Reviewed by Mr. Dark
Written by Loren D Estleman
Published by Titan Books
Another entry in the Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes series from Titan, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes brings the world’s most famous detective into the shape-shifting mystery of Dr. Henry Jekyll and his alter ego, Mr. Hyde.
One would think, at first glance, that this would be a tedious affair to read. We know how Jekyll’s story comes out, so without great liberties being taken with Stevenson’s original text, how entertaining could such a ‘mash up’ be? I’m here to tell you that, when done right, it can be quite a lot of fun!
Estleman weaves Holmes into the story of Jekyll and Hyde very deftly. Without giving too much away, very few deviations from the overall plot of the Stevenson novel are made, while still providing the reader with an enjoyable Holmes adventure.
In this book, Jekyll’s friend, Utterson, comes to the detective for help, providing our first offramp from the original tale. Concerned that Jekyll is being blackmailed by the dastardly Mr. Hyde, he asks Holmes to investigate the villain and try to sort out what he could have against the upstanding Dr. Jekyll.
The investigation quickly takes a turn when Holmes discovers that Hyde is a very worthy opponent. Estleman imbues Hyde with a Moriarty-level of criminal genius, on top of his ability to vanish rather completely whenever he is near Henry Jekyll.
Even though the reader knows the truth behind Hyde’s vanishing skills, it’s a great deal of fun watching Holmes attempt to detect it. His deep and abiding belief in the real vs. the fantastic is put to the test here, and our hero does not suffer it lightly. Holmes is a man who is deeply set in his reality, and when he faces this mystery, so far outside everything he believes possible, the detective is shaken to his foundations.
All of this is set in a rollicking adventure. Traditional Holmesian detective work is mixed with high adventure, including a carriage chase through the streets of London that is very cinematic.
You may be wondering how the end of the tale fits with the end we all know from the original. Without spoiling it, I can say that it does change the basic facts of Jekyll’s finale, while adding an extra dimension that explains that change entirely and adds a little twist on the end that is sure to bring a grin to any fan of both Stevenson and Holmes.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes is a very fun, engaging read for fans of horror and detective fiction. Highly recommended.
4 1/2 out of 5
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