Title: A Reflection of Evil
Series: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
Author: William Todd
Narrator: Ben Werling
Publication Date: January 5, 2018
From the author—
After months of inactivity, Holmes and Watson have two cases thrust in their lap in a single day. First, a mysterious woman from Swansea, Wales, seeks Holmes’ help finding her husband who has disappeared in the middle of the night. As soon as she leaves, Holmes receives word that there has been a prison riot with several dead and a few inmates missing. Lestrade is asking for his services.
Holmes believes the two cases are not a coincidence, but he has no idea who is behind it and to what end. They go to Swansea in what could be either a wild goose chase or a setup. Will Holmes unravel the mystery before they get to Swansea? If not what will be in store for them when they step off the train?
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous and best-loved fictional detectives and his companion, Dr. John Watson, is a most worthy sounding board for the great man. Actually, he’s not so much a sounding board as a receptacle for Sherlock’s musings and conclusions. Watson is, in fact, his ghostwriter and, to me, much the more accessible of the two.
A Reflection of Evil fits quite nicely into the Sherlock Holmes pastiche and Mr. Todd has a good eye for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s style and his characterizations. The woman who first engages Holmes and whom he sees through instantly is as negligible as Doyle’s female characters usually are but you can’t take umbrage when that’s precisely the way females were nearly always depicted in his work. She’s a raisond’etre, if you will, and a request for assistance from LeStrade when convicts escape a prison, serendipitously near the town in Wales where the woman asked him to go, gives Holmes and Watson good reason to board a train for Swansea. It soon becomes apparent that one of the escapees has it in for Holmes.
With a good balance of introspection and action, including a need for Watson to put his doctorly skills to work, Holmes soon knows the truth and a new criminal opponent has been discovered albeit in somewhat predictable fashion. We clearly will encounter this villain in future stories and of that I’m very glad.
Ben Werling is an almost ideal voice for this story and I say almost only because of one flaw. Mr. Werling’s tone and pacing are ideal but he’s not quite as good at differentiating all characters as I would like him to be. Still, I will happily listen to him again.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.
About the Author
I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on. I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP. After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just release Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.
About the Narrator
Ben is an award winning actor and voice over professional, who has performed all across the United States. From Shakespeare to Neil Simon, he has displayed a versatility and diversity in the characters and dialects he has portrayed. Ben received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Leading Actor as abusive talk show host Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian’s TALK RADIO, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Prosecutor Villeforte in Alexander Dumas’ THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, also in Chicago. He has worked with an extensive list of theaters in Chicago over the last three decades: Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, Famous Door, Next, A Red Orchid, Raven Theater, First Folio, Writer’s Theater, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, as well as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, Madison Repertory, and Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He is an Ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater in Chicago. For almost a decade he was the voice of the Adler Planetarium, hosting live shows and pointing out the stars, planets and constellations on the big dome. Ben has an eponymous weekly vlog on YouTube, that he films, produces, edits and narrates. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy, two dogs and three cats.
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