Friday, 8 September 2017

Arrowood - Mick Finlay

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

The Afghan War is over and a deal with the Irish appears to have brought an end to sectarian violence, but Britain's position in the world is uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is widening. London is a place where the wealthy party while the underclass are tempted into lives of crime, drugs, and prostitution. A serial killer stalks the streets. Politicians are embroiled in financial and sexual scandals. The year is 1895.

The police don't have the resources to deal with everything that goes on in the capital. The rich turn to a celebrated private detective when they need help: Sherlock Holmes. But in densely populated south London, where the crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits, people turn to Arrowood, a private investigator who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood understands people, not clues.

As the cover blurb says, if Society has a problem they go to Sherlock Holmes but where does everybody else go? To Arrowood, William Arrowood to be exact, and his trusty sidekick Barnett. I'm not sure where I first heard about Arrowood but I'm sure it was along the lines of the television rights having being sold, or something like that. I picked it up from the library thinking an anti-Sherlock story would be the sort of read I'd love.

Arrowood and Barnett solve cases, the sort of cases that Holmes would turn his nose up at. This latest case though is one they're wishing they'd never taken, A French woman is claiming her brother has disappeared but the only lead she has involves a place and a man the duo wish to encounter again. They apply themselves to the case though and are soon up to their necks in trouble. Death seems to be following them and a young lady who might have helped is brutally murdered, the young boy they use as a runner is kidnapped and Barnett is hiding a huge secret from everyone.

The case is resolved, thanks mainly to Barnett who appears to be the mainstay of the two, out and about on the street whilst Arrowood stays very much behind the scenes, distracted by the arrival of his interfering sister and the location of his errant wife. There's nothing pretty about Arrowood, it's bloody and brutal, and there are no punches spared. No-one is safe, man, woman, or child, and the dead bodies pile up rapidly. Anyone lucky enough to be alive doesn't necessarily mean unharmed and the police involved aren't all on the right side.

I actually struggled with Arrowood. I picked it up on several occasions, getting a bit further each time and at one point was considering it as a DNF but then something clicked and I realized I wanted to know what happened to them all so I stuck with it. I'm actually intrigued to see if the television rights thing was real, or just something I made up! It would make a fantastic series, and the characters would be more suited to the screen than the page, in my opinion. Having said that I would probably pick up another book featuring Barnett & Arrowood if I happened to see it in the library.

Arrowood - Mick Finlay
ISBN - 9780008203184
Publisher - HQ 
Release date - March 23rd, 2017

1 comment:

  1. This series sounds like it could be a lot of fun, I think I'll have to give it a shot. I really like the entire premise of them being the Sherlock and Holmes for the rest of the world. Great review!


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