This title was sent to me by Endeavour Press through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review
Finding new publishers obviously means finding never before read authors and new genres. It is always a gamble and one that a true bibliophile must never baulk from.
Simon Clark appears to be a well-loved author in the horror genre. Considering that I loathe anything scary, picking up this book was a bit of a dare for me. And the gods smiled at me since it turned out not to be horror so much as a sort of nice Ghost Buster story.
First Sherlock’s Demon is not some demon that haunts Sherlock, it is in fact set in present day England where it is Sherlock himself who is the demon! A terrible notion isn’t it? However, as the story progresses the author manages to make it all seem so logical that one feels much better about the whole thing. Yes, perfectly sane people can get very touchy about the treatment of their favourite fictional characters in print and the media.
So, the almost newlywed Hepworth couple inherit an old dilapidated house with beautiful extensive grounds and decide to fulfil their dream of growing organic vegetables there by building extensive polyhouses. They are hard-working and idealistic and things seem to be going well for them, until the resident ghost begins making its presence felt. What at first seems to be a joke rapidly disintegrates into a terrifying ordeal, especially for the wife, April. April finally decides to contact an old childhood flame who is now in the ghost hunting business, Byron Makangelo. He is a peer of the realm and it is not clear whether he was born to the title or was gifted it. He now has a team with whom he hunts ghosts and immediately flies to the rescue raising much speculation in his team about his past with his client. The team arrives and what follows is absolute mayhem.
It was an extremely short read and I actually checked twice to make sure I wasn’t missing something. The book plunges the reader into the drama at the Hepworth place from the very first page. It seems a little abrupt but then one settles into the rhythm of the story and begins to get the hang of it. It was fast and it was an alright book for a Sunday afternoon. The horror bit of the novella is not horrific at all. The ghostly shenanigans are a bit too much to swallow and the climax is overly dramatic to say the least. Perhaps if I had read it after dark on a cold and rainy night it would have seemed more terrifying, but I was so primed to be scared that I just did not dare to do that.
The Byron is projected as suave and debonair and possibly the kind of man women swoon over, only he came across as bland and definitely lackluster. The other members of his team seemed more interesting and better scripted. And I completely failed to understand the addition of the monkey. Was that supposed to win the peer cuteness points much like Ross Geller? It feels as if the novel has been put together rather hastily. The Hepworths are a nice couple and their greedy relatives make a fun addition to the whole.
Despite the many shortcomings I have listed above, I liked the overall story and only wish the author had done a better job of terrifying me. It could have been longer for starters and perhaps the horror bit could have been either downplayed or taken to another level completely.