Nice news during bad coronatimes

How often do we get good news of any kind these days? It seems that our news is never anything other than negative – political and global nightmares, hostility and division, violent riots, corruption, the death of innocent people due to coronavirus. Most of us know people who have died from coronavirus, and most of us know people who have become horribly ill yet survived. Some of us have been hit hard by the virus, yet we’re hanging in there…somehow.

Writers work alone. For decades. We do this work because we  want to communicate how we feel about the human condition. We do it because we love language, the flow and rhythm of prose. We do it because it’s fun to come up with new ideas and occupy the heads of our characters. Most important, we do it to entertain people. We hope our work provides some relief from daily stress, problems, anxieties, and general malaise.

Today, something lovely popped up, and it lifted my spirits, so I want to share it. This is a wonderful review of my Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu trilogy.

Huge thanks to The British Fantasy Society and to Matthew Johns. It is for people like you that I have spent my life at the keyboard. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone on the journey.

By Lois H. Gresh

Titan Books, pb, £7.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns on March 1, 2020

The third and final of Gresh’s saga of Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu sees Holmes and Watson travelling to America to do battle with Cthulhu, save the planet and close the Deadly Dimensions once and for all.

Arriving in Innsmouth, the detective duo (accompanied by Watson’s wife Mary, his infant son Samuel and Samuel’s nursemaid, Fortuna) find themselves in a place that seems very alien. The population of Innsmouth is grossly mutated, and the very air seems thick with evil. Staying in a mansion owned by a crotchety old Innsmouthian, his younger wife, her very devoted doctor and two children that are never seen or heard, strange things start to happen. Professor Moriarty also turns up in Innsmouth with a view to killing some of the village elders so he can take control, but like Holmes initially underestimates the power and overall strangeness of his surroundings. As Great Cthulhu and Dagon emerge, the town turns into a Dante-esque vision of Hell with ice raining from the skies and gigantic waves destroying part of the town and killing many of the faithful townsfolk; Holmes and Watson seem lost and powerless.

Holmes’ devotion to logic and science is well-documented, and as the world around them seems to descend into madness, will Holmes succumb and end up victim to the nefarious plotting of Moriarty or the Cthulhu-worshipping Dagonites?

Gresh’s writing is a delight to behold – she manages to merge two very popular genres together, remaining faithful to both and without it seeming ungainly. Holmes’ battle with not just Cthulhu, but also to remain sane is depicted superbly. Watson soldiers along stoically as ever, questioning his own sanity, strength and fortitude, but loyally remaining by the side of his friend throughout. Packed with action, adventure and weirdness, this is a fitting finale to Gresh’s triumphant trilogy.


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