and atmospherically James Lovegrove writes Sherlockian fiction, because he manages to capture all the nuances that are present in Doyle's stories and then adds his own touch of modern flavour to the whole. I consider him to be one of the best modern authors of Sherlockian stories. To be honest, I thought that nobody could ever write a compelling sequel to the original story, because it's a well-known and respected classic within its own genre, but James Lovegrove has fully succeeded in it.

I love the author's prose, because he writes in an effortless way and pays attention to many details and atmosphere. There's something about his writing style that reminds me of classic stories that were written in the early 20th century. His fluent way of writing about the locales, the happenings and the characters is captivating and he succeeds in entertaining the reader with his story.

The Gothic nuances of the story are a nice touch of style and add fascination to the events. There's also a pleasant amount of humour in the story (not too much, but enough to add a touch of lightness to the story).

James Lovegrove's Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons is a wonderful piece of mystery excellence that should be on everybody's reading list. If you love mystery fiction, please invest time into reading this novel, because it's an amazing and rewarding reading experience. It's perfect escapism to everybody who loves good stories.

Highly recommended!

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