Baker Street Irregulars, edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry, features thirteen authors—including Gail Z. Martin, David Gerrold, and Jonathan Maberry—who come together to pen short stories innovating Sherlock Holmes, adapting and revolutionizing the iconic character (available March 21, 2017).
Read an excerpt from Baker Street Irregulars, then make sure to sign in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful Sherlock-inspired anthology!
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most iconic and lasting figures in literature. His feats of detection are legendary, and he continues to capture audiences today in stories, movies, and on TV. In this new anthology, Baker Street Irregulars, authors present the celebrated detective in more than a dozen wildly entertaining new ways. In Ryk Spoor’s thrilling “The Adventures of a Reluctant Detective,” Sherlock is a re-creation in a holodeck. In Hildy Silverman’s mesmerizing ”A Scandal in the Bloodline,” Sherlock is a vampire. Heidi McLaughlin sends Sherlock back to college, while Beth Patterson, in the charming “Code Cracker,” turns him into a parrot. The settings range from Russia in the near-future to a reality show, from a dystopian world to an orchestra. Without losing the very qualities that make Sherlock so illustrious a character, these authors spin new webs of mystery around their own singular riff on one of fiction’s truly singular characters.
by Heidi McLaughlin
The knock on my door startles me. I sit anxiously, waiting to see if it happens again. It’s not often that people come to visit me and I’d rather not get excited by the prospect only to find out that it’s a student bumping their way down the hall, inadvertently hitting my door. I focus my attention instead on the crime scene report I downloaded from the local police server. I’ve been hacking into their system since I arrived in Burlington, Vermont, and quickly started offering them subtle clues to solve their petty crime cases. As morbid as it is, I’m waiting for a murder to occur so I can hone my craft in the field of investigation. Of course, being a college student, my work is never credited.
Ron Smith is the local police chief. He considers me a thorn in his side. He’s not a fan of me, especially when my eighteen-year-old self discovers inconsistencies in his police work. More accurately, when my dorm was pranked as part of the Delta Phi fraternity initiation, his responding officer couldn’t find the offenders, stating that the evidence was inconclusive. The fact that Delta Phi was pasted to the outside wall by way of wet toilet paper apparently wasn’t a big enough clue. I bested the police department when I showed them the handprints left behind matched those of one Roger Stallworth, the center for our basketball team, who has the largest hands on campus.
The knock sounds again, but this time it’s louder and more defined against the metal door. Closing my laptop and sliding the investigation report into my file cabinet, away from the prying eyes of whoever lurks outside, I open the door with luster, acting calm and collected as if I have visitors every day. The person on the other side of the concrete box that I reside in doesn’t need to know otherwise.
“Lock Holmes?” she questions. I nod, but stand still against the doorjamb, preventing her from entering. My name is Sherlock, but I go by Lock. It’s more hip and easier to play off with my hippie parents. My mother, in all her peace-loving ways, couldn’t decide on a name for me, and ended up combining my grandmother’s name, Sheryl, with the nickname of Lock for the tiny tuft of hair I was born with. Sadly, my father never disagreed and forever branded me with the eccentric name that throughout childhood labeled me as an outsider.
The lady in front of me, dressed in a pinstriped suit, is nervous even though she’s trying to maintain a professional look. She forgot her watch this morning when she dressed. The tan line indicates that she wore it all summer, not caring about sunblock or the odd white block of skin she’d leave showing if she were to forget it, like today. The imprint left on her skin says she wears a women’s Timex—cheap and easily found in every discount store in America.
“I’m Professor MacAfee. Chief Smith suggested I come to you for some help.” Her dark hair rests on her shoulders and is curled forward, giving onlookers the illusion that she’s younger than she presents. She hides the gray hairs easily from those who aren’t paying attention. I rack my brain, trying to recall exactly who she is. My photographic memory never fails—her image reminds me that she’s head of Ecological Agriculture.
Professor MacAfee looks to her right and then left—watching for someone to come down the hall, perhaps? I could step aside and let her into my sanctuary, but I’m cautious. There’s a reason I room by myself—it’s easier than dealing with odd looks and minimizes comments being made behind my back. In boarding school, I couldn’t escape the mandatory requirement that I room with someone. For years my name was whispered among my peers as they talked about how different and observant I am, as if knowing your surroundings is a crime. For college, I forged my own path and made sure my roommate application was filled out meticulously so I could room by myself. It’s laughable how the administration never asked for my medical records when I stated I was allergic to everything.
“May I come in?”
Copyright © 2017 Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry.
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Michael A. Ventrella writes witty adventures and edits two major anthologies: Tales of Fortannis and Baker Street Irregulars (co-edited with NY Times Bestselling author Jonathan Maberry)
His short stories have appeared in various collections as well.
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.