Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Arrowood by Mick Finlay - review

Publisher: HQ

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

1895: London’s scared. A killer haunts the city’s streets. The poor are hungry; crime bosses are taking control; the police force stretched to breaking point. While the rich turn to Sherlock Holmes, the celebrated private detective rarely visits the densely populated streets of South London, where the crimes are sleazier and the people are poorer.

In a dark corner of Southwark, victims turn to a man who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime: Arrowood self-taught psychologist, occasional drunkard and private investigator.

When a man mysteriously disappears and Arrowood’s best lead is viciously stabbed before his eyes, he and his sidekick Barnett face their toughest quest yet: to capture the head of the most notorious gang in London. (Publishers' blurb)

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an open and honest review.

When I read about this book on Twitter, I had to have it. It was such a creative idea to explore a less famous contemporary of Sherlock Holmes and the book has received great reviews. This is an adult book, instead of my usual YA, but I'm really glad I read it.

The world building was stunning, evoking the time period and London setting in detail but without weighing down the narrative. There was a real sense of unease with the recent, unsolved Jack the Ripper murders still playing on people's minds.

I also really liked Arrowood and Barnett, his sidekick and the novel's narrator. Their characters and relationship between them provided light relief but also touched on some emotional subjects.

The case was well-plotted and built to an exciting conclusion. I possibly missed some of the Sherlock Holmes references that other reviewers have mentioned but I still really enjoyed unpicking the mystery.

This was a promising start to a series and one that I'll definitely continue reading.

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