Book Reviews: Sherlock, Unabomber, and Nazis

Did that ad say “shed pounds while you walk” or “she pounds while you walk?” Cuz I wanna know what she’s pounding. . .

The Misadventure of Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock and Watson battle Moriarty, with Sherlock marrying Irene Adler though not knowing whose side she’s on. And John has a girlfriend not named Mary.
First, the characterizations. This sounds like Watson, though he’s a bit more snarky than usual. The problem is this rarely sounds like Sherlock, and definitely doesn’t act like him. Even if he was playing Irene, and there’s no evidence of that at the end, it’s too weird. The wedding reception feels like it’s right out of the series, but other than that I didn’t like this story or the writing very much; I caught myself reading without really reading, just because at some points it got quite boring. The best part was the fun use of the audio wax cylinder, what had to be modern tech for the time.
Ugh, ends in a cliffhanger. . .

Every Last Tie
Supposedly the story of how the Unabomber’s brother turned him in, but despite it being a thin book there wasn’t that much of that. Most is family background, how Ted became alienated from the family as his (probable) mental illness took hold, and so on.
Some moments were of particular interest to me. Ted Kaczynski went to Harvard on a scholarship at sixteen; that’s as obvious a warning sign as you’re gonna get. I also found it funny that the play Antigone is mentioned, since I’d never heard of it until a few months ago, when I saw it.
But the most telling note is: “So strong was his opposition (to pleading insanity) that he preferred the death penalty over allowing his defense attorneys to present mental health evidence.”
The last quarter or so of this already small book is afterward, which I looked forward to but found just as disappointing, if not more. It goes through mental illness and jails, as well as mass shootings. While necessary in general, it has nothing to do with the topic. It’s so rambling most people would likely give up before it gets to the reason for it.

Toxic Love
A choose-your-own-adventure erotica with an intriguing premise: in a world devastated by war, the lead character—who wants to be an famous actress, of course—is found to be immune to the gas that killed off so many people. This will make her very rich, if she’s okay with becoming a baby factory to make more immune humans. She falls in love with one of the immune guys just at the time he’s tired of having to sleep around.
There’s some great ideas here, especially the main one, but the writing, despite the humor, did not resonate with me. The execution should have been better; some of the interactions were just silly. The dinner with Joaquin was the most fun chapter; if only the whole thing could have been that good. It was simply all over the place; tighter would have been better. I’ve read a few of these choose-your-own-path books and the shorter ones, usually less than 100 pages, have been better than longer entries like this one, which clocks in at 187 pages.

The Bleiberg Project
Jay’s long-lost father dies, then his mother’s killed. Now they want to kill him, and his long-time boss—who isn’t what he seems—helps him escape by giving him a cute bodyguard and sending him to Switzerland to dig up stuff on why everyone’s getting killed.
“When I sprinkle two pills into my palm, I feel better already. I toss them back and swallow them dry—water’s for pussies.” This tells me all I need to know about the main character. It’s not that he’s a badass, which he thinks he is but is far from; it’s the arrogance. His snarky humor at times goes jackass, but since he receives just as much as he dishes out I’m okay with it.
Like most plots dealing with Nazis, eugenics is involved. There’s a good Superman and a bad Supergirl, though I found his identity easy to figure out. There’s also a side plot that is timely nowadays: a drug company causing a pandemic because they have the antidote, and who cares if a lot of people die.
About halfway through it occurred to me how strange the opener was. The book starts in the past and occasionally goes back, but in the prologue there’s a character that’s completely fleshed out, enough so that it’s easy to assume he’ll be the protagonist. . . and then he gets killed. And the story’s not in solving his murder or anything of that sort; he’s simply done and we move on. Very strange.
This was originally written in French. Parts are in first person, then switch to other points of view; it got confusing a couple of times, especially when it switches within chapters, but oddly enough not that bad on the whole.
This book was far from perfect, but I enjoyed parts of it. There’s something about stories that involve a reluctant hero who has to grow up and find what he’s capable of.



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