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Fresh Fiction Review of “Sherlock Holmes and the Return of the Whitechapel Vampire…

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Fresh Fiction just reviewed Sherlock Holmes and the Return of the Whitechapel Vampire by Dean P. Turnbloom

SH&RTNofWV Front cover

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted October 15, 2015

Mystery Historical

Sherlock Holmes is now a country squire who has retired to Sussex to tend to his bees and write monographs. He hadn’t written to his friend Dr. Watson in a few months, so when the post brings news from Holmes, Watson is pleasantly surprised. But Holmes has more than a few banalities to tell his old comrade: bodies have been surfacing near the coast of Newfoundland, drained of blood, but there’s no trace of a shipwreck. Holmes fears their old nemesis, Baron Barlucci, after laying low for over two decades, is up to no good again. Barlucci is a painful thorn in Holmes’ side. The Baron is the only villain the great detective hasn’t captured, and of course, Dr. Watson must sail with Holmes to Manhattan Island, where more bodies have been found.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RETURN OF THE WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE is not the pastiche I thought it might have been, but the almost real deal. Right from the opening paragraphs, I was overjoyed because I felt I was reading a brand new Conan Doyle mystery. Being a die-hard fan of the original, I then became wary: could a modern author be successful in this tremendous undertaking? The answer is a resounding yes! SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RETURN OF THE WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE is more than an homage to Conan Doyle: Mr. Turnbloom essentially captures everything that is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson but makes it his own, without the reader ever having the impression of the author “trying”; never does the author endeavour to copy, but he in fact prolongs the formidable legacy of Conan Doyle. Mr. Turnbloom’s writing is eloquent and vivid, he captures the early twentieth century as accurately as a photograph, the tone is impeccable, the dialogues and the banter are entirely evocative of Conan Doyle’s, and Holmes and Watson are exactly how they should be. The pacing is perfect, and the story is as gripping as any Sherlock Holmes book.

If I have one regret it’s not knowing that SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RETURN OF THE WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE was the third book in this series, and while obviously this instalment can be read as a standalone, the previous books figure now on my to-be-read-pile because it is simply brilliant. SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RETURN OF THE WHITECHAPEL VAMPIRE is absolutely splendid from beginning to end, and should be read by anyone who hasn’t had enough of Sir Arthur’s great detective, and everybody who likes a good mystery!

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My evolution in outlining…

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Because I am not the most methodical of creatures, I often struggle with organization when writing a novel. I’ve used outlines, pictographs, spreadsheets, and mind maps. None of these has been completely satisfactory to me. So, I thought I would offer up to anyone interested in writing, some of the ways I’ve combined the usage of a few of these methods.
First off, I like an outline. It helps me understand the order of things including where they are and where they should be. Here is an example of my first outline for “Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire”

WV Outline Ver 5 0 (2)

Obviously this is a Word document and as such has its limitations, particularly when the structure of the story changes to any degree. When I started to write “Sherlock Holmes and the Body Snatchers” I decided I needed something a bit more dynamic, and so I attempted to use a spreadsheet form of outline

SprdshtOutline

But this two was overly cumbersome when scenes or chapters needed to be rearranged. Then I discovered an inexpensive program that helps deal with these details. Again, I have to thank Jane Friedman for introducing me to it. It’s called Scribner, and here is a screen shot of it that shows some of the features.

Scribner

What I like best about it is that I can take entire scenes or chapters and move them around at will. Also, if you are using it to actually write your work, its intended use, you can capture references, web sites, pictures, other files, etc., and have instant access to them from within the program. This is a colossal time saver, especially in the beginning when you are doing a lot of research.
So, across three novels, I’ve gone from a Word outline document, to an excel file outline to a specialized software application, all because my mind is less organized than a bowl of soup. I’m not promoting any of these methods, but each does have its advantages and disadvantages. I expect in my next novel, I will adapt the way I use these today into something different for the next book. Someday, perhaps, I’ll hit upon the perfect solution. I wonder if I’ll share it with the world, or keep it to myself. Hmmmmm…

Story Structure video

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Here is a very informative video on story structure and plot points I found. Even though it concerns screenplays, the concepts are applicable to novels as well.

More can be found at http://www.scriptlab.com/

New Novel First Draft Complete…

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Since “Sherlock Holmes and the Body Snatchers” came out last March, I’ve been diligently working on the last installment of the Whitechapel Vampire Trilogy, as yet unnamed, and have at last completed a rough first draft.

A few editorial notes about the trilogy. The first book, “Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Vampire” was written entirely in third person point of view (POV) and I took my fair share of criticism for that as it was not in the Watson first person POV of most of the canon. That didn’t bother, though, as the original concept for the book wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes story, but was conceived as ‘what if Jack the Ripper were really a vampire’. Because of the time period involved, I worked Sherlock Holmes into the story, at first as an ancillary character. But I enjoyed writing the Holmes parts so much, I beefed up his role, which caused me to consider first person, but thought I’d wait.

The second book, ‘Body Snatchers’ was written in first person POV, but from varying characters. I thought it served the story and I was hesitant to attempt a full pastiche by having Watson’s POV be the only one in the book.

But now, in the third and final installment I’ve decided to go all out and write it as Doyle might have. The final book of the trilogy follows Watson throughout and will, I hope, give the reader more than a few surprises along the way. This final book takes place many years after the first two, which took place in 1888, first in London, and then New York. The action in the third takes place again in New York but in the year 1913, long after Holmes has retired to beekeeping in Sussex.

So, this trilogy has several arcs for the reader to follow. The story arc spans some twenty-five years, from 1888 to 1913, and each character in the story, I think, has his or her own arc of change. Finally, the writing itself has an arc from third person POV to multiple first person POV and finally to the first person POV used most often by Doyle, that of Watson. My hope is that aficionados of writing and of Sherlock Holmes will take note and enjoy the varied styles and mostly will enjoy the story from beginning to end.

Short story with MX Publishing…

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I forgot to post that I have submitted a Sherlock Holmes short story to MX Publishing that they say they will publish as an ebook. The story is titled “SHERLOCK HOLMES and the RAVEN’S CALL” and is a pastiche in the true sense. It is set shortly after Holmes has retired to raise bees in Sussex. It is after he purchases his new digs that he discovers the deceased previous owner may not have died accidentally as reported. I think it’s a very good tale and perhaps reminiscent of Poe in some respects. I’ll post as soon as I know it’s available. It should be a $2.99 ebook when it comes out.

Ravens call Adventure

Writing with mind-mapping…

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I’m starting the third book in my Whitechapel Vampire trilogy (as yet still unnamed) and am using a new technique to aid in putting it all together. The technique is called mind-mapping

and allows me to list in a graphical format relationships, characteristics, plot points, conflicts, etc.

You can find a good article here.

Pictures from Warwick signing…

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Here are the pictures from the terrific signing at the world famous Warwick’s Books…

My Sign…..Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

 

The Almighty Signing Table

 

A happy fan

Aspiring writers…

 

Applying pen to paper…

 

Happy Author!

 

 

Thanks to everyone who made this signing such a fantastic success!!!

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