Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Lynn: I love to get book recommendations from friends and I especially love to get them from our book club teens!  That is the case with Death Cloud (Farrar 2011).  Cindy and I run an after-school book club in which the teens discuss the new just-out-of-the-boxes books for this year.  We like to hear what the teen audiences think of the books we’re sent and the kids never lack for strong opinions!  It was one of our book club kids who read Death Cloud and raved about it at a spring meeting.  She loved the mystery and the characters and her report was so enticing I knew I had to move that one up my stack!  Of course the other book club members were equally interested and it was just recently that I finally got my hands on the book.  It was worth the wait although I’m sorry I didn’t get this entertaining book read and reported on sooner!

With his soldier father leaving for India and his mother ill, 14-year-old Sherlock is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle for the summer holiday.  Lonely and bored, Sherlock makes friends with a local boy and the two quickly end up in trouble.  Sherlock is miserable when he learns his uncle has engaged a tutor to keep him on track with his studies but the tutor turns out to be an unusual American named Amyus Crow whose goal is training Sherlock to think and reason logically.  The set-up is quickly done and the story plunges into a mystery as puzzling as it is action-packed.  Kidnappings, dastardly plots, flying fists and an evil villain with steampunk trappings keep the pages flying.  Readers won’t have to know anything about the Doyle stories but those who love all things Sherlockian will find clever seeds planted for the distinctive adult character.  I ran aground on one element – the young Sherlock is clearly smitten with Crow’s clever and courageous daughter, Virginia, who shares the adventures.  In the face of the adult Holmes’ misogyny, this seemed awry.  There are planned sequels so perhaps that will be handled later.  It’s a small quibble though and the next volume can’t come quickly enough for me!





About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

3 Comments on "Death Cloud by Andrew Lane"

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  1.' Andrew Lane says:


    Just saw the review of ‘Death Cloud’ on your site. Thanks for being so enthusiastic about it (things like that make a difference at three o’clock in the morning when I’m trying to finish a chapter). Don’t worry – the budding romance between Sherlock and Virginia will end in a way that will affect his relationships with women for the rest of his life…


    Andy Lane

  2.' Andrew Lane says:

    I just got the first set of copies of the fourth book (Fire Storm) from the publishers this morning. That’s the UK edition, of course – the US ones are a while behind.


    Andy Lane

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