Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse's Mycroft and Sherlock was published by Titan Books in October 2018.

Information about the authors:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a huge Holmesian - 7‘2”, NBA’s all-time leading scorer, six-time MVP, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as a New York Times bestselling author, and a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter. He has written fifteen books, including children’s stories, three autobiographies, several historical works, and essays. His recent titles are Becoming Kareem (2017) and Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court (2016). His first novel, Mycroft Holmes starring Sherlock Holmes’s less well known but more talented older brother, was published in 2015 (Titan Books).

Click here to visit his official website.

Anna Waterhouse is a professional screenwriter and script consultant. She was supervising producer and co-writer (with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) of the critically acclaimed On the Shoulders of Giants (Netflix and Showtime), which won Best Documentary NAACP Image Award and two Telly awards. She has written several how-to screenwriting seminars for Writer’s Digest and has taught screenwriting at both Chapman University in Orange, CA, and at the University of Southern California.

Information about Mycroft and Sherlock:

It is 1872, and a series of gruesome murders is the talk of London. Mycroft Holmes - now twenty-six and a force to be reckoned with at the War Office - has no interest in the killings; however his brother Sherlock has developed a distasteful fascination for the macabre to the detriment of his studies, much to Mycroft’s frustration.

When a ship carrying cargo belonging to Mycroft’s best friend Cyrus Douglas runs aground, Mycroft persuades Sherlock to serve as a tutor at the orphanage that Douglas runs as a charity, so that Douglas might travel to see what can be salvaged. Sherlock finds himself at home among the street urchins, and when a boy dies of a suspected drug overdose, he decides to investigate, following a trail of strange subterranean symbols to the squalid opium dens of the London docks. Meanwhile a meeting with a beautiful Chinese woman leads Mycroft to the very same mystery, one that forces him to examine the underbelly of the opium trade that is enriching his beloved Britain’s coffers.

As the stakes rise, the brothers find that they need one another’s assistance and counsel. But a lifetime of keeping secrets from each other may have catastrophic consequences...

REVIEW: MYCROFT AND SHERLOCK BY KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR AND ANNA WATERHOUSE

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse's Mycroft and Sherlock is the second novel in the Mycroft Holmes series. The first novel, Mycroft Holmes, began to flesh out the life of Sherlock Holmes' older brother, Mycroft. Now, this second novel continues to reveal more things about Mycroft Holmes in a thrilling way and a spotlight is also given to his younger brother, Sherlock Holmes.

Because I enjoyed reading Mycroft Holmes, I could hardly wait to get my hands on this novel. I'm pleased to say that this novel - just like its predecessor - is a genuine page-turner. Mycroft and Sherlock has been written so well that it's pure joy for those who love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes stories and want to find out more about the Holmes brothers. It's a highly entertaining and extremely gripping novel - once you start reading it, the pages just fly by and you'll hardly notice the passing of time.

Although Mycroft and Sherlock is not speculative fiction, I can highly recommend it to speculative fiction readers, because it will be of interest to many readers due to its Victorian atmosphere, excellent prose and fascinating story that has a few elements that border on the line of being horror elements. Regardless of what you normally read, I strongly urge you to take a look at this novel, because it's excellent escapism.

The story begins in November 1872. Mycroft Holmes is now twenty-six years old and has become a special consul in the War Office. News about nude and mutilated bodies have spread among people and have become the talk of London. Mycroft Holmes is not interested in the murders, but his brother, Sherlock, has become fascinated by them and all things macabre... Cyrus Douglas, a friend of Mycroft, runs an orphanage. When a shipment belonging to him runs aground on Chesil Beach in Dorset, Sherlock is persuaded to serve as a tutor in the orphanage so that he will learn compassion. Sherlock notices that one of the boys has punctures in certain places and becomes interested in what has happened to him. Soon Mycroft, Sherlock and Cyrus find themselves investigating opium trade and Sherlock visits London's opium dens...

In this novel, Mycroft and Sherlock are on the verge of becoming the people that readers know they will eventually become. It's satisfying and exciting to follow their development, because their lives are explored well.

The characterisation is simply excellent, because the protagonists are fascinatingly vivid and the secondary characters are intriguing. The authors write well about Mycroft, Sherlock and Cyrus Douglas by giving them believable voices.

Here's a bit of information about the protagonists:

- Mycroft Holmes has done well for himself. Although he is young, he has a good position in the War Office. He has a weak heart and must not exert himself too much.

- Sherlock Holmes is Mycroft's younger brother. In this novel, he begins to grow up a bit more. He notices that he enjoys investigating things.

- Cyrus Douglas is Mycroft's friend, who runs an orphanage, Nickolus House. He also owns a tobacco shop, Regent Tobaccos. He has two bullets lodged near his heart.

The differences between Mycroft and Sherlock are deftly explored and fleshed out in this novel. It's intriguing to read about what Mycroft thinks of his younger brother, because Sherlock is different from him and has youthful energy that annoys him. Mycroft doesn't approve of certain things that his brother does. It was interesting to read about how many secrets they kept from each other, because they both had something to hide.

It's great that the authors have included Cyrus Douglas in the cast of characters, because his character allows them to explore elements that bring depth to the story. Because Cyrus Douglas is a Trinidadian businessman who has come to London, his life is different from the lives of the Holmes brothers.

I enjoyed reading about how Sherlock interacted with the boys at the orphanage, because he was able to find a way to talk to them and knew how to teach them things. Although he was not much older than the boys, he was capable of maintaining authority over them. His behaviour and thoughts were perfectly described.

Dark and macabre elements are handled masterfully by the authors. It's great that the authors don't shy away from unsettling details, because their descriptions about the dead bodies are sufficiently creepy and disturbing.

When I read this novel there I got the impression that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a devoted Holmesian. There's no question about his enthusiasm towards Sherlock Holmes stories, because this novel is stunningly good and entertaining. He is a talented author whose fiction is a pleasure to read.

I was delighted by the quality of the prose, because the prose is excellent and nuanced. I like the authors' writing style a lot, because the atmosphere in this novel is spot-on. They beautifully bring the Victorian age to life with their gripping and vivid prose. Their depictions of the various places, people and happenings feel atmospheric and realistic.

One of the best things about this novel is that it's utterly fresh. Although most readers fully well know who Mycroft and Sherlock are, this novel is something new, because it tells about the brothers when they were young.

If you've ever read any Sherlock Holmes stories, you owe it to yourself to read Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse's Mycroft and Sherlock (I also recommend reading the previous novel, Mycroft Holmes). This novel is without any kind of doubt the best Victorian mystery novel of the year, so please make sure that you don't miss it. It's a welcome and impressive addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon of mystery fiction.

Highly recommended!

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