Death Cloud – by Andrew Lane
I’ve become quite a fan of Sherlock Holmes lately, so a young adult novel about a young Sherlock seemed right up my alley. I had a couple of grievances, but all in all, Andrew Lane’s Death Cloud turned out to be quite a lot of fun.
Sherlock is disappointed to be sent to stay with his aunt and uncle in the country during the school holidays. He expects a summer full of boredom, but what he gets instead is an adventure. The strange set of circumstances surrounding two deaths in the town of Farnham draw Sherlock into the mystery and he becomes intent on solving it, no matter the danger, with the help of his tutor, Amyus Crowe, and his new friends, Matty and Virginia.
I haven’t read quite enough of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories yet to be able to judge how well this matches up, but I don’t have any reason to think that it doesn’t, and at points it is easy enough to imagine this young Sherlock growing up into the seasoned detective everyone knows so well. The inclusion of a romantic interest seemed a bit unnecessary, but I will admit that it’s nice to have a strong female character involved in at least some of the action. I also found the villain to be a bit ridiculous and over-the-top, although it occurred to me during the final showdown that fans of the Alex Rider series might really enjoy this as there were quite a few things that reminded me of those books. It was fun to see the beginning of Sherlock’s story, as he works his first case and starts to develop his skills of observation and deduction. This is the first in a series, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes in future books.