In this second installment of the Janet Watson Chronicles, Dr. Watson and Sara Holmes infiltrate a secret facility inside the New Confederacy to foil a diabolical assassination plot.
Set in a futuristic America divided by a New Civil War, O’Dell’s (A Study in Honor, 2018) speculative take on the Sherlock Holmes mythology picks up where the first novel left off. Dr. Janet Watson, having lost an arm in the fight against Nadine Adler, is adapting to her prosthetic and itching to be cleared to perform surgery again. Her friend and Washington, D.C., roommate, Sara Holmes, is on indefinite leave from whatever “alphabet agency" she works for and is generally going stir-crazy. On Inauguration Day, the Brotherhood of Redemption, an extremist faction of the New Confederacy, sets off a number of explosions. Sara and Janet fear this is only the tip of a much more destructive terrorist plot. Additionally, there are a number of mysterious deaths at the hospital. While Janet tries to get her life back on track—rounds, practice surgeries, and a few dates with an attractive bookstore owner—Sara is laying the groundwork for a long game. When she disappears, Janet must travel south and then cross the border into the New Confederacy to find a hardcore group of resistance fighters and help them rescue a kidnapped biochemist. O’Dell’s imagined America is a grim place, both mired in the racial violence and prejudice of the past and splintered apart by the destructive politics of Trump and those who, speculatively, have succeeded him. The links to Sherlock Holmes provide a deeper skeleton framework to the story, but one wonders how necessary it will be in future novels. Janet and Sara are complex African American women who have no need to be tied to white, male, British detectives of the past. When these all-female, mostly black resistance fighters weapon up, they kick some serious bad-guy (and -girl) ass.
Read it for the action scenes and savor some sweet friendship moments in between.