| Portfolio Justin Carroll |
Category: Children’s Books
Genre: Mystey & Detective
Hemlock Jones & the Angel of Death
– The Hemlock Jones Chronicles 1 –
“This is an absolutely brilliant read. References are made to the other more well-known “Consulting Detective” and the Doctor just down the road, (I dare not mention their names as it would result in a rather serious scowl or a telling off from Hemlock). In a similar style to the previously mentioned but with twists and turns, Hemlock and Whitlow (12 years old), are determined in their own crime-busting escapades. The fearless Hemlock is undeterred in her quest, with the somewhat quite sweet and willing Whitlow, they manage to get involved in a rather intriguing investigation. It is exciting and fast-paced, with steampunk elements in a Victorian London setting, what is there not to love. It has all the essential ingredients, good goodies, good baddies, deductions, suspense and it is all wrapped around a wonderful storyline with characters that are engaging and fun. It had me hooked right from the outset and kept me hooked till the end.
Now I know this is aimed at children from around 8 years and up, and they will love it, but you know what, never mind the children, this grown-up loved it loads 🙂 This is a book I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND to younger readers and for big kids (adults) too. A fun-filled Victorian action adventure packed, steampunk, sleuthing, deductive, murder and mystery. I really am looking forward to reading more in what I think will be a really exciting series and I am really impatient now for the next instalment.”
“A tremendously fun steampunk novel. Hemlock herself is a fabulous character, bearing some of her fellow resident of Baker Street’s characteristics; she is fiercely intelligent, single-minded and forthright.
Although ostensibly a book for children, featuring as it does a pair of twelve-year-old protagonists Justin Carroll has written a mystery that is really quite dark, the victims have died at the hands of a sadistic murderer who is prepared to kill again and again. Just as Holmes had Moriarty so Hemlock has her own nemesis, a twisted individual whose evil plans are only matched by his seeming ability to continually evade capture.
With its sophisticated prose and dry wit, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death invokes the spirit of the Sherlock Holmes stories and is a stylish and enjoyable introduction to what will be a series of books featuring the intrepid pair of youngsters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it both to children – be aware that some may find it a little too dark – and adults who will appreciate this clearly affectionate nod to the great detective (even if Hemlock wouldn’t agree with that description!).”
Hemlock Jones & the Underground Orphans – coming in 2019
– The Hemlock Jones Chronicles 2 –
Genre: Psychological Novels
“I am unsure whether the writing techniques employed in the careful crafting of this tale are part and parcel of this new author’s personal writing style or if they have been specifically brought to bear here, I am, however, inclined to assume the latter. The somewhat staccato rhythms and clipped sentences create a sense of dissonance and unease which subtly induces a growing empathy with the strained mind of the protagonist.
In the protagonist, Mr Carroll achieves the writer’s holy grail of a terribly flawed character with no redeeming qualities who yet somehow remains likeable. He should be someone to pity, not to empathise with but you cannot help but be drawn into his disturbed mental state and join him in his exile in his insular world.”
“The style of writing is impressive as we get to follow Stan around without ever leaving his side. The world is dark and grey in Stan’s eyes but Carroll still paints a vivid picture of the city, alternating the pace and rhythm between fragmented sentences as Stan becomes more and more stressed in combination with clear and sharp, albeit twisted, observations as he regains cool. Everything’s Cool simply provides an excellent template for how a third person, character driven story is supposed to be written.
The tailored style of writing is however not the only thing interesting about this book, the story itself is captivating. Stan isn’t our typical hero and even though he would perhaps want to be just that, he knows that he can not trust anyone. Following Stan so closely, you cant help but sympathise with his goals and motives. Despite, or perhaps because, of his many flaws.”
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