Sherlock knows that Amyus Crow, his mysterious American tutor, has some dark secrets. But he didn't expect to find a notorious killer, hanged by the US government, apparently alive and well in Surrey - and Crow somehow mixed up in it. When no one will tell you the truth, sometimes you have to risk all to discover it for yourself. And so begins an adventure that will take Sherlock across the ocean to America, to the centre of a deadly web - where life and death are cheap, and truth has a price no sane person would pay . . .
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Young Sherlock Holmes series. I loved it!
Sherlock Holmes is fourteen years old and is beginning to develop his detective skills with the help of Amyus Crow, his mysterious American tutor. I really like this young man. He thinks quickly on his feet, even though he puts himself into situations when his curiosity gets the better of him. When his brother Mycroft visits the house, Sherlock finds himself embroiled in another adventure when he eavesdrops on a conversation.
I bought this book in 2012 in paperback format. Since then, there has been a new cover, though I am not sure if it has been re-edited or changed in any way. Therefore, I can only review what I have read. Unfortunately, due to my rather large reading list, I haven't had a chance to read it until now. I started to read it and didn't put it down until I had finished it several hours later. I found myself completely hooked.
This story takes the reader on a journey from England, across the Atlantic on a steam ship, to America on the trail of a wanted man. The story is full of action and danger, with kidnappings, fights and a scary villain.
I was, however, slightly disappointed about the red leech that gave the book it's name. It didn't
really have much to do with the story except to give a bit of mystery as to why someone would go to such lengths as to collect it from Borneo. I must admit that Balthassar seems to be a scary villain. However, I found his character development a little lacking. Then again, he is also a megalomaniac and a little crazy, so I guess that's all we needed to know about him. I was also slightly puzzled as to why his cougars reacted the way they did to the red leech when they were from completely different environments. They didn't react the same way with ordinary leeches, so why the red one? This wasn't explored. Granted, this book is aimed for young readers and not adults like me, so this may be me just being pedantic. I did enjoy the plot and the story, so I am now looking forward to reading the third book, Black Ice, as soon as I can.
Andrew Lane has created a fantastic adventure for Sherlock to sink his teeth into. I love his fast paced, descriptive writing style and the flow was wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more books written by him in the future.
The reading age for this book is 11+, but I would definitely recommend this book for everyone who loves reading YA mysteries. - Lynn Worton
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About The Author:
Andrew Lane is the author of the Young Sherlock Holmes series of young adult novels, starting with Death Cloud. He has also written numerous spin-off novels based on the BBC sci-fi television series Doctor Who, as well as definitive guides to Babylon 5 and the Wallace and Gromit films, and is the author of The Bond Files: An Unofficial Guide to the World's Greatest Secret Agent. He lives in Dorset, England.