Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands



Peregrine Harker is about to learn you're never too young to die.
London 1908: A secret society stalks the murky streets, a deadly assassin lurks in the shadows and a series of unexplained deaths are linked by a mystery symbol…
When boy-detective Peregrine Harker stumbles across a gruesome murder he sparks a chain of events that drag him on a rip-roaring journey through a world of spluttering gas lamps, thick fog, deadly secrets and dastardly villains.
Every step of Peregrine’s white-knuckle adventure brings him closer to the vile heart of a terrifying mystery – the true story behind the Brotherhood of the Black Death.
                   * * *
Luke Hollands is a former lion tamer, motorcycle stunt-rider and ruler of a small South American country. He is also a compulsive liar. He learnt how to tell tall tales while interviewing famous politicians, celebrities and criminals as a newspaper journalist. Thinking he should get a proper job he joined the BBC. Since then he has produced and presented quirky radio documentaries, appeared in the odd drama and danced on television dressed as a giant bear. He now makes wildlife films, some of which he briefly appears in, and has travelled the world, swimming in shark-infested waters, tramping through crocodile-stuffed lagoons and being eaten alive by various species of nibbling insect. Surprisingly for Luke, everything apart from the first sentence of this biography is actually true.
E-book ISBN: 9781907230493

The first few chapters of this book really got my attention.

In Peregrine Harker & The Black Death, Peregrine Harker finds himself in the middle of a mysterious smuggling case. However, there may be something more sinister going on and Peregrine needs to find out exactly what's up.

At first, I was really into this book. It reminded me of a mixture of Rin Tin Tin, Sherlock Holmes and The Maltese Falcon. Sounds great, right? It actually was, until... I'm not sure, but I guess it was when I kinda figured out who the villain was going to be.

If you've read a number of mystery books, you shouldn't have a problem guessing who the enemy is in this book. However, despite having a predictable villain and a middle that felt dense and jam-packed, the twist near the end was actually pretty good. It certainly gave a valid reason for all the things that were going on throughout the book. I also liked the last chapter or so of the book after the mystery had been solved.

As for the characters, I liked Peregrine. He's an entertaining character and his narration makes the book much funnier and more interesting than it would have had it been done in the third person. I also liked Peregrine's friend Archie. He only had limited page time but he was quite likeable. I wasn't fond of Louisa, though. I liked that she could fight, but the moment she swooned, I lost my interest in her as a character. I really dislike swooning female characters since they feel like cliches.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sparkling Books Ltd. for the e-ARC. Publication date of Peregrine Harker & The Black Death is on June 3, 2013.


  1. The narrative style of the book feels like a '20s detective movie.
  2. Peregrine is likeable.
  3. There's a nice plot twist near the end of the book.


  1. Some parts can get predictable.

Next you'll be dreaming you're a bally hero, instead of a simple hack.

  1. You like detective novels.
  2. You like YA novels set in England.
  3. You like fast-paced, jam-packed books.




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