ELEMENTARY - THE GHOST LINE

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Varnham

BOOK REVIEW: ELEMENTARY – THE GHOST LINE / ADAM CHRISTOPHER / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Good news for any American fans who may be jonesing for their weekly Elementary fix in the absence of an episode this week: Titan Books have employed the services of their own consulting writer, Adam Christopher, to pen the first in a series of tie-in novels. Based on this one, we hope they retain his services for a long while to come. Failing that, we hope there's a secret stash of new ones that they release shortly after this one hits shelves.

The premise of the novel (Sherlock Holmes and his partner Watson going down into the dark and dank Victorian tunnels beneath the city to investigate a crime) is one that fits the classic Holmes iconography down to a tee. So much so that we deliberately didn't specify which Watson it was. Set somewhere around the time of the first and second seasons, this book sees Holmes and Joan Watson summoned to an apartment in Hell's Kitchen to investigate a sloppy execution of a man who had Colombian connections.

We must admit that for a Sherlock Holmes story it is surprisingly easy for genre-savvy readers to work out the broad strokes of the grand scheme, although this could be a result of our 'suspect everything and everyone' style of reading. Fortunately this doesn't detract from a good tale, finely told.

For our money, the real selling point of this book is how superbly the author has captured the voices of the characters. All of the regulars sound exactly like they do in the series, but in particular Sherlock's voice has been nailed so well it's practically buried in the ground. This is where the novel really shines; like all the best tie-in fiction it's like we're watching an episode of the TV show. If for whatever reason Christopher decides that writing novels is no longer for him, we're sure that he'd be able to get himself a job on the Elementary writing staff. But screenwriting's gain would very much be the reader's loss.
 

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