Saturday, January 19, 2013
Review - "Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire"
The Baron Antonio Barlucci is the novel's main character. A century's old vampire, Barlucci has moved from France to London where he meets and falls in love with the niece of Sir Charles Warren, the commissioner of Scotland Yard. Wanting to cure himself of his vampire disease, the Baron hires an American doctor to help cure him. And all the while, to satisfy his lust for blood, the Baron is committing the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper.
You may have noticed that the name Sherlock Holmes were not once used in the above paragraph. That is because Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are fairly minor characters in the novel. The detective's role does increase as the novel progresses, but a number of plot points have to be set out to establish the characters more thoroughly. Despite the fact that Holmes is not a large character in the book, the portrayal of Holmes is well-done. Holmes is very close to his original characterization from the canon. The same can apply for Dr. Watson - who is presented throughout as a cool, calm and level-headed character.
For those interested in Jack the Ripper, this novel also has a great deal in store. Author Dean P. Turnbloom marvelously depicts the horrible murders in an interesting way. And the fact that his argument that a vampire could have committed the murders in the Autumn of 1888 really made me think. I know that sounds inane, but for some reason it almost made sense, before I was brought back to reality. Overall, the writing of the book was very tight and enjoyable.
My only gripe with the book was how many genres the book tried to cover all at once. In one story we had a Jack the Ripper novel, Sherlock Holmes pastiche, vampire thriller, Gothic romance and suspense. Sadly you cannot have your cake and eat it too Mr. Turnbloom, but aside from that I cannot really find many flaws with the book. While at first glance, "Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire" may seem like a campy, cheap thriller, it is actually a sophisticated and enjoyable read. It deserves a worthy 4 out of 5 stars from me. Hopefully in the future we can see more from Mr. Turnbloom.