THE LIST OF 7 by Mark Frost

THE LIST OF 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

 History has it that Arthur Conan Doyle based Sherlock Holmes on his med-school teacher Dr. Joseph Bell. Not so, imagines Frost (co-creator of Twin Peaks) in his exhilarating, exuberantly melodramatic first novel: Holmes's real template was one Jack Sparks, Queen Victoria's most secret agent, who enlisted Doyle as his Watson to combat a conspiracy aimed at nothing less than incarnating Satan in human form. Doyle's a young M.D. and writer when he gets an anonymous letter imploring him to save ``an innocent's life'' from ``fraudulent'' practitioners of the ``spiritual arts''--a letter couched in the same Victorian language that Frost uses to tell his tale, and one appealing to the doctor's interest in psychic phenomena. It's this interest that has prompted Doyle to write about a ``Dark Brotherhood'' in a novel that's attracted the attention of the ``7,'' a real-life cabal of the black arts. The letter, sent by the cabal, takes Doyle to a sÇance where a demon manifests and several are slain, and from which Doyle escapes with the help of a mysterious dynamo who calls himself Jack Sparks- -though, for his deductive powers, violin playing, and cocaine addiction, he might just as well be called ``Holmes.'' Sparks tells Doyle of the 7 and of their leader, Alexander Sparks, Jack's own brother and nemesis, the crime lord of London (i.e., Moriarity). The game is afoot--and wearing running shoes--as Sparks and Doyle race from one cliffhanger to the next, mixing it up with zombies, villains, giant leeches, and femmes fatales; exploring secret tunnels and a walled castle; crossing paths with Bram Stoker, Madame Blavatsky, Jack the Ripper, and Victoria Regina--even as The Dweller on the Threshold awaits his borning.... Unabashedly corny, and lifting ideas from a dozen sources, including Nicholas Meyer (whose new Holmes pastiche, The Canary Trainer, p. 821, it far outclasses)--but a jolly good adventure yarn for that. (Film rights to Universal)

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-12245-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1993




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