It was one of those weekends where I devoured a book in a day. And what a book I picked, for it was only my freshly-signed copy of Moriarty. Herein a spoiler-free review.
Shortly after Holmes and Moriarty meet their end at the Reichenbach Falls, Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrrives on the scene and forms an alliance with Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard to track down a new criminal mastermind. And so the game is afoot once again.
One of the things I greatly admire about Horowitz is his first lines. Stormbreaker begins with ‘When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.’ Raven’s Gate has ‘Matt Freeman knew he was making a mistake.’ Moriarty keeps in the fine tradition with ‘Does really anyone believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls?’ It nicely sets up the unease and uncertainty which pervades the novel.
Chase and Jones seem to naturally fit together like Holmes and Watson Mark II. I especially love Jones having an office plastered in Holmes memorabilia as an impetus to better his detective skills; frankly, a much better ‘fandom’ reference than that appalling Moffat-penned Sherlock episode with the fans on Tumblr. (I do like the first two series, but then it all goes a bit full-Moffat and it put us off.)
It’s a bit more gruesome than House of Silk, but then again I love the Power of Five series so I’m completely fine with gore. There’s some really wonderful imagery; Victorian London is a dark cacophonous place. all whirling smoke and clattering carriages. The pacing didn’t seem to drag anywhere that I could see either, and there’s the requisite amount of thrilling action scenes which, I daresay, would make it ideal for a TV adaptation. Hint, hint.
My favourite character has to be Perry, the fourteen-year-old criminal. I haven’t encountered such a malicious, darkly sadistic character in a long time. (My seventeen-year-old criminal would flinch at the things Perry gets up to…) Devereux, the secretive villain of the piece, is allegedly based on a celebrity. About halfway through, when I found out where he was hiding, I genuinely uttered an ‘oh, well played!’ because if there was anyone crying out to be gently satirised, it was him. I’ll ask Mr. Horowitz on Twitter if my guess was right!
And then there’s That Sentence. I had been pre-warned at the signing that there was a sentence that would make you stop and gape in surprise. And gape I did. You’ll see a lot of scenes in a different light once you read That Sentence, but to explain it would be spoilery.
In short, I thought Moriarty was brilliant, and I’m kind of excited for next year’s Bond novel now. (And in the unlikely event that the man himself reads this, I’d love another young adult novel in the style of The Power of Five. Pretty please.)