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by Laurie R. King
Bantam, April 2010
354 pages
ISBN: 0553805541

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Mary Russell is haring around England, accompanied by Holmes' granddaughter, trying to avoid capture by the authorities. Holmes is trying to keep his son Damien from being apprehended. Mycroft is in jail, somewhere in London. Obviously, something has gone very wrong in the world.

Moriarty may be dead, but there is someone quite willing to be Holmes's nemesis. This shadowy figure remains unidentified for almost all of HIVE. Hiding the identity of the villain ratchets up the suspense, which is already pretty high for those readers who care deeply about this family.

King does a masterful job of conveying all of Mary's frustrations; coping with a small child, not knowing who can be trusted, not knowing where Holmes is, and more. Holmes has other problems, not the least of which is his coming to terms with the reality of his own aging. It's bad enough to be aware that one is not physically what one used to be, but to be unsure of one's mental abilities (the ultimate source of all that Holmes considers himself to be) is frightening. Throw into the mix worries about Mycroft, the new relationship with his son and granddaughter - it's almost more than Holmes can handle.

King has written another wonderful addition to the Russell/Holmes canon. Apparently HIVE picks up where THE LANGUAGE OF BEES left off; this can make for some interesting questions in the mind of a reader who hasn't read LANGUAGE. King is good at filling in the bits and pieces of back-story as HIVE moves along, so the reader isn't totally in the dark for very long.

This is a fairly dark novel, although the series seems to have been moving in that direction slowly from the beginning, so faithful readers of the series won't be surprised. King is certainly experienced enough as a writer that reading HIVE as one's first encounter with Russell and Holmes won't be totally incomprehensible, but I would be remiss in not strongly suggesting that one start at the beginning, or at least a book or two back from here.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, April 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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