cover image The Initiation

The Initiation

Ridley Pearson. Harper, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-239901-4

The famed rivalry between Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty gets an update in this modern-day origin story, first in the Lock and Key series, which sees the two future archenemies rooming together at the elite Baskerville Academy. James Moriarty and his younger sister, Moria (who narrates), struggle to fit in after being sent to Baskerville, several hours away from their Boston home, also dealing with the weight of their family’s lengthy association with the school. When their family Bible, a prized possession of the Academy, is stolen, the pressure is on for James to unravel the clues and retrieve it. With Holmes and Moria alternately helping and hindering his efforts, he additionally investigates a conspiracy that seems to be targeting him. While Pearson (the Kingdom Keepers series) tries to put a new spin on these classic characters, he fails to capture their true essence; it’s hard to take the future “Napoleon of Crime” seriously as a surly 14-year-old, and Holmes is more annoying than brilliant without a Watson to temper his excesses. Coupled with a convoluted central mystery, this reimagining misses its mark. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Amy Berkower and Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]