Lynn: Most mystery fans love sequels. We fall in love with a character and can’t wait to read along as he or she takes on a new case. I’m in that camp and I love nothing more than another installment of my favorite sleuth. So for our continuing celebration of Mystery Month, here are two super sequels that shouldn’t be missed.
The first is Black Ice (Farrar, 2013) the the third book in Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins series. The series follows Sherlock Holmes in his teen years as he starts to develop and hone his deductive skills and Lane has done a wonderful job of being true to Doyle’s legendary character. In fact, the series is actually endorsed by the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle estate. The books are fast-paced, full of exciting adventure and feature really intriguing mysteries. In Black Ice, Sherlock’s brother Mycroft is discovered holding a knife in a locked room with a dead body – and that is just the start of the adventures that take Sherlock into serious danger. A risky trip to the Russia of Czar Alexander II and his feared Third Section add a fascinating dimension to this terrific page-turner. Lane has packed it with one suspenseful scene after another but there are plenty of clues and puzzles to challenge reader’s deductive skills. Lane has carefully researched these puzzling thrillers so don’t miss the fascinating Historical Notes.
Next up is The Watcher in the Shadows (Harcourt 2013) by Chris Moriarty. This is the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2011, The Inquisitor’s Apprentice set in an alternate New York City at the turn of the century. This is a magical New York where spellcasters work the sewing machines of the Pentacle Shirtwaist factory, a dybbuk roams the streets, Kabbalists argue in the cafes and J.P. Morgaunt concocts sinister schemes to break the planned strike of the IWW (Industrial Witches of the World). Young Sacha Kessler is an apprentice to the famed Inquisitor Wolfe whose job is to investigate magical crimes. When the Klezmer King is electrocuted in front of the audience by his Electric Tuxedo, the people Sacha loves are drawn into danger. Much of the fun of of this series is in the highly original and richly imagined world, like yet so unlike our own. Complex plots require the reader’s close attention and careful reading which is good because the book is packed with sly historical references that need to be savored. The characters are brilliant and it is impossible to read these books and not care deeply about them all. I especially enjoyed the way Moriarty wound up some threads in this book while introducing new elements that spool on unresolved. This individual book, as the first, comes to a satisfying resolution but large central issues remain for the next installment – which can’t come too soon for me! Please, Mr. Moriarty, write faster!!!