Sherlock Holmes & Count Dracula by Christian Klaver – A Book Review

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Blurb:

Sherlock Holmes is dead. His body lies in a solitary grave on the Sussex Downs, England. But Dr. Watson survives, and is now given permission to release tales in Sherlock’s ‘classified dossier’, those cases that are, dear reader, unbelievable – for their subject matter is of the most outré and grotesque nature.

In this thrilling first instalment of The Classified Dossier, a Transylvanian nobleman called Count Dracula arrives at Baker Street seeking the help of Sherlock Holmes, for his beloved wife Mina has been kidnapped.

But Dracula is a client like no other and Sherlock and Watson must confront – despite the wild, unbelievable notion – the existence of vampires. And before long, Sherlock, Watson and their new vampire allies must work together to banish a powerful enemy growing in the shadows….

Author: Christian Klaver

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 16/11/2021

Series: The Classified Dossier #1

Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror

Pages: 425

My Chosen Format: Hardcover

My Rating of ‘Sherlock Holmes & Count Dracula’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon, Audible

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Having only ever read one supernatural-style Holmes book, and that by James Lovegrove, I was a bit hesitant to jump into one by another author. Thankfully, the first few pages made me feel right at home within a Holmes novel as Klaver has the tone/language almost perfect. I will say, however, if you do not like the idea of Holmes & Watson taking on the supernatural, do not try this book. The title should give you some idea that’s what you’ll find. 

I was unsure as to how this was going to go and was pleasantly surprised that he went down a ‘vampirism with a scientific explanation’ kind of route. It felt fresh and welcome as opposed to the usual fiends of the night sort of thing we normally get. So I really enjoyed how Klaver handled vampirism and the unique way in which he approached the transformation and what goes on around it.

The story itself, I felt went on for a tad long. Amazon and goodreads will lie to you by saying it’s three-hundred and fifty pages long. It isn’t. I own the hardcover and it finishes at page four-hundred and twenty-six. I feel a good portion of the book was Holmes/Watson repeating themselves and could have been done without. For instance thoughts on one page might be revisited in exactly the same way a page later. I also feel some of the deductions are made more because the author wants them to be made rather than there are actual tangible threads. I had to shake my head and think ‘Ok, I’ll pretend that was logical’ once or twice.

The novel itself was broken up into smaller parts and I wondered, for a period if it was a novella collection rather than a novel. It is a novel, however, so that made me a little happier when getting stuck in. Each smaller section is linked through one over-arching main plot.

For the most part I enjoyed the way Klaver handled the characters. I think there are perhaps a bit too many mentions of Watson’s literary works, and Lestrade is perhaps a bit too accepting over everything, for it to feel overly Conan-Doyleish, but every author puts their stamp on the characters and, with this being a parallel world of sorts to the London Conan-Doyle would have sent his characters out into, it’s not so large of a crime.

My main gripe for the characters is that, for that of Kitty Winter, the author, ninety-nine percent of the time, refers to her as ‘Kitty Winter’ whereas every other character is a single name (be it surname, surname with title or forename for the most part). Occasionally he does refer to her as ‘Miss Winter’ so he proves he can refer to her in a way that isn’t repetitively annoying. I just wish he’d have done it more often. Seeing the name ‘Kitty Winter’ used the way it was used just felt unnatural for conversation. If I had a penny for every time he used it …

Back to the book. 

I enjoyed where this piece led and how Klaver set things up for Holmes and Watson to tackle further unexplained phenomena down the line. The hard work of acclimatising to the changes of world/characters etc … has been done, so I expect to be able to dive into the second offering of the Classified Dossiers, whenever that may be, with a bit more ease than this one. Klaver has put certain things into place to give Holmes and Watson a good footing where tackling any other creepy characters are concerned, and I look forward to seeing those encounters play out.

4 thoughts on “Sherlock Holmes & Count Dracula by Christian Klaver – A Book Review

  1. This sounds up my ally. Good review man. One cool thing with OG sherlock is that there was a short story from Doyle wher Stoker and Holmes met up. Which makes me appreciate the fact that there are so many supernatural Sherlock holmes books out there

    Liked by 1 person

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