Katie's Pick: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison
According to the Guinness World Records, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character is the most portrayed literacy human character in film and TV. There have been 254 portrayals of the consulting detective. My favorite version of Doyle’s characters would have to be BBC’s Sherlock TV series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. When I ran across The Angel of Crows by Katherine Addison, I was intrigued. Addison takes Doyle’s classic characters, and throws them into an alternate reality of Victorian London, where vampires, angels, hell hounds, werewolves, and demons are very real beings.
The Angel of Crows reads like an anthology of sorts, chronicling the adventures of Dr. Doyle, a combat physician and Crow, a consulting detective who is also an angel. The novel opens with Dr. Doyle returning to London after being injured by a Fallen, a corrupted angel, in a war in Afghanistan. With his savings shrinking, he laments to a colleague that he’s looking for a flat mate. His colleague introduces him to Crow, an eccentric angel happens to be a consulting detective, and also in need of a flat mate. Crow introduces himself as the Angel of London. However, in Addison’s world, this is unfathomable, as angels are tied to buildings and public spaces, not entire cities. Crow has impeccable observational skills, an intense love of solving mysteries, and an eccentric personality that makes him difficult to live with. Dr. Doyle is plagued by war trauma and his own secrets, making him a difficult person to live with as well. Together, they begin taking strange and unusual cases. The unlikely duo form a close friendship throughout the novel. Along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock stories, there is also a Jack the Ripper character murdering prostitutes, with Crow and Doyle on the case.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Angel of Crows by Katherine Addison. Addison follows Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries quite closely, but adds her own interpretations to the characters, making her book completely unique and compelling. I found her interpretation to be quite close to Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s BBC Sherlock series, so much so that it almost reads as fan fiction. If you’re familiar with Doyle’s mysteries, then this book may be a little predictable. However, with the addition of supernatural creatures, I still found myself wanting to know how Addison’s Crow and Doyle were going to work out their cases. If you’re a fan of supernatural mysteries, with lots of dry humor, this book is worth checking out.
Rating: ***** Stars (I loved it) Reviewer: Katie, Reference Librarian
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GENRE: Adaptations, Retellings, & Spin-Offs; Alternative Histories; Historical Fantasy
SUBJECT: Angels; Detectives; Jack the Ripper; Monsters; Physicians; Secrets; Serial Murders; Supernatural
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