happy book birthday to Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot


Last year, Diversion Books released Baker Street Irregulars, a collection of 13 stories featuring alternate versions of Sherlock Holmes. Among others, the book included “Identity,” a story that paired up a brilliant young woman named Shirley Holmes with an African-American med student named Jack Watson.

Today, the sequel has been released! It’s the book birthday for Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot. Like the first one, it’s edited by the dream team of Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry, and like the first one, it’s got a Shirley-and-Jack story, this one called “Six Red Dragons.”

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction: “My Old Friend Sherlock Holmes” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “The Problem of the Three Journals” by Narrelle M. Harris (Sherlock is an Australian hipster)
  • “Six Red Dragons” by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Sherlock is a young girl in modern New York City)
  • “The Adventure of the Diode Detective” by Jody Lynn Nye (Sherlock is a home security system)
  • “Investigations upon Taxonomy of Venomous Squamates” by R. Rozakis (Sherlock is a graduate student at a lab)
  • “Papyrus” by Sarah Stegall (Sherlock is a female librarian in ancient Egypt)
  • “My Dear Wa’ats” by Hildy Silverman (Sherlock is an alien ship’s captain)
  • “A Scandal in Chelm” by Daniel M. Kimmel (Sherlock is a rabbi)
  • “The Affair of the Green Crayon” by Stephanie M. McPherson (Sherlock is a grade school teacher)
  • “A Study in Space” by Derek Beebe (Sherlock is a teenager on a moon station)
  • “Sin Eater and the Adventure of Ginger Mary” by Gordon Linzner (Sherlock is a “sin eater” in rural post-Civil War America)
  • “The Adventure of the Double-Sized Final Issue” by Mike Strauss (Sherlock is a comic book character)
  • “A Very Important Nobody” by Chuck Regan (Sherlock is an investigator on one of Jupiter’s moons)
  • “Ho Ho Holmes” by Nat Gertler (Sherlock is Santa Claus)

And here’s an excerpt from “Six Red Dragons.”

“Hey, Shirley,” I said as I led Lestrade in. “Your cop buddy’s here.”

She was arranging the pastries on the three-tiered tray and didn’t look up at either of us. “Welcome, Detective. Hello, Jack. I see you had a difficult shift in the emergency room.”

Shirley hadn’t known that I was doing an ER shift today—mostly because I hadn’t known myself until I showed up at work. Like most med students, I went where they told me to go, and because someone called in sick, I got the ER shift instead of the lab shift I was scheduled for.

With a sigh, Shirley added, “Before you ask how I knew, you’re wearing a different shirt than you were wearing when you left, specifically the one you keep in your locker as a backup, you have the same soap smell you had the last time you had to shower at the hospital after your shift, there are tiny flecks of blood and vomit on parts of your shoes, and a bruise on your left arm, all indicators of the somewhat more chaotic nature of an emergency room shift. Also, you have bags under your eyes, which has only happened when you’ve worked the emergency room.”

“I wasn’t gonna ask that,” I said with a smile. I’d given up asking how she knew stuff, ‘cause it was always just that she noticed every damn thing. And it was Saturday night in the ER, which meant lots of puke, piss, and shit on top of the expected blood. “I was gonna ask if I could join you and the detective here for your tea.”

“I did not set a place for you. However, your need for caffeine is obvious, and the traditional tea service is generally more than two people can reasonably drink, so you may join us, yes.”

I had to admit, as soon as I saw the two places set out, I figured she was gonna kick me upstairs because I wasn’t part of the already set service, but she worked her way through letting me stay. I was kinda hoping she wouldn’t. The detective owing me a favor was nice and all, but I was really tired.

Still, she was also right that the caffeine hit would be good.

I offered to get my own place setting, and Shirley said, “That will not be necessary. I am the host, and it is my responsibility to adjust the place settings accordingly.”

“Maybe, but I know where everything is, and you look like you want to start hearing what the detective has to say.”

“That is true.” She sounded almost relieved. Even though she had talked herself into letting me stick around, I could tell that, on the one hand, she didn’t want to do the extra work, but on the other, she felt obligated to. She sounded pretty relieved that I just gave her an out.

Of course, she didn’t thank me.

This link takes you to Diversion’s page for the book, which includes a complete set of ordering links.

So check it out!

cover reveal: Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot

Earlier this year, Diversion Books published Baker Street Irregulars, an anthology of alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry. It included my story “Identity,” which introduced Shirley Holmes, a young woman in modern New York City, who meets a med student named Jack Watson, who takes a room in her Riverside Drive home and together they solve a mystery.

Shirley and Jack will be back in the spring of 2018 in Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot, in a story called “Six Red Dragons,” in which Detective Guillaume Lestrade of the 24th Precinct brings an odd case to Shirley’s door.

Jonathan revealed the cover today, and here it is for y’all:


Isn’t it great? Can’t wait to read the other stories……….


Baker Street Irregulars 2 available for preorder!


I’m pleased to see that Amazon has Baker Street Irregulars 2: The Game’s Afoot available for preorder! This is the second volume of alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson — basically our remit as authors is to do Holmes and Watson anywhere but Victorian London — and includes stories by Derek Beebe, Nat Gertler, Narrelle M. Harris, Daniel M. Kimmel, Gordon Linzner, Stephanie M. McPherson, Jody Lynn Nye, Chuck Regan, R. Rozakis, Hildy Silverman, Sarah Stegall, Mike Strauss, and, oh yeah, me!

I’m doing a story called “Six Red Dragons” which, like my story “Identity” in Volume 1, features Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson in modern New York City.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

The next morning, I came downstairs, and Shirley was in the same spot, the tea stuff all there, though the food was all gone. Ever since her aunt got cancer, they’d hired someone to come in and clean the place every other day, but today wasn’t her day on, so I figured I’d clean up after Shirley, since nobody else was gonna do it, and cockroaches would mess up the nice house.

I grabbed the tea service, trying not to spill any crumbs, and commented on her having been here all night.

“I would think, Jack, that even someone of your intelligence would be able to determine that for yourself, given that I am wearing the same clothes, I have eaten all the food and drunk all the tea that was left, and my hair now has the oily consistency it frustratingly acquires when I have not showered in more than thirty-seven hours.”

“Was just making a comment.”

“The pitch of your voice went higher on the word ‘night,’ which is indicative of an interrogative rather than a declaratory statement.”

I honestly didn’t remember if I’d done that or not. “In that case, it was rhetorical. What’d you find out?”

“Quite a bit. The clinic does indeed have security footage, which was appended to the report that Detective Lestrade forwarded to me, the Morse Shop has an Etsy site that shows off its wares, and Dr. Barnicot regularly updates his Facebook page with a near-constant stream of pictures. I have been able to find images of all three figurines.”

She held up the tablet, which had what looked like a screengrab focused on a red dragon figurine, a picture of a windowsill filled with tchotchkes, one of which was a red dragon figurine, and a picture of a red dragon figurine against a white background.

“They all look the same to me.”

Shirley sighed, and I knew I’d said something wrong. “The grooves and lines of the image from the Morse Shop are sharper than those of the one on Dr. Barnicot’s windowsill. The resolution of the security camera is insufficient to compare that level of detail for the one in the clinic. That they are similar enough that your eye cannot determine the difference indicates that these figurines were cast, but not with metal, plaster, or concrete—likely they were resin cast, as those molds tend to degrade over time, particularly ones created by single artisans rather than industrially produced.”

“Which tracks with stuff sold at the Morse Shop.”

“Indeed.” She looked straight at me, which was rare. “If you are free, would you like to accompany me to Columbus Avenue?”

“Wanna get some brunch?”

“I am sated after consuming the remains of the tea service. No, I was referring to the Columbus Avenue crafts fair that occupies the section of that street behind the American Museum of Natural History. Based on the information in the Etsy shop, the creator of these dragon figurines, one Liese Gelder, has a stand there. Your presence would be useful in questioning her.”

I chuckled. If somebody wanted Shirley’s help, she could interrogate better than the Army CID guys I served with in Afghanistan, but when it came to just talking to people, having a doctor-in-training along was a lot more useful.

“Well, I got today off, so sure. I got some lab notes I need to translate into English at some point, but I can do that later.”

“I assume that to mean a figurative translation of poor handwriting and abbreviated text into something coherent rather than an actual translation?”

Some of the doctors who were training me didn’t have English as their first language, as it happened, but I did not want to get into that with Ms. Literal, so I just said, “Yeah.”

We each showered, and I drank some coffee, and then we took an Uber to Columbus and 81st. Shirley has the Uber account because she got tired of being ignored by cabbies when she tried to hail one. As a large black man, I could relate.


You can preorder the book at Amazon, and you can also get Volume 1, which includes the first Shirley-and-Jack story “Identity,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Indie Bound.

a nice review of Supernatural: Nevermore


Ten years ago, HarperPrism released my first (and also the first) Supernatural novel, Nevermore, which had the Winchester brothers driving the Impala into New York City to deal with two cases, one involving a haunting, one involving Edgar Allan Poe-inspired murders.

Today, J.L. Gribble has reviewed Nevermore on her blog!

Money quote:

It was interesting to essentially travel back in time with these characters, as someone 12 seasons into the show, while this book takes place at a time with the brothers are still haunted (metaphorically) by Sam leaving his life in Stanford behind, and the recent death of John Winchester.

While the brothers’ dialogue was spot-on, the author sometimes had trouble capturing their internal narrative voice — I note, however, that this is entirely subjective on my own part. The supporting characters were all unique, fleshed out, and at times hilarious. I find myself hoping that I encounter Detective McBain again in the future.

(For the record, I’m quite pleased with Detective McBain, and I’d love to write her again some day….)


last day of the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter!

At 9am tomorrow, the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter ends, so this is your last chance to get in on it! Help support the latest in my fantasy police procedure series as Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard must solve the murder of the legendary Pirate Queen. Nifty rewards! Stretch goals (only $101 to the next one…)! Stuff!

second stretch goal achieved for Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter!

There’s only 48 hours left in the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter, and we’ve hit two of our stretch goals! Just $227 to go to hit the next stretch goal, where everyone who pledges between $15 and $49 will get copies of all the previous “Precinct” Kickstarter stories: “When the Magick Goes Away,” “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty,” and “Baker’s Dozen.”

first Mermaid Precinct stretch goal achieved!

We’re past $5300 (thanks to Joe Rixman for his pledge to put us over the line), so now everyone who pledged $50 or more to the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter not only gets eBooks of all the prior Precinct stories, but also of the four previous Precinct novels. Hooray!
Next goal: to hit $5500 and add two of my Super City Cops short stories to the pile for everyone who pledges $15 or more………..

new stretch goal for Mermaid Precinct

The Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter has a new stretch goal: if we hit $5300, everyone who pledges $50 or more will not only get electronic copies of all thirteen previous Precinct short stories, but also e-copies of the four previous Precinct novels. So if you pledge fifty bucks (or more), you get Dragon Precinct, Unicorn Precinct, Goblin Precinct, Gryphon Precinct, and all thirteen short stories in the universe (that part was already there if you pledged $50+).

just one week left!

There’s only one week left in the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter, and we’re also only $176 to go to make the first stretch goal of extra short stories for $15 or higher pledges!
The Kickstarter for the latest in my fantasy police procedural series is already funded, so go support not only the book, but also get nifty rewards. And we get more if we hit the stretch goals! So go pledge and please put us over that threshold!