Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Book Review: Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse
Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 2015 by Titan Book
I maybe read this book for the wrong reasons. Kareem is one of my favorite basketball players. I love the NBA, and even though I have adopted the Blazers and hate the Lakers I always loved Kareem. I mean he is a cool cat. Besides being the game's all time greatest in total points, he invented his own unstoppable shot. He is 7'2, super political, smart as a whip, trained with Bruce Lee, fought Bruce Lee on screen and was in Airplane. I had heard that he was a big Holmes nerd and that I respect too. It had been since I was a teenager that I followed the tales of Baker Street but I loved that one of the best NBA players had written a novel and I had to check it out.
I know he didn't write this one alone, I am sure Anna Waterhouse knew that she would get overshadowed by her famous co-author.It is hard not to be over shadowed by a figure as tall and KAJ. None the less KAJ is know for being a serious Holmes expert who has author essays on the character before. I can't help but wonder how much was written by Kareem but I think this story came very much from the man. After watching interviews I was convinced to pick up the book because I sensed his passion for the subject.
I admit I had never heard of Sherlock's "smarter" older brother. At the time of this story Sherlock is a teen who we only briefly meet. 23 year old Mycroft Holmes is of course the focus of the story. Fresh out of college Mycroft is drawn into a mystery of disappearing children on the island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend a black man Cyrus Douglas and his fiancee Georgiana. As they take the long trip across the Atlantic the mystery begins.
The first hundred pages are somewhat slow suffering origin story dilemmas, The authors do a good job of world building, which I enjoyed enough to keep reading. The story picks up steam when Cyrus and Holmes take to the sea. In many was it seems like a interesting story could have been told simply as a mystery on the ship.
None the less the story gets even better, one of my favorite aspects of the book was the fully realized Trinidad of the period. It feels well researched, of course I know nothing of the time or the character. It feels right to me. I enjoyed the writing which I felt flowed and the story worked perfectly. I am sure KAJ has it in him but I would love to see what he could do with a novel about a athlete living through the late 60's. I know he probably already wrote that book and it is not fiction. I'll read it. Eventually.
I think this is a must read for Kareem fans and Holmes nerds. It is excellent in many ways, the mystery unfolds at a perfect pace and the twists work through out. If the book had weaknesses to me they were ones that I admit might be personal preference. The conclusion of the mystery did not go to the dark places that I thought was coming to due to the setting. While Mycroft was a fine Character I like his sidekicks more than him. Cyrus was a great character and was perfect to explore some of the racial issues of the time. My favorite thing in the novel was Huan the Chinese immigrant who had a gang of martial artists in Trinidad called "The Harmonious Fists." I would love a whole novel about them and I thought they were not used enough in the third act.
For the record I wish I had more authors doing a sky hook to add to their book reviews.