I picked up SHERLOCK HOLMES VS. CTHULHU: THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEADLY DIMENSION by Lois Gresh expecting it was going to be more horror/weird fiction and less mystery. It ended up being the exact opposite but it was still an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to someone who doesn’t mind a different type of horror story from time to time.
I haven’t read a ton of the Sherlock Holmes stories but I’ve read enough to know the basic premise of them and know the basic form. I went into the book knowing pretty much what I was going to get and it delivered. Even the infamous Professor Moriarty makes an appearance of sorts.
The novel is narrated mostly by Dr. Watson who is keeping a record of his adventures with Sherlock Holmes. There are a few chapters sprinkled in narrated by other characters as well
A set of gruesome murders have taken place in and around London. The son of one of the victims has been accused of his father’s murder and therefore goes to Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to convince the famous inspector that he did not kill his father. Holmes agrees and takes on the case to clear the son’s name. In the investigation, Holmes discovers that the victim’s bones were stripped of all of their flesh and were stacked neatly in the corner of the room. In addition, the victim’s son is convinced that the machine his father was working on prior to his death is alive and is the thing that actually killed him.
Holmes is convinced that this did not happen and that there is a single human killer he and Watson are looking for. As the mystery unravels, it is clear that almost everyone except Holmes believes there are supernatural forces at work. This is one of my few problems with the book. In the reading that I am familiar with, Holmes is usually the smartest person in the room. In this case, however, he’s literally the last person to figure everything out. Knowing what I know about Holmes, it was not what I was expecting and with an iconic hero like Holmes you expect certain things and him figuring stuff out first is one of them.
The other problem I had with this book was the narrators other than Watson. The chapters narrated by others were sprinkled in throughout the book, because most of the book was narrated by Watson, I found myself having to go back and check who was narrating a chapter from time to time because it got confusing. Also, the other narrators were not as central to the story as Watson was and I felt like I did not know much about them at any point in the book.
With all that being said, I really enjoyed the story and the mystery and the horror elements this book had to offer. It had enough Cthulhu mythos to keep Lovecraft and horror fans entertained and was still able to maintain the feel of a Sherlock Holmes novel. I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Watson and Holmes in this book. As with the other Holmes stories I’ve read the relationship between the two men is probably the most enjoyable part about reading these kinds of books.
This gets a strong 3/5 from me and I’m excited for the next novel in the series.