Being interested in both Horror movies and Sherlock Holmes I end up reading all kinds of pastiches. Some of them are very competent like Loren D Estleman’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Holmes, but an awful lot of them are a bit rubbish.
Sherlock Holmes and the Zombie Problem falls somewhere in the middle, even if it does veer more towards the rubbish end of the spectrum than the competent. Thomas conflates Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem, where Holmes tracks down Moriarty to Switzerland and apparently perishes as he tumbles from Reichanbach Falls, with yet more flesh-eating zombies derived from George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Apparently Moriarty has discovered how to create an army of the living dead, although how is never revealed, and has charged them with preventing Holmes from tracking him down to his Swiss lair. Along the way Holmes is aided by a young Winston Churchill, intrepid traveller Phileas Fogg and explorer Sir Richard Burton, who has somehow faked his own death to fit in with the chronology.
While the writing isn’t too bad, there really isn’t much of an opportunity for Holmes to indulge in any detection. Much of the story is a series of set battles as Holmes and Watson despatch legions of flesh-eating zombies and the conclusion is rather unsatisfactory. As Watson ponders his friend’s apparent death we never discover what happens to the legions of living dead rampaging around Europe. I have to say that I’m bored with zombies, they don’t really do much other than eat people and don’t offer any intellectual challenge to either the protagonists or the reader.
In common with a lot of self-published books Sherlock Holmes and the Zombie Problem has not been edited much beyond a spell check and it is littered with random paragraph breaks and words used in the wrong context.