Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
Genre: Adult, historical fiction, mystery, Sherlockian fiction
Published on December 9, 2014
Published by Harper
Pages: 304
Read From: 1.20.15 - 1.25.15

What really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, met at the Reichenbach Falls? 
Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty - dubbed "the Napoleon of crime" - in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls. 
Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into the waterfall's churning depths, Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place - including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sing of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London - from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the Docks - in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Oh yes, I do like the cover art. Silvery and attention-grabbing and lovely. Don't like it so much without the dust jacket, but I'll just leave the jacket on! :-)

Characters: Frederick Chase, I'll be honest, wasn't my favorite protagonist. He was good for the story, but I didn't feel much attachment towards him. He was a narrator for the story, and the supplemental Dr. Watson for Athelney Jones. That isn't to say Chase had no personality; he did, but there was something missing in him that kept me from really truly liking him. And I think this was done on purpose - but I can't tell you. It would be giving away the ending. . . .Athelney Jones I felt kind of sorry for. Once humiliated by Sherlock Holmes, he has no dedicated his life to Sherlock's art of deduction. And with Sherlock seemingly dead, Athelney feels like it's his job now to take Sherlock's place. He isn't a bad investigator at all, but you can tell he's constantly trying to make up for his previous shortcomings. The villains of this novel were thoroughly believable. Thuggish, ruthless, and intimidating, I had no trouble believing that they could actually exist. And then there's Perry, a demented little boy who just totally freaked me out.

The Romance: There isn't any!

Plot: The synopsis does a terrific job summing it up. On the surface, it's actually a pretty straightforward story: we know who the villain is; there's no question about that. And now our protagonists are just trying to figure out how to get concrete proof to bring Devereaux down. But as the story continues, it becomes a lot less straightforward. Every associate of Deveraux's Chase and Jones interview suffers a mysterious grim and brutal murder. Chase and Jones seem to have help now and then, but from who? And why? This mystery led me on and on and on, and I wasn't about to put it down. I wanted to know what all was going on. I wanted to know what would happen to Chase and Jones next. With each chapter, the game was upped, the stakes raised. My only real complaint about this novel was that it sometimes felt too much like the Author was trying to create the same feel and setup of Sherlock and Watson - only with Jones and Chase. Chase is the Watson to Jones's Sherlock. And they mirror the two rather well. Jones goes into long deductions, and Chase exclaims over how he could possibly tell! Sometimes it felt like the Author was trying to make up for the fact that Sherlock and Watson are not, in fact, in the story. This, however, is given an explanation at the end, so it is, as I said, a minor complaint.

Believability: No complaints!

Writing Style: First person, past tense. Anthony Horowitz has Conan Doyle's style down so perfectly that I always feel like I'm reading an original Sherlock Holmes story. Even though Watson wasn't the narrator in this one, it still felt like that.

Content: Blood and violence and gore. There were a few moments that had me flinching.

Conclusion: All in all, a riveting mystery that I was prepared to declare, "Well, that was fun! I really enjoyed it!" And then. . . .the twist. The huge, amazing, sudden, and so-didn't-see-coming twist that sent this book from "really enjoyable" to downright mind blowing. The twist that made me completely respect Anthony Horowitz as a writer; a respect that can never be shaken again. And this is all I have to say on this matter: can Moffat and Gatiss please, please, please hire Anthony Horowitz as a screenwriter? The world would explode!

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, eighteen-and-up, fans of mysteries, Victorian historical fiction, and Sherlock Holmes.


  1. I love how clear your review is, with the different categories! I just tend to start writing and end up with something that is hopefully understandable to others! I do love Sherlock Holmes although I've only read one of Doyle's stories! Not quite sure this one would be one for me although the twist sounds amazing! Thanks for the review :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. I did my reviews like that before, too, and eventually found that breaking it down into categories helped me outline and cover everything I wanted to cover in a much more concise and clear way. Which Sherlock Holmes story did you read?

  2. Wasn't the ending just words?? I was not expecting it and I actually had to stop reading when the twist was revealed to process it.

    1. I did, too! My mouth literally fell open and I think a few expletives might have run through my mind.


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