Monday, January 21, 2019

Book Review - For the Sake of the Game: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon, by Laurie R. King

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Los Angeles was the sort of town that, if you aren’t watching television, you might not even know it was Christmas. What’s Christmas to a movie star who has a three-picture deal and graces every red carpet at the Kodak Theater? What’s Christmas to a homeless guy who just wants his next meal? What’s Christmas to a surfer other than a bullshit story about a red and white fat man whose entire gig was to be a mythical creature who gives children toys they don’t need? No, Christmas might be important to some, but to the denizens of Los Angeles, especially those of us working the docks down in L.A. Harbor, Christmas meant only two things: you weren’t with your family and you were getting time and a half.

I’ve never sought out any of the Sherlock Holmes stories to read, so I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed these stories as much as I did. From a graphic story, to a song, and several mysteries based on logic and deduction, the stories were entertaining and fun to read.

Official synopsis:
Book Review - For the Sake of the Game: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon, by Laurie R. King
For the Sake of the Game is the latest volume in the award-winning series from New York Times bestselling editors Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger, with stories of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and friends in a variety of eras and forms. King and Klinger have a simple formula: ask some of the world’s greatest writers—regardless of genre—to be inspired by the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle.

The results are surprising and joyous. Some tales are pastiches, featuring the recognizable figures of Holmes and Watson; others step away in time or place to describe characters and stories influenced by the Holmes world. Some of the authors spin whimsical tales of fancy; others tell hard-core thrillers or puzzling mysteries. One beloved author writes a song; two others craft a melancholy graphic tale of insectoid analysis.

This is not a volume for readers who crave a steady diet of stories about Holmes and Watson on Baker Street. Rather, it is for the generations of readers who were themselves inspired by the classic tales, and who are prepared to let their imaginations roam freely.

Featuring Stories by: Peter S. Beagle, Rhys Bowen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Jamie Freveletti, Alan Gordon, Gregg Hurwitz, Toni L. P. Kelner, William Kotzwinkle and Joe Servello, Harley Jane Kozak, D. P. Lyle, Weston Ochse, Zoe Sharp, Duane Swierczynski, and F. Paul Wilson.


I enjoyed For the Sake of the Game way more than I expected to. Short stories are not generally my jam, and I’d never purposely read any Sherlock Holmes stories before. I may have to reconsider my opinion on short stories—I’ve enjoyed the last couple collections I’ve read.

One of my favorites in this collection was The Girl in the Key of C, which the opening excerpt in this review is from. It is by Weston Ochse, the author of more than 20 books, mostly science-fiction and horror novels. With just a few characters, the story is unexpected and thought-provoking.

I also especially liked The Adventure of the Six Sherlocks by Toni L.P. Kelner (a murder mystery at a Baker Street fan convention) and Tough Guy Ballet by Duane Swierczynski (a decidedly sci-fi mystery and police drama).

Overall, I would give For the Sake of the Game 4 out of 5 stars. Since it was written with inspiration from the Sherlock Holmes canon, I’m sure those who enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories would like it, as well as those like me with minimal Sherlock Homes exposure. The stories were fun, engaging, and varied, with just their inspiration tying them together.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is an avid reader, school employee, and blogger at SweetlyBSquared.com.

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