Hello, all! Thank you for tuning into my stop on the Escapist Book Tours run of A Man Named Baskerville by Jim Nelson. Below, you’ll find information about the book and my review! I hope you enjoy.
A Man Named Baskerville by Jim Nelson
Genre: Crime / Historical Drama / Adventure
Intended Age Group: 14+
Published: March 18, 2022
Publisher: Self Published
Content/ Trigger Warnings:
- Animal abuse
- Animal violence
- Child abuse
- Sexual abuse
He took on Sherlock Holmes and lost. Now he wants revenge.
In 1888, Sherlock Holmes slayed the spectral hound haunting the Devonshire moor, laying to rest the curse of the Baskervilles once and for all. The perpetrator escaped into the night and was presumed drowned, consumed by the murky bog…
In truth, the criminal mastermind survived the night to nurse his wounds and plot his revenge against Sherlock Holmes.
A MAN NAMED BASKERVILLE recounts the life and times of Rodger Baskerville, exiled heir to the esteemed family’s fortune. His journal records his adventures from the Amazon rainforests to the beaches of Costa Rica to Victorian England, where he attempts to take his rightful place at Baskerville Hall. Along the way, he peels back the layers of family secrets and scandals untold in Dr. Watson’s account of the demonic hound haunting the Baskervilles.
Most of all, he describes a Sherlock Holmes unlike the legendary detective you think you know.
A MAN NAMED BASKERVILLE retells the infamous Arthur Conan Doyle mystery in a way you’ve never read before. It’s a sizzling new take on a classic hailed as a masterpiece of the English language, named one of the most influential books ever by the BBC and Le Monde, and beloved by Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide for over a century.It’s a rousing adventure, from start to finish. What’s more—it’s a Sherlock Holmes story unlike any you’ve read before.
Victorian Era “Sympathy for the Devil” • The Boy From Brazil • Man’s Best Friend is Your Worst Nightmare
Deciding where to start with this book is difficult. On one hand, it is a love letter to Victorian-era novels, absolutely rife with flowing, flowery language and heavy descriptions regarding meals and Baskerville’s surroundings. On the other, it was a refreshing, modern take on a classic Sherlock Holmes tale, even if it wasn’t the most exciting read in the world.
To begin, I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found myself getting lost in the vivid descriptions of life in 19th-century South America. For me, those were the better parts of the book. At least, that was the case until the climax. But this is a spoiler-free zone, so I won’t go too deeply into that. I will mention that I found the portions taking place in England familiar. I’ve only read a few Holmes tales, Baskerville unfortunately not being one of them, but I have read other classics written in the same time period. I found A Man Named Baskerville to be a worthy descendant of these novels (including Dracula and Jane Eyre) and a fitting addition to any classic lover’s shelf. My love for classics is similar to that of anyone who studied English in college. My love for literature started there but has moved past them since. However, this book transported me back to why I fell in love with them in the first place. It possesses a sense of renewed vigor and admiration for life in Victorian England, right before the Industrial Revolution changed the landscape forever. Not only that, it is a fun retelling of a detective classic that we’ve come to know and love.
Having a villain as a protagonist is a bold choice. I found myself almost rooting for Baskerville as he continued to make questionable choice after choice. I was still in his corner after LITERALLY MURDERING PEOPLE. I don’t know what that says about me as a person, but it definitely cements the fact that Nelson is a damn good writer. It also posits Sherlock as a kind of dimwit (and if you love Benedict Cumberbatch as I do, it was hard to swallow—at first) which is certainly an interesting take on the famed sleuth. His deductive reasoning had holes and it wasn’t something I was used to seeing in representations of the character. I found it as almost a Wizard of Oz moment, the proverbial pulling back of the curtain to reveal that the Wizard is only a man. Nevertheless, he cements himself firmly as Baskerville’s enemy, though it is exaggerated.
The true villain of the story, however, is Baskerville’s ego. Presented with several opportunities to change course and be the better man, he chooses to feed into his anger and hatred of the aristocracy. It makes him sympathetic in the eyes of the reader. I mean, let’s face it. If you had a title and fortune dangled in your face, only to be told that you were not worthy of it because of something that had nothing to do with you, it would probably drive you a little batty. Now, most of us would not be driven to the extremes that Baskerville goes to, but we can all understand the deep need to belong. And that, I think, is Nelson’s point. When someone is deprived of their sense of belonging, what lengths will they go to in order to get it back?
I mentioned in the beginning that A Man Named Baskerville is a love letter. And it is, in the way that it flows. It’s hard to articulate exactly what I mean without giving away anything, but the epistolary nature of the work is reminiscent of Frankenstein, even if that is technically pre-Victorian. There are time jumps and rather than being distracting, they are most effective for bringing Baskerville full circle as a character. Understanding the nuances of the man makes his misdeeds almost seem justified. In his mind, they are. The rest is for you to decide.
Overall, I found Baskerville to be an enjoyable read. While it isn’t particularly fast-paced, it is still a solid story with compelling characters, an intriguing story arc, and a deep love for Brazilian food. Any reader of the classics will surely enjoy A Man Named Baskerville.
About the Author
Jim Nelson’s novels include Bridge Daughter (2016, Kindle Press), Stranger Son, and In My Memory Locked. His work has appeared in North American Review, Confrontation, Instant City, and other fine venues.
He divides his time between San Francisco and Tokyo.Author Website: https://j-nelson.net
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/jim_nelson