The Great Detective’s ghost has walked London’s streets for an age, given shape by people’s memories. Now someone’s put a ceremonial dagger through his chest. But what’s the motive? And who – or what – could kill a ghost? When policing London’s supernatural underworld, eliminating the impossible is not an option. DI James Quill and his detectives have learnt this the hard way. Gifted with the Sight, they’ll pursue a criminal genius – who’ll lure them into a Sherlockian maze of clues and evidence. The team also have their own demons to fight. They’ve been to Hell and back (literally) but now the unit is falling apart…
Now, I should start by saying that I’m a big fan of Paul Cornell – his book British Summertime remains one of my favourite Sci-Fi novels, his writing for comics includes a spell writing my favourite character brilliantly (Pete Wisdom, in case anyone was wondering…), and his writing for Doctor Who resulted in some of the show’s greatest episodes since it returned (Human Nature and Family of Blood). I had previously enjoyed the two earlier books in the Shadow Police series, so I was excited for this one – although slightly apprehensive when I learnt that Cornell would be tackling Sherlock Holmes – in the current Holmes Renaissance we seem to be having at the moment, thanks to Misters Cumberbatch, Downer Jr and Miller. Tons of books featuring Holmes have been popping up in recent years – some good, some not so.
Thankfully, the Holmes situation is a very different one from what the reader may expect initially, and the main plot unfolds rapidly next to the intriguing developments in the lives of the main characters – I should note that I’d absolutely recommend reading the first two books in the series before reading this one – I’m sure the reader would catch up eventually, but the issues the characters are facing aren’t exactly run of the mill – so I’m sure prior knowledge of events helps to add to the experience.
The urban fantasy market is one that has been flooded in recent years – so it may be hard to tell what’s great and what isn’t when browsing the shelves. Rest assured that Cornell has crafted a series that is at the very top of it’s genre. Blending crime and fantasy superbly, Cornell does so whilst providing humour and witticisms, and a three dimensional cast with a hell of lot of heart – making these tense, fun reads. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.