G.S. Denning's Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual was published by Titan Books in May 2018.
Information about G.S. Denning:
G.S. Denning is the author of the acclaimed Sherlock-fantasy mashup series Warlock Holmes, including Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone and Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles. He has a background in improv and has performed with Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife and two children.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual:
As they blunder towards doom, Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson find themselves inconvenienced by a variety of eldritch beings. Christmas brings a goose that doesn’t let being cooked slow it down; they meet an electricity demon, discover why being a redhead is even tricker than one might imagine, and Holmes attempts an Irish accent. And, naturally, Moriarty is hanging around... in some form or other.
REVIEW: WARLOCK HOLMES: MY GRAVE RITUAL BY G.S. DENNING
G.S. Denning's Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual is the third book in the Warlock Holmes series of humorous books about Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. This latest entry is marvellous in its approach to Sherlockian mysteries, because the author once again delivers unique and highly amusing stories that make readers laugh out loud with delight.
I have to confess that I love this book series. There's nothing quite like this out there on the market, because this series is simply brilliant in its inventiveness and originality. It parodises and satirises Sherlock Holmes in the best possible way and leaves readers wanting more. It's pure delight for those who love hilarious stories with a no-holds-barred attitude, sparkling dialogue and witty humour.
What makes this book and the whole series special is that the author has not merely written a parody about Sherlock Holmes, but actually builds something new. He uses classic Sherlock Holmes as a basis for his shameless parody, but adds many elements to the stories that create a larger concept for the whole series and bring depth to it. He puts his own unique spin on Sherlockian elements and spices up everything with magic. There's a distinct background story arc that can be seen running throughout the series that unites the stories, because the stories are interlinked.
My Grave Ritual differs from the previous books by consisting of eight interlinking short stories (this book doesn't have any novella-length stories), but otherwise it's similar to them. The short stories offer a nice counterbalance to the novella-length stories that were present in the previous books.
This book contains the following stories:
- The Adventure of the Navel-Starer
- The Adventure of the Blue Gob-Runkle
- The Adventure of the Disgusting Stain
- The Adventure of My Grave Ritual
- The Adventure of the Copper's Screeches
- The Adventure of the Red Heads' League
- The Adventure of the Three Apprentices
- A Scandal in Boh-grag-grah-grah
In these stories, Warlock and Watson get to solve various kinds of mysteries and deal with adventurous women and demons and secrets. Each of the stories reveals interesting things and enriches the background story arc involving Moriarty and Irene Adler.
This book begins with Warlock Holmes recovering from the Battle of Baskerville Hall. Warlock is bored and Watson tries to keep him occupied. Warlock is impatient, but Watson is firm with him, because he wants Warlock to get better. Suddenly, Watson receives a letter from his old acquaintance and is asked to investigate a perplexing mystery. Although Watson doesn't seem to be willing to help his acquaintance, Warlock convinces him to help the man. Soon Warlock and Watson are on their way to see man so that they can solve the mystery. This mystery begins a new chapter in the protagonists' lives.
I enjoyed reading about how the vampire detective Vladislav Lestrade invites himself to Christmas dinner and how the whole gang (Warlock, Watson, Lestrade, Grogsson, Wiggles and Mrs Hudson) has trouble with a malicious goose in "The Adventure of the Blue Gob-Runkle". The goose's behaviour is something truly extraordinary, because cooking doesn't slow it down. I think that this amusing Christmas tale will become a fan favourite, because it's a memorable story with horror-flavoured slapstick elements.
Along with "The Adventure of the Blue Gob-Runkle" and "A Scandal in Boh-grag-grah-grah", "The Adventure of the Red Heads' League" is one of my favourite stories in this book, because it's narrated by Warlock Holmes. All the other stories are narrated by John Watson, but this one puts the spotlight on Warlock and shines a bit of light on him and reveals what he thinks about certain things.
All things concerning Moriarty are handled wonderfully, because his presence causes Warlock and Watson trouble. The author's vision of Moriarty and the threat he poses to the protagonists is clever and well-executed.
The appearance of the cunning and intelligent Irene Adler aka the Woman is something to behold in this novel. It was fascinating to read what kind of an effect she had on Watson. I have a feeling that all fans of Sherlock Holmes stories will be delighted to read about the author's vision of Irene Adler. I won't reveal any details, but the meeting between Irene Adler, Warlock and Watson is handled brilliantly in "A Scandal in Boh-grag-grah-grah" and the dialogue is excellent.
This book is wonderfully spiced with clever popular culture references. They add a layer of inventiveness to the stories. Such things as the demon Covfefe and a clever Doctor Who spoof will amuse readers.
One of the best things about this book is that it evokes a Victorian atmosphere, because the author's descriptions about Victorian way of life feel vivid. I was enthralled by the author's effortless way of writing about what life was like in the 19th century.
The characterisation is spot-on and often brilliantly sharp and observant. The dynamics between Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson works perfectly. Warlock is a talented man when it comes to supernatural and occult things, but otherwise he's eccentric and often dim-witted and Watson keeps an eye on him. Watson's deductive skills complement Warlock's supernatural powers and together they form quite a formidable pair of detectives solving strange and unorthodox mysteries featuring various supernatural elements.
I'm personally amazed at the quality of the prose, because prose is often the weakest link in this kind of fiction. It's great that the author writes good and fluent prose, because it's the icing on the cake. His prose brings the happenings to life, because he easily creates an intense and mysterious atmosphere (it's great that some of the scenes exude eldritch menace, because the dark elements offer excellent counterbalance for the humorous elements).
The illustrations by Sean Patella-Buckley are atmospheric and beautiful. They wonderfully highlight some of the scenes mentioned in the stories.
My final words are:
I enjoyed this book very much, because the stories formed an entertaining story arc that ended in a cliffhanger. I look forward to reading the next book (The Sign of Nine), because I want to know what happens next.
If you've ever read any Sherlock Holmes stories, you'll find yourself laughing out loud when you read G.S. Denning's Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual. The inventive, sharp and twisted humour shines brightly in this instalment. I can guarantee that if you love quirky humour, you won't be disappointed by this book. This book is just as good as the previous books and then some.