Happy Wednesday, guys!
I'm a little bummed. I love Sherlock Holmes, so I was excited when I learned that Heather Petty had written a contemporary YA version of Holmes.
However, the book just didn't live up to expectations. While Heather had great ideas, they didn't translate very well into an overall story.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.
FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.
FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.
FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.
OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.
Heather Petty starts off with an interesting premise: she ages down Sherlock and his most infamous of foes, Moriarty, and changes Moriarty into a female. Now, "Lock" and "Mori" are two whip-smart teens living in contemporary London, and begin working together to solve several grisly murders that have hit close to home.
But while Petty's careful to establish Mori's background as a troubled teen with an alcoholic father and a deceased mother who left behind a complicated past, it's frustrating when we don't learn equally as much about Lock as the story progresses. He's moody and conflicted, but it feels like Petty's almost assuming that we're just going to view him as a younger verison of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock, especially when he shares dialogue like:
“I thought I was more evolved than that. But my obsession with revenge […] with wanting to keep you near me from now on, I fear I’m outing myself as the Neanderthal I never thought I’d be.”
in response to develop burgeoning - and frankly, awkward - feelings with Mori. As Bonnie aptly says in her review, quotes like these and the lack of characterization would be fine if we wanted the book to be Mori-centric. But I personally didn't, and felt having an underdeveloped Lock weakened the story considerably.
Outside of the Lock and Mori characterizations, the ongoing murder mysteries also felt like they were being influenced by the BBC show and other television shows as well. Not only did the story utilize a familiar plot device from the television show Revenge, but there was a certain feeling of expectation from each new plot development.
It felt like Petty believed that there were certain checkpoints that she needed the story to hit in order to create an effective mystery, and it was ultimately a little too plot-by-numbers for me, undermining the overall mystery and Lock and Mori's relationship.
I might recommend Lock & Mori for hardcore Sherlock or mystery fans, but otherwise, I'm not sure I would recommend this book.
About the author:
Heather Petty has been obsessed with mysteries since she was twelve, which is when she decided that stories about murders in London drawing rooms and English seaside villages were far superior to all other stories. She lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, daughter, and four hopelessly devious cats. You can visit her online at HeatherWPetty.com.