The origin of an antihero.
When readers first met Mori (Lock & Mori, 2015), it was hard to see how she’d eventually become the dreaded Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis. Didn’t this white teen solve crimes with her schoolmate, Lock? Hadn’t she defeated her abusive, serial killer father? But now Mori has spent the last four months locked in a horse stall. Alice, an old friend of Mori’s con-artist mother, the salvation she’d been convinced would rescue her younger brothers from abuse, turns out to have conned her. Alice wants Mori’s help restarting a criminal enterprise, and she holds her brothers hostage. When Mori gets out of this place—and she will escape—she’s going to make sure Alice can never hurt them again. Nothing, not even the disapproval and grief of her beloved Lock, will prevent Mori from utterly stopping the crooked cops and greedy thieves who’ve hurt her. Mori herself is such an engaging, well-rounded character that the villains’ incoherent choices seem even more cartoonish by contrast, but the cinematic tension of her final fall makes it hard to worry about flaws in the plotting. This isn’t a Sherlock Holmes mystery: this is the villain’s back story.
Mori’s crackerjack characterization (balanced between appealing and appalling) and the tight pacing overcome this finale’s weaknesses of plotting and prose. (Mystery. 13-15)