It is the autumn of 1880, and Dr John Watson has just returned from Afghanistan. Badly injured and desperate to forget a nightmarish expedition that left him doubting his sanity, Watson is close to destitution when he meets the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes, who is investigating a series of deaths in the Shadwell district of London. Several bodies have been found, the victims appearing to have starved to death over the course of several weeks, and yet they were reported alive and well mere days before. Moreover, there are disturbing reports of creeping shadows that inspire dread in any who stray too close. Holmes deduces a connection between the deaths and a sinister drug lord who is seeking to expand his criminal empire. Yet both he and Watson are soon forced to accept that there are forces at work far more powerful than they could ever have imagined. Forces that can be summoned, if one is brave – or mad – enough to dare…
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Disclaimer, I am a Sherlock Holmes and a H.P. Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos fan. That being said, James Lovegrove had big expectations to meet. We are talking BIG expectations. I wanted to feel like I was in a Sherlock Homes adventure with the creep of the Cthulhu Mythos hovering in the background waiting to spring a hell of a trap. Now, that may not sound like much, but it is. You want the Victorian setting, the gloom of foggy London, the horse drawn carriage, gaslight, back alleys full of danger, BUT you also want the creeping terror coming up your throat and grabbing you and holding you paralyzed as you witness the horror that the Cthulhu Mythos has to offer. Get it now? James Lovegrove met all of my expectations and then some. He handles Holmes and Watson as if he was born to write them, and proved his excellence by tossing in Cthulhu. I have to say, when he described the statue of Cthulhu at the entrance to the underground city, I got chills. It caught me by the throat, hooked its claws in and dragged me down to the dark part of my soul. I know, heavy words, but worthy words because that is exactly what he did! This book moves fast, and holds your attention. The lights will go out around you as you read it and Heaven help you if someone taps you on the shoulder while reading it (you will need to bring a change of shorts for that!). This book will not let you go. Oh no. Make no mistake, this is a highly addictive read. If you wake up at two in the morning to use the bathroom, and it is sitting on your nightstand, it will call out to you (like it did me last night and I finished the last two hundred pages because it would not let me stop). This book is a must read!