Sunday, July 01, 2007

Author Will Thomas

Allow me to introduce Will Thomas, the author of four Sherlock Holmes-type mystery/detective novels. On July 10 his fourth book, The Hellfire Conspiracy will be released.

The new novel features the same two recurring characters he’s had in the previous three. Cyrus Barker, the lead detective, almost out-Sherlocks the Great Detective himself. Everything Holmes knew, Barker seems to know more about. Not only that, Barker is a much more physical protagonist than Holmes. Barker is a swordsman, a marksman, linguist, scientist, and…well, the list goes on. He also has an affinity for the Eastern cultures.

His sidekick, and teller of the tales, is Thomas Llewelyn. Where Holmes had Doctor John Watson, a trained physician, Barker has Thomas, who was convicted at one point of being a thief. Watson was a man of the world, but Thomas is still a bright-eyed innocent in a lot of ways. In the early novels, Thomas is not quite enamored of Barker’s “amazing” intellect. They get on more like Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, which is not bad company to keep.

I’ve read the previous books and enjoyed them all without reservation. Aside from interesting characters and true mysteries, Thomas (the author) also delivers an engaging picture of Victorian London.

The Hellfire Conspiracy involves white slavery, a serial killer who calls himself Mr. Miacca, and upper class depredations practiced by the Hellfire Club. The people that belong to that secret society don’t want their dirty laundry aired. In addition to sexual largess, some of them also perform Satanic rituals. None of them want any of those secrets let out into the public.

While searching for a missing girl, Barker runs afoul of these powerful people, the serial killer, and Scotland Yard. The inspectors on the police force that once – reluctantly – turned to Barker for help are now arrayed against him in their attempt to protect the bluebloods.

Unfortunately for all concerned, Barker isn’t a man who can be scared off. Once he’s got his teeth set into a mystery, he won’t let go. Especially if Scotland Yard – whom he has a grudging relationship with – is helping cover it up.

I’m really looking forward to the new book. But I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if Sherlock Holmes’s world and that of Cyrus Barker touched if it ever so briefly. I don’t think either of the detectives would acknowledge the other existed, but the stories Watson and Thomas Llewelyn could tell each other would be fantastic.

Will Thomas is a native of Oklahoma, so I’m predisposed to him because we’re practically neighbors. But if he didn’t have the chops, I couldn’t recommend him. He does. Try him if you like mysteries or Sherlock Holmes. I think you’ll find he’s a good fit.

1 comment:

RBoyd said...

My wife had just finished "Some Danger Involved". She said she thought I would like it so I began reading. I was hooked like a catfish. Great read, one feels like he is living in 19th Century England, and awaiting the turn of every page. How really neat to have an author of this calibre in our very own library.