by Andrew Lane
I admit my only exposure to Sherlock Holmes has been the action-packed Robert Downey Jr. movies and the super awesome BBC adaptation. No, I have not read the original novels. However, I do enjoy the character of Sherlock and his abundance of knowledge that always seems to come in handy at just the right moment. The mysteries and the way Sherlock uses his superb sleuthing skills are always interesting and surprising. So, I was excited to find out that Andrew Lane is writing a series that introduces us to the fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes. As an added bonus, this series is the first teen series endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate.
In the first book of the series, Death Cloud, it is 1868 and Sherlock has just been sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their large estate in Hampshire. This arrangement is only supposed to be for Sherlock’s holidays from boarding school, but with his father stationed in India and his mother unwell, Sherlock is not sure what his future holds. His brother, Mycroft, has arranged for Sherlock to be kept busy with an American tutor named Amyus Crowe. Crowe is a Texan from America with a mysterious past, but a great knowledge of many different things. Sherlock is still bored, though, living in the country. Luckily, he makes friends with a local boy named Matty. Of course, through their boredom, the two boys stumble upon a mysterious black cloud that leaves its victims dead with plague-like symptoms. Together, Matty and Sherlock risk their own lives to solve the mystery of the cloud of death.
Death Cloud is filled with tons of action and adventure. And, of course, there is a great mystery that kept me guessing throughout the entire novel. One of the best parts about this book are the things I learned while reading the book. Each aspect of the mystery and how Sherlock comes to his conclusions are explained in depth in the novel, and most of the explanations are logical scientific ones! This is definitely a great read for all teens of all ages who enjoy a good mystery with lots of action and adventure.
Once you’re finished with Death Cloud, be sure to check out the next book in the series, Rebel Fire. In this next book of the series, Sherlock and his friends intercept a plot to resurrect the Southern Cause in America with the supposedly dead John Wilkes Booth!