Mar 20 2017 10:00am

Baker Street Irregulars: New Excerpt

Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry

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.

“Delta Phi”

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.

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Baker Street Irregulars, edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Baker Street Irregulars Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) March 20, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 9:59 a.m. ET March 27, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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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.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
John Quiring
1. kamandi
Interesting line-up of authors. Count me in as interested!
6. theresajs
can't wait to read this book!!! So many great authors!
thanks for the chance!
8. RickC
Can't wait to read this!
Jeffrey Malis
11. bravejam
Looking forward to reading these stories... Thank you for the excerpt and the entry opportunity!
Jeffrey Malis
11. bravejam
Looking forward to reading these stories... Thank you for the excerpt and the entry opportunity!
15. Jodi Scott
Love this series!!
Anne Kennedy
17. amac1952
Hippy parents who chose their child's name lackadaisically couldn't be further from the original Sherlick's heritage. An auspicious introduction to what promises to be an engaging anthology.
Bill Horton
18. tangledwebs
Intriguing, Promises to be a very eclectic read.
Theresa Clarke
19. Luminous Angel
I've been a Holmes fan for years - this sounds like awesome fun!
Portia Asher
20. pixie
I'm a Sherlock afficianado...this would be a treat!
24. aremcy
Looking forward to reading the entire book. A free copy would be most welcome.
Michael Carter
26. rubydog
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks ---
27. LawrenceJohnPatrickDoyle
I'd like to read the rest of the Sherlock the hacker story.
susan beamon
28. susanbeamon
Sherlock Holmes seems to be a blueprint that many authors have made interesting modifications to. I would like to see these alterations to the myth.
Kathleen Costa
30. KFCosta
What a marvelous story... I love everything Sherlock Holmes in all of its incarnations.
Lori Provenzano
31. Mountainesque
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they way. I'm sure it's demonstrated here in the very best sense!
John OBrien
32. meiobrien
Alternate history is a favorite genre - are alternate versions of a fictional historical detective a sub-genre? Whatever the answer is, I enjoy these type of stories and look forward to more.
Sharon Haas
33. kazul
Count me in for anything Sherlock!
I have to have a copy of this. I love Sherlock Holmes!
44. Janice Blasklo
The excerpt, was very entertaining and had me hoping to read more. I do enjoy reading but not everything will hold my attention long enough for me to finish the book.
45. jgdozier
Need some more Holmes in my life!
48. Elizabeth Brodeur
Would love to read these stories
Joyce Redman
49. jmredman
modern take on Sherlock Holmes is always interesting.
Joyce Redman
49. jmredman
modern take on Sherlock Holmes is always interesting.
Erin Hartshorn
50. ErinMH
Wonderful list of authors, and the excerpt is fun. "Lock," indeed.
John Smith
51. jsmith2jsmith
Why all the repeated comments? Glitch or impatience?
Deb Philippon
56. DebP
Been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, like, forever. Wish me luck!
Terrie Ash
57. teria222
Sounds like a book I would love to read!
61. Cat
Can't wait to read more.
Dale Crawford
63. daedae51
I try to read almost anything that even mentions Sherlock, count me in!
66. johnDM
easy hand sell to Holmes fans
Jean Dickinson
71. justjean
I have enjoyed TV series featuring Holmes & Watson ("Elementary" and PBS excellent "Sherlock") and look forward to the 13 authors in anthology "BakerStreetIrregulars"
Kyle Johnicker
72. kylecar94
Holmes is such a great character and universe to build around.
74. Shannon Baas
I would like this.
Marty Crosson
76. mcrosson
So I skim the article, thinking there's nothing new anyone can do with Sherlock Holmes. Then I get to 'vampire' and 'parrot.' Could be trying too hard for novelty or could be interesting -- not sure at this point.
Sandra Slack
80. mz.pembroke
Sherlock Holmes was always a favorite, would like to see the new take on it.
L Peters
81. leepcat
love the original Sherlock Holmes. this should be a fun read. thanks
Tammy Z Evans
84. tzevans
This sounds interesting, I would definitely like to read this.
Beth Talmage
85. wordygirl
It seems Sherlock is endlessly inspiring.
Jane Schwarz
88. Janeschwarz
Thank you for this sampling, great read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.
Jane Wright
90. azgarfan
Can never get too much Sherlock, a great book.
92. jpl123456
I love to read any thing related to Sherlock. Send it.
bill norris
93. bnchile
I love all things Sherlock and would love to read some new stuff.
99. Stephanie Liske
pick me..
100. John Judge
Thanks for the chance
Heather Cowley
105. choochoo
I think this would be an interesting read! Love Sherlock stories!
Rosalind Lopez
107. niknik66
This would be a mystery right up my alley of interest.
Barbara Lima
108. barblima
This young person deals well with serious afflictions.
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