Warlock Homes: A Study in Brimstone, by G. S. Denning, is a fantastic, comedic take on Sherlock Homes, and is just as ludicrously fun as it sounds. Being the journal of one Dr. John Watson, it chronicles his first cases with the bumbling but powerful Warlock Holmes, and starts with John’s apology for ending the world.
I loved the characters in this book. There is, of course, Dr. Watson, who narrates. Watson is observant and sarcastic—not to most of the people he speaks with, but to his reader, and, once comfortable with him, to Warlock. Next there’s Warlock Holmes himself, who is less than observant, and yet endearingly so. There’s Vladislav Lestrade, a nihilistic vampire and Scotland Yard detective, as is Torg Grogsson, an honorable ogre with a love of ballet dancers. There’s also a host of characters that don’t repeat from story to story, each with their own individual quirks.
The plots are riffs on Sherlock Holmes Stories, only more magical and silly. First up is the titular A Study in Brimstone, followed by The Adventure of the Resident Sacrifice. There are others, too. I’m not familiar enough with the original Sherlock Holmes stories to get all the references, but I still found each story thoroughly enjoyable.
The world of Warlock Holmes that Watson now finds himself in should be a terrifying one—demons trying to enter and take over our world, Moriarty’s ghost living in Warlock’s head, magical artifacts running amok. And yet despite the horrifying things, thanks largely to Dr. Watson’s narration, it’s also hilarious. Not so much the torture victim or the woman whose skin and muscles fall off—if you can’t stand even a little gore, this isn’t the story for you—but in general the wry tone makes for good fun.
I did not see the ending coming until just before it happened. It’s somewhat suspenseful—what has and will become of our dear Warlock? But I look forward to finding out in the next book.