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Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client

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Member Reviews

I love Sherlock and Jack. This was such a fun dark read and a really great start to the series. I loved that it was told from Watson's view (I seriously relate to Watson so hard lol) I felt that this was witty and entertaining.
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Sherlock Homes and the Case of the Undead Client was a fun and fast read.  This is the first book that I have read by this author and I will be looking for more books from this author in the future.
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If it hasn’t occurred to anyone who reads my blog by now, I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I have read all of the original Conan Doyle tales countless times and continue to enjoy them. I am also one who is more than happy to read other author’s stories starring my favorite detective. And while yes, I will admit, that it is often hit or miss with the books, I still enjoy it.

Unfortunately my dearest readers, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client is one of those that is a miss.

A great majority of readers are familiar with fan-fiction, and with that they are generally familiar with the term “Mary-Sue”. The term refers to a female character who is absolutely perfect in every way. She is incredibly smart and exceptionally beautiful, whatever task she attempts to do she is almost immediately proficient. And in almost every case she meets a tragic end.

The character of Anne Prescott is, in my mind, such a character. She comes to Holmes and Watson seeking their help in finding her missing fiance as well as her missing sister. At first, her interactions with Holmes and Watson are fairly standard – she is trying to help them find her loved ones after all. Soon though characterization goes a bit sideways and both Holmes and Watson become almost caricatures.

About halfway through Holmes expresses a wish to be more like Anne Prescott with her strength of character. I thought this was completely out of character for him as he had never wanted to be anyone else but himself. Also, about two-thirds of the way through, Anne seduces Watson and causes him to cheat on Mary. Again, this is quite out of character as in canon Watson professed how much he cared for Mary several times.

Aside from the mis-characterization, the writing itself is often over melodramatic to the point where it almost becomes purple. I understand that Downing was trying to capture the particular writing style of Conan Doyle’s Watson but like most everything else, I found it profoundly lacking.

If this book was about original characters fighting zombies in Victorian England, I would be more inclined to give it a better rating. However, because this is book is centered on the well known characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, I must rate it accordingly and advice my readers to skip it entirely.
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This is an ARC from NetGalley that I got months ago and stopped and started several times before finally finishing it.

This book is about Sherlock Holmes and zombies, narrated by Watson after Holmes’ ‘death’.  Anne Prescott comes to Holmes for help finding her fiance and her sister and this puts them on the trail of dark magic and twisted medicine. Much like in Dracula, we know a lot of the lore about zombies but the characters do not and they find out along the way.

When it came down to it, I enjoyed this plot. I liked how it progressed along, it was well-paced and I really enjoyed reading about how they learned more and more about the zombies and why they were here in England. The connection between the zombies and Jack the Ripper, which is part of this story, was one I had not predicted and I did enjoy seeing how the little details were created by the author, as well as how Jack the Ripper was stopped. Holmes was not in as much as I wanted, he disappeared quite a few times, leaving Watson as the very main character, along with Anne Prescott.

And here is the reason why it took me so long to start and continue this book. The main plot of this book is connected to the romance which has come up between Watson and Anne Prescott (and yes, he is still married to Mary at this point) and I found this romance plot irritating and boring, by the end of it. Apart from being very insta-love, Anne is held up as this amazing woman who can even make Holmes reevaluate his long-standing sexism and I wouldn’t have minded that. However, she does have flaws that are never addressed (like the fact that she knew Watson was married and it didn’t seem to slow her down at all, then again, neither did Watson) and after a certain point of the book, she becomes more of a plot point than a character. Things happen to her and she is no longer making her own decisions. All the focus is on Watson and what he feels about what is happening to her and I did not realise quite how much this annoyed me until I was writing this review.

The romance also made Holmes and Watson very unlike themselves, such as having many conversations about Watson’s attraction to Anne Prescott when I’m sure Holmes would not bring up who Watson was pining over, especially since it could only lead to unhappiness. I wanted to see more of the Holmes and Watson team but the scenes with them were few and far between and coloured by whatever was going on with Watson and Anne.

If the romance had been taken out of the book, we could have had some interesting debate within Watson about how to end Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror, juggling his view as a doctor with his need to protect innocents, but instead we got an abrupt turnabout but not before two more women died because of his hesitation. I feel like there was so much potential in that plotline and instead it was taken over by this dull romance subplot.

If I had been going on the plot of this book alone, I would be looking at 4/4.5 stars but with the romance and the treatment of Anne Prescott’s character, I do not think I can give this book more than 3 stars. I sped through the plot parts, I really enjoyed them but I resented everything to do with the romance and found myself wanting to put the book down at those points.

3 stars!
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I have always been that person who didn't like missing out any Sherlock Holmes version that comes to my notice. It may be movies, series (BBC Sherlock. Never the other ones) or adapted works, I am always interested in seeing the different versions emerge because we live by, what I would love to term with love and respect, 'fan fictions' now because the man who created this is dead. So disappointing, right? But this one right here is a perfect 'fanfiction' for all the Sherlockians!

Writing this book had to be a gamble for M.J. Downing as Sherlock Holmes takes on the supporting role in this one as this centres around Dr.John Watson in the lead as well as the narrator. Even though, this change is a massive one, it still manages to hold the originality of the works by Doyle; the story is told with the same soul of original works that it just shocks you and puts you in the same trance that you might find yourself in while reading Doyle's work! And by the end that made me desperately sceptical. Yes, there are few aspects of Downing's writing style and storytelling that will not live up to Doyle, but those aspects provide a sense of the newness that gives out a whole new vibe while still holding the essence of originality. Downing has done a highly applaudable job with this work but I do have a complaint. The length is a bit longer than it should've been because there were a couple of times that I found it a tad bit laggy. Nevertheless, this work is a job well down!

I loved the gothic aestheticism of the story as well! The proper portrayal of each one of the characters with a slightly modern touch makes this book a gripping, real-time page-turner! Downing knows very well on how to get the readers engrossed on the very first page. I will definitely read the other books in this series and check out the other works by the author!

Rating: 4.25/5
Recommended: Absolutely! Everything about this book including the power-packed action will come across appealing to Sherlockians. A must-read!

Thank you NetGalley and publishers for providing me with an e-copy!
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I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. I was really hoping to like this book. I'm fine with the idea of Holmes and Watson facing the supernatural. I like some of the little touches, like explaining why Watson switched out his bullpup for his larger weapon. But Watson's attraction towards one of the female original characters kept throwing me off. I kept trying, like, ok, Watson has always been a gentleman and admired pretty ladies even when married. But I got about 1/5 of the way in and the escalation of Watson's attraction just ruined the book for me and I couldn't keep going. Watson's loyalty is his defining characteristic and he'd never be so dramatically attracted to another woman. Maybe it's a setup for a later plot point or something but I don't really care. It's just not right.
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The undead nature of this book was well written and amusing, everything was at risk and it was a fun plot, but the characters are where it loses it's pull. 
A fine book, but being as it is not a Conan book I did feel we got some quite out of character actions and choices being made. The character driven aspect of Holmes and Watson is slightly lost in this retelling, and it made it hard to really fall into the story. You know who the characters are supposed to be, but since there is no reimagining of the characters and yet they do not stay true to themselves, it doesn't have as strong of a pull.
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Oh boy was this a great book! If you are a fan of Sherlock Homes then you must read "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client."

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion and I can tell you without hesitation this is a book you do not want to miss. Add it to your collection today!
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I loved the original Sherlock Holmes books by Conan Doyle, so I wanted to give this one a shot thinking it couldn't be worse than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Although I liked the plot and the story itself, I am a bit torn in general. One thing is that I didn't think Dr. Watson could be so stupid in terms of his feelings for Anne and act on it as he had Mary. Sherlock was also a bit "off" in a way, so I don't think the author managed to capture the essence of the famous duo correctly in this book. I also noticed the use of "the thousand-yard stare", which wasn't a wording used until WWII in the Pacific, so it's too new to be used in a Victorian setting.

The book did however cleverly mesh together zombies and Jack the Ripper in addition to being fast paced with lots of action.

It's not that it is a BAD book, but it had some room for improvement.
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I somewhat enjoyed this but you can tell it is not the same as Conan Doyle's writing. It took me a while to get into the story and when I did, I think it was a bit long and it did not have the same feel to them. There is a lot of action in this, and not as much Sherlock's ability to solve the crimes. 
I didn't like the actions of Watson in some places, I felt like it was more about him and his love for Anne Prescott  than Sherlock and the case itself. And I do not believe that Watson would ever cheat on Mary! So this annoyed me.
It's not a bad story, it's just different and not like the Sherlock Holmes I'm used to. The link to Jack the Ripper was a surprise but worked in cleverly. 
Not one for true die-hard Holmes fans, but would be suitable for anyone who likes zombies and those who are fans of the Sherlock characters portrayed by Robert Downey Junior and Jude Law.
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I really liked the characters and the authors writing style i was disappointed in the zombie part of the mystery that has been done way to much lately but still a good book
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Oh dear...  In my experience, new authors writing in the style/series of established characters like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go one of two ways - they're amazing homages that enhance and build upon an existing world (e.g., the Mary Russell series by Laurie R.King) or they fail, miserably, by either trying too hard to be the same OR to be too distinct. This one, unfortunately, proved one of the latter.

I was intrigued by the concept. Sherlock Holmes' world with zombies? Sign me up! I thought it would be a fun new twist on an existing world/concept that I enjoy, and the possibilities for explaining away Jack the Ripper as the work of zombies seemed endless.  Unfortunately, all that I found endless was the eye-rolling and my irritation. From the opening salvo, I found this one curiously flat given its subject matter. I was struggling to stay with the story - then when Dr. Watson turned out to be a lech it lost me. Seriously. It's fine to put your own spin on the world of well-established characters, but don't be surprised if people react strongly when you take them so far afield...

This one flopped for me in a big way. It felt cobbled together and half-hearted, like it was trying to force itself into the skin of Holmes/Watson. If the author wanted to write Victorian zombies, I say brava - but don't force-feed classic characters to them, sacrificing all that makes those characters classic along the way...
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Sherlock Holmes meets zombies with a bit of Jack the Ripper. That's quite unexpected but I love the Sherlock Holmes books and enjoy zombie stories/parodies once in a while so it seemed like a good pick. The idea is actually quite nice and the writing style is good but unfortunately it wasn't as great as I'd hoped. 

I cannot compare the writing style with the original as I read the original books in another language long ago so I'll only review the story and characters. I liked that the story was told from Watson's point of view like in the original books but that's about the only thing that resembles the original.

The story was less of the original "brainiac" Holmes solving mysteries thanks to his complex thinking but more focused on the usual zombie "hack and slash" style with the plot being a bit of a second thought. Watson felt completely off, not at all the same upstanding and loyal character I learned to know and love. Just married to Mary and suddenly infatuated with a client and acting on it, no, that was too much out of character and bothered me to no end.

My feelings towards this book really changed a lot while I read. It started well and I quite liked the book at the beginning, thinking it's a Sherlock and Watson mystery with a twist. At the end I was only happy I was finally finished because my memories of these great Doyle characters were quite ruined.

I do recommend this book to zombie fans who have heard of Sherlock Holmes and want to read a historical zombie story, I think you'll enjoy it.
For Sherlock and Watson fans, both characters really don't feel like the original characters from Doyle and I think this book won't make you happy.

2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
#SherlockHolmes #NetGalley

Thank you to the publisher who provided me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This ramshackle cobbling together of different genres is an injustice to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

My rating for this wavered because initially when the mystery started, I liked it.  I like the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.  I know it moderately well, their characteristics and foibles, their associates and enemies and their way of life. 

So I was comfortable with the environment and thought The Case of the Undead Client, would provide an odd twist that would be entertaining at the very least.   I was not concerned with the focus less on Holmes and more on Watson.  What perturbed me was when Dr Watson beginning to behave inexplicably, rashly and distinctly against type. 

Until all regard finally, plummeted to “I’m not enjoying this at all and it is ruining my memories – and good feelings – for this duo”. 

Unsavoury and tawdry sprung to mind.
I struggled with this Dr Watson who I do not remember being so amorous. Yes he was more emotional than Holmes but not to the extent that he would be instantaneously infatuated with a new client and act- newly married – on that infatuation.

I found it odd in the extreme.  Nor even in the book is it explicitly explained why Dr Watson is behaving the way he is.  It seems to come from nowhere, poorly explained and treated as not untoward.

Also Holmes is in my opinion ‘different’? Is a welcome or added change or a pleasant character development? I’m not so sure.

On paper the blending of Sherlock Holmes, Voodoo, Zombies and Jack The Ripper sounds fascinating but the implementation of trying to shoe horn them all into a plausible story was not.

Sherlock Holmes’ solo act, Dr Watson perplexing behaviour, Zombie enchantress Anne’s mysterious allure which is never fully explained to my satisfaction,  all seemed to point to primarily  writing a new interpretation of the Jack the Ripper mystery, rather than embellishing the Holmes canon. 

How can we put a new spin on that, given the starting point was Sherlock Holmes and end point the murders conducted by Jack The Ripper.
All that came between was the dull attempts to make that work.  It is two stars because it is reads well,  but is overly long. Appears well researched –  although I am unsure of the Jamaican who spoke French.  Which is frustrating as it had the potential to be an amusing if far fetched scheme had it not misused the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, instead of starting afresh and using characters who demonstrated why they behaved the way they did.

Doing so relegated it to the never to recommend or reread pile.

My thanks to NetGalley and Burns & Lea Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for a candid review

2 stars – it was okay
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I really liked the writing of this, it reminded me of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles from time to time which I really appreciated.

However, I didn't care for Watson in the story which is my main issue. He is married to Mary but he becomes interested in another woman, Anne Prescott, and a majority of the story is him having feelings for Anne while forgetting about Mary. And then feeling guilty about having these feelings because he’s married but still acting on them. I didn’t expect this to be so much of the story, and it was disappointing because I remember Watson being very loyal so this felt wrong.

Jack the Ripper was mentioned as well and I didn’t expect that at all, but I liked how it was woven into the story. I enjoyed the zombie part as well as how Sherlock was written, but Watson bothered me and I found myself rooting against him, which is something I never want to do!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Sherlock Holmes AND zombies!  I was really excited to read this book because it takes two of my favorite genres and combines them.  Unfortunately, the result wasn't as great as I had hoped.

The zombie side of the book is pretty good.  Had it just been a zombie book set in the 1890s with characters that I wasn't already familiar with, I probably would have given this a much higher rating.

The Holmes side of the book is where this fell apart for me.  Neither character felt right, but Downing's version of Watson felt way off.  Doyle's Watson always seemed like a very upstanding and loyal man while Downing's version has him lusting after another woman.  Eventually, Downing's Watson ends up losing Mary because of this.  It just didn't feel like the Sherlock Holmes and Watson that Doyle originally wrote.

As I said, if you take the parts separately, the zombie side would have gotten a much higher rating.  But as a whole, this just fell very flat for me.
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I had so much fun reading this book! Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Undead Client is narrated by Watson, just like in canon Holmes, and the setting is familiar foggy London.  Also, creepy voodoo scientists from New Orleans unleash zombies on London, as Moriarty tries to frame Watson as Jack the Ripper. Of course Holmes and Watson will save the day, but the story takes us through unexpected twists, and puzzles of voodoo, science, and more. Such a fun read.
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First Sherlock Holmes book I've read. It was a little slower then I was thinking it would be. But I did enjoy it. 
Thanks to @Netgalley for giving me the chance to read it.
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Not usually a big fan of Sherlock Holmes so I wasn't expecting much, but I found this so much easier to read than Conan Doyle. Downing has brought Watson and Sherlock alive for me in a way I've never got before. I love a good mystery, and this one did not let me down. The characters, the chase, it's all there! It's exciting and dramatic. Holmes and Watson on a case where a psychopath is creating a medically zombified army, full of twists, turns and little of Jan the ripper. What more could you ask for?!
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I was able to read a free e-book version of this novel on Netgalley. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley!

I'll start this out by saying that this was a pretty enjoyable book, and I'm not generally a zombie lover. It did not, however, really feel like a Sherlock Holmes novel.

I can see why it would be beneficial to operate in an existing world like the one built in previous Sherlock Holmes stories. I also imagine any lover of Conan Doyle's stories would love the chance to write something using his characters. In this case, though, I really felt it made me like the book less than if it had just stood alone, with just a little more building of its own characters.

For one thing, the characters introduced here only felt vaguely like they did in Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. For another, the narrative style from Watson's point of view seemed so different at points, that it didn't really seem like Watson at all. I found myself disbelieving that this was actually how Sherlock and Watson would respond to this situation. 

It's not that I'm against someone taking up the Sherlock torch. And Downing's writing style is pretty nice: straightforward and suited to this more action-packed style of novel. I enjoyed some of the flashbacks to Watson's military life, and actually now think I would like a prequel based on that time. I just found that it all didn't quite mesh for me in this one. It was almost like the modern TV show characters meshed with the old characters in strange ways in an unrealistic scenario.
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