Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sherlock Holmes Crosses Over Into...Hell?

Sherlock Holmes has faced all manner of challenges in his long career, but it’s safe to say he’s never encountered enemies quite like the ones he meets in Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. In this frightening tale, the consulting detective encounters the Cenobites, originally introduced in author Clive Barker’s novella The Hellbound Heart, and later featured in the Hellraiser film series. The story takes place after Holmes’ defeat of his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. The great detective has grown bored and needs a new challenge. Watson is concerned for his friend, as the detective's keen mind and laser focused intellect seem to be going astray. Holmes needs a new challenge. When our heroes are engaged to investigate a man’s mysterious disappearance, it leads them to a sinister organization known as the Order of the Gash. The trail also leads to a mysterious puzzle box with supernatural properties, which may open a portal to other dimensions, and perhaps the gates of Hell itself.

The Holmes of this story is as obsessed with solving a mystery as he’s always been, and his quest leads him down a more twisted road than he’s ever taken. But will Holmes triumph over the dark forces he’s facing, or be overcome by them? The first half of the novel (like many of the duo’s adventures) is narrated by Watson, but the good doctor and the great detective himself alternately tell the second half of the adventure, when their journey takes them to the very depths of Hell, where they meet a legion of eerie beings who could consume their very souls. Once the true face of the leader of these demonic forces is revealed, it turns out to be someone well known to our heroes. That familiar face is now in command of these evil creatures, and plans to use them to conquer and control multiple worlds.

At first glance, combining Arthur Conan Doyle’s intrepid Holmes and Watson and the shadowy denizens of Clive Barker’s fiendish Cenobite universe might seem like an odd pairing, but author Paul Kane melds the two worlds brilliantly. He creates an atmospheric and shudder inducing tale that manages to stay true to the hallmarks of both fictional universes. The novel is peppered with easter eggs and subtle nods to both franchises. Kane is a leading expert on the horrifying world of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and is a bona fide Holmes fan to boot. While some traditional Holmes fans may find Sherlock Homes and the Servants of Hell strays a bit too much into the horrific for their tastes, those who enjoy a ripping good yarn will be very glad they went along on this terrifying adventure with Holmes and Watson. The book was originally published in 2016, and is available online and at local retailers such as Barnes & Noble.


  1. Intriguing. I am up for all Holmes homages, etc. Thanks for putting this on my radar.

    1. I'm glad to have brought it to your attention. I really enjoy Holmes pastiches that try something different, and this one is a bit darker than usual, but worth seeking out if you're game to explore it.