Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell

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Over the past year author Paul Kane has become one of my favorite writers. I was first introduced to his work with the wonderful short story collection Monsters. A book that took me back in time when I was a child and my love affair for the fantastic was beginning to take shape. Then I read his twisted take on the Little Red Riding Hood story Blood Red which was an interesting (and deliciously gory) take on the werewolf mythology. And finally he gave me a nasty and unrelenting take on the Snow White fable simply titled Snow. Which brings me to Paul Kane’s upcoming new book Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell which pits the smartest detective in the world against the Cenobites from the Hellraiser universe.

My hopes for the book are very high because Paul has lived and breathed this universe for many years. I trust him as much as Clive Barker and Peter Atkins when comes to writing Hellraiser stories. I know he won’t break the rules or add anything to the mythology that will tarnish its image. The movies have done enough of that.

From the first moment I read about the idea of this story I became really excited. I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes and Watson ever since I saw the film adaptation of Hounds of the Baskervilles starring actor Peter Cushing as Holmes. After that I sought out the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and I instantly became immersed in the universe that he had created.

The stories always bordered on the fantastic, but with Holmes keen eye for observation, forensic science, and logical reasoning they’d always end with a resolution that made sense no matter how far fetched the outcome would seem. My personal favorite is The Sign of the Four because it showed a darker side to the Holmes character that I found interesting.

And who doesn’t love Dr. Watson? For me Watson has always been one of the greatest sidekicks of the literally world. He’s a true friend that Holmes needs in his destructive life to keep him sane. Most of the stories are narrated from Watson’s point of view and I hope Paul follows the same approach with The Servants of Hell.

The story that Paul Kane has come up with sounds very intriguing:

Late 1895, and Sherlock Holmes and his faithful companion Dr. John Watson are called upon to investigate a missing persons case. On the face of it, this seems like a mystery that Holmes might relish – as the person in question vanished from a locked room – and something to occupy him other than testing the limits of his mind and body.

But this is just the start of an investigation that will draw the pair into contact with a shadowy organization talked about in whispers and known only as ‘The Order of the Gash’. As more and more people go missing in a similar fashion, the clues point to a sinister asylum in France and to the underworld of London. However, it is an altogether different underworld that Holmes will soon discover – as he finds himself face to face not only with those followers who do the Order’s bidding on Earth, but those who serve it in Hell: the Cenobites…

The story synopsis raises a lot of curious questions, but the most interesting one for me is whether the Hell Priest himself will even make an appearance at all? None of the press material so far has mentioned him. This particular story takes place at the end of the eighteenth-century and Pinhead wasn’t created until WWI. So my guess is that I don’t think we’ll being seeing him. Which is fine because I’ve been burned out on the character for awhile now and not all Hellraiser stories have to include Pinhead in them.

Which begs the question if Pinhead isn’t in this what kind of new Cenobites will Paul create for us? This is an aspect that I’m really looking forward to because I love cenobites! Especially new ones. I’m positive that Paul will create some new creations that are worthy of ‘The Order of the Gash’.

I wouldn’t mind seeing some familiar faces from the earlier stories though. Having a cameo by the Chatterer or the Female Cenobite would be a cool nod to the fans. I’m hoping he also puts Angelique into the story somewhere too. The story is set in France after all so having her show up wouldn’t be far fetched. And let’s hope he has the Labyrinth make an appearance as well.

I’m curious to see what characters he pulls from the Holmes universe and puts into this? Will Dr. Moriarty make an appearance? I think the “Napoleon of Crime” should be included here in some capacity. This type of story fits his character profile. Maybe he will become one of the new cenobites. And Irene Adler (the Woman) must be a given considering her known occupation as a dominatrix.

So many questions that will have to wait to be answered until the book is released this July 12, 2016. A date that I’m anxiously counting down the days to. This could be the deadliest case that Holmes and Watson have ever dealt with. Hopefully they won’t loose their minds or their skins in the process. Because whatever happens I know Paul Kane is going to deliver a one of a kind book.

Here’s a link to the official Amazon page to pre-order your copy today:

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  1. George

    I just got finished reading this ridiculous book on Google Books, which hosts a very long preview (virtually the entire novel.) And what a piece of garbage it is. Be warned: “Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell” is really just “The Scarlet Gospels” (which I didn’t care for at all) with Holmes and Watson thrown in.

    (Spoilers ahead!)

    There is a huge (and ridiculous) battle in Hell toward the end, and several silly scenes with the Cenobites throughout (I guess Cenobites don’t translate very well to the written page.) Paul Kane’s “Hell” is really just Barker’s Hell from the second Hellraiser movie, with a lot of Scarlet Gospel-type action throughout, and the combination is just awful, non-suspenseful, and cringeworthy. Professor Moriarty is a Cenobite in this “Hell,” as are most of the villains Holmes has defeated over the years, and if that sounds too cheesy for words, you’re not alone in this belief – the scene where they torture Holmes is particularly trite and stupid.

    Everything is clearly shown in Kane’s Hell, into which Holmes and Watson eventually find their way, running up and down stone corridors and seeing silly monsters and pointless gratuitous gore. Zero suspense. No originality. Sherlock Holmes eventually becomes a Cenobite himself, the most powerful ever, after bargaining for power with the god Leviathan (I think), in order to lead an army against Moriarty’s minions in a battle so goofy it defies description. What a stupid book.

    I recall reading where Watson is learning battle tactics in a giant Afterlife Library, aided by the spirit of his dead wife Mary (who conveniently floats next to him in a rippling white dress) and I remember thinking, “Is this serious? Can this book really be this bad?” That was only the very beginning, my friends. Just the very tip of the iceberg.

    I can’t take either Holmes or Watson seriously as characters ever again after this, knowing that they have been published in this tripe, endorsed both by Clive Barker and Holmes “expert,” Paul Kane. Ugh. Even the Cenobites come off as absurd, non-frightening, and laughable in this book. I wish I could ask for my money back, but all I really wasted was my time.

    Silliness from about the middle to the very end. COMPLETELY useless.

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