Title: Every Breath
Author: Ellie Marney
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.
A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…
Sherlock Holmes retellings and reboots have been very popular lately, whether it’s TV shows and movies or our beloved books. I wasn’t planning on checking this one out, even though it had a genderbent Watson, but after hearing so much praise, I changed my mind, which was the right decision.
The beginning confused me a bit because we were just thrown into the story without much explanation. For example, Rachel is a relatively new student and citizen of the big city, but rather than starting there and introducing us to all the other characters as Rachel meets them, she was already friends with Mycroft and had a report with him, as well as some other characters. It was a nice change from the stereotypical “new student,” but it was also a bit confusing and threw me a little before I got into the story.
I thought the mystery was quite interesting. I had my suspicions, so I wouldn’t say that I was super-shocked by the culprit and stuff, but that never bothered me. I also appreciated the fact that it all seemed a bit realistic, considering – when Rachel and Mycroft first came across a dead body, they freaked out. They weren’t immediately super-detectives – they were teenagers who were facing a gruesome death in person and were appropriately freaked out. I just really appreciated that.
As I write this review about two or three weeks after I read the book, I struggle a little to remember the characters that aren’t Rachel or Mycroft. I especially would have liked more from Rachel’s family, who all had a complicated relationship that was mostly pushed aside because they didn’t know how to deal with their problems head-on. It also would have been nice to see more of Rachel and Mycroft’s two best friends, who have been dealing with the antics of Mycroft much longer (I assume, anyway) than Rachel.
There was a nice bit of diversity, even though the book was mostly focused on Rachel and Mycroft. Rachel comes from a pretty poor family that used to operate their own farm before they lost it to foreclosure. Rachel and Mycroft’s friends are both POCs, and even though they didn’t have a huge presence, they were still in the story and will hopefully have bigger roles in future books.
The book takes place in Melbourne, Australia, which is yet another book that makes me want to go to Australia. As was the case with many Australian-set books, it feels familiar and different all at the same time. It’s always nice to see more of the world in books, even if it’s not all that different.
Based on what I had heard about this book, I really expected the romance to be steamy. It’s not that I didn’t like it – I definitely shipped them – but it never seemed too different from other shippy romances. Maybe it’ll racket up in the future installment, but as of this book, I approved of it but never found myself obsessing over it.
Things got super-dramatic by the end of the book, as is often the case with mysteries. As the summary indicates, there are lions. Hungry lions who are not cute and cuddly at all.
I definitely enjoyed this new Sherlock Holmes retelling, especially since it had a genderbent Watson (although I’m still waiting for a genderbent Sherlock) and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.