A new kind of Sherlock

A review of Paul Kane’s Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell which takes place in Clive Barker’s world of Hellraiser

Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
Over the last decade, books and films have changed pop culture by using the idea of a connected universe to explore various types of stories. However, while many of these stories are converted into films, such as the success of the Marvel films, there are some stories too strange to bring to the big screen.
A story so odd and unique that it warranted my attention upon its discovery. Paul Kane’s book, “Sherlock Holmes and The Servants of Hell” takes the world famous detective into perhaps his most horrific adventure to date. This story puts Sherlock Holmes on a collision course with one of the horror genre most terrifying villains, The Cenobites from Clive Barker’s “The Hellbound Heart,” better known as “Hellraiser” for those who have seen the film adaptation.
The story takes place in late 1895; Sherlock Holmes is experiencing a crisis of purpose. With the loss of Moriarty, Holmes hasn’t felt the same without his nemesis. However, upon receiving a case about a man’s disappearance, Holmes interest is peaked when he learns that the man disappeared from a locked room with only a puzzle box left behind. Little would Holmes know that it would lead him and Watson on the most dangerous journey of their lives.
The story stays faithful to universe and character created by both of the original authors while also exploring them from different perspectives, such as questions some of the previous supernatural elements of Holmes’ mysteries.
Part of what allowed me to enjoy the story was the use of imagery to describe events as they’re occurring. A great example of the imagery was when Watson watched as a corpse was being brought to life, “Arms shooting up out of the crimson on either side of Lemarchand… There was no skin on those arms, and they glistened with moistness and slime”.
One area where the book fell short however, is the pacing of its third act. I felt that the third section of the book felt rushed and tried to cram in plot points that could have been more fleshed out.
While an overall enjoyable story, it should be noted that due to the nature of the characters and elements used some readers may feel uncomfortable. The book features some graphic depictions of monsters as well as an interpretation of Hell that as previously stated may bother some potential readers.
Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell can be ordered through the library, or bought at Hearthside Books.

Leave a Reply