Title: Over My Dead Body
Author: Dave Warner
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Published: October 2020
Dave Warner’s latest thriller is an ambitious mixture of past and present; combing well-known characters of Victorian notoriety with the seedy underbelly of modern-day New York City.
Georgette Watson is a young scientist with big ambitions; she wants to cryogenically freeze subjects and bring them back to life, hopefully winning a Nobel Prize in the process. When not in the lab she is assisting law enforcement with homicide cases. Oh, and she has managed to reanimate none other than Sherlock Holmes.
I’m not sure if this book can be considered a retelling, but rather a rejig of the Sherlock Holmes story we know so well. Holmes is brought back to life by Georgette and instantly launches himself into the serial killer case she is assisting on. Together, they work to solve a series of horrific murders inspired by crimes from Holmes’ era.
It is a daunting task to take one of the most infamous crime-fighters of modern literature and insert them into your story. Warner has captured the inner monologue of Holmes perfectly, portraying his assimilation into modern society with wit and at times humour.
The story is broken up using small vignettes of action from the point of view of the murderer, which I loved. They added a sense of tension in between Georgette’s storyline, however they left me wanting more. There was something Dan Brown-esque about the modus operandi of the killer and it had me hooked. I could have easily read an entire book about this enigmatic Noah character. This section of plot was creative and original; something I don’t think I have read before which is unusual for a thriller!
One of the main downfalls of the book was that I struggled to fully connect with Georgette as a character. She failed to captivate me and at times felt a little flat in her characterisation. I was far more interested in the murders and their historical origins, as well as Holmes’ endeavours to solve the case. There is obviously no Holmes without his Watson, so the character did serve a purpose; however, I would have liked a more emotional connection to Georgette.
Warner captured the grungy atmosphere of New York perfectly and the tone of the book, especially in the vignettes, made for a gripping reading experience. If you are a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes books, and enjoy thrillers with a historical flair, definitely pick up Over My Dead Body.