Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range #1) by Steve Hockensmith

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*No Major Spoilers*

1893 is a tough year in Montana, and any job is a good job. When brothers Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at a secretive ranch, they’re not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a few free moments to enjoy their favorite pastime: reading stories about Sherlock Holmes.

When another hand turns up dead, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to employ his Holmes-inspired “deducifyin'” skills and sets out to solve the case. Big Red, like it or not (and mostly he does not), is along for the wild ride in this clever, compelling, and completely one-of-a-kind mystery.

“You can follow a trail without even knowing you’re on it. You start out just ambling, maybe get to thinking you’re lost–but you’re headed somewhere all the same. You just don’t know it until you get there.” – Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

As much as you hear about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes affected pop culture, you really don’t see it much outside of the United Kingdom. I am thrilled to see a western twist on the Sherlockian mystery subgenre. It makes the western genre unique and intriguing, not knowing who’s behind the murder until the unveiling at the end of the novel.

The Amlingmeyer brothers are just trying to survive in the late 1800’s America. When they stumble unto a murder mystery too difficult to ignore, they are in for an adventure. Lives and reputations are at stake as Old Red starts to meddle in places where he doesn’t belong.

The unlikeliness of a poor ranch hand solving an intricate mystery made the Amlingmeyer brothers’ struggle to solve the mystery all the more difficult. Old Red was more of an illiterate Sherlock Holmes and Big Red more of a brother trusting his kin. Big Red and Old Red is the only family they have left, so there’s no other choice but to stick together when things get dicey.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of westerns, mysteries, and Sherlockian style storytelling. This novel will leave you guessing until the big reveal, and even then you may be surprised to learn the answer to the mysteries.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes’ Rediscovered Railway Mysteries: Four Original Short Stories by John Taylor

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*No Spoilers*

In a drawer in his bureau, Dr. Watson keeps a locked cedarwood chest – a ‘box of secrets’. It contains an archive of notes referring to some of Holmes’ cases that, for one reason or another, never saw the light of day. Now, for the first time, Watson has decided to reveal the truth to the world… In these four thrilling stories, Holmes experiments with the science of ballistics; locate some missing gold bullion; investigates the theft of a large amount of money and solves the baffling mystery of the Stovey murder.

Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories, John Taylor has written four more mysteries featuring the world’s greatest detective. Read by acclaimed actor Benedict Cumberbatch, these new adventures share all the suspense of the original tales.

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I originally discovered this audiobook in an Audible Ad. I am a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and his portrayal of the famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. So I was lucky my library had it available and I was able to listen to it for free.

I could tell that the author was a huge fan of Author Conan Doyle’s original works. These felt like they were written with love and care.

My favorite story is the story about the missing gold bullion. I felt this case was the easiest to follow and understand Sherlock’s logic. Sometimes, I felt like I know who the bad guy is and how he pulled this off! However, as always, Sherlock adds a twist and makes the crime even more clever.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s narration was awesome and entertaining to listen to. He gave each suspect their own unique voice so it made it easy to follow along. His narration made me want to go back and rewatch his Sherlock Holmes run on the BBC.

Overall, this audiobook was a nice discovery, and I enjoyed listening to all of the stories. I would highly recommend this for lovers of Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, and classic mystery novels.