“Nothing is more pressing than the truth”
Title: Lock & Mori
Author: Heather w. Petty
Series: Lock & Mori # 1
Publication: September 15th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher at ALA Annual
In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students, one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty, meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.
Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more.
FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.
FACT: Miss James “Mori”Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.
FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.
FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule–they must share every clue with each other–Mori is keeping secrets.
OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.
Now, to be perfectly honest, I know nothing about Sherlock Holmes. I have never read the books and never watched the BBC show (though it is on my binge watch list for spring break). I have, though, seen the two movies with Robert Downy Jr – which is what first interested me in this book. I love those movies, I don’t know if that is an unpopular opinion – but I think Robert Downey Jr nails it. Lock & Mori takes an entirely different view on a beloved classic. From what I can gather, no one knows anything about Moriarty – only what they know from Sherlock himself, so why not explore that a little? Lock & Mori is an outstanding work of art that takes what we think we know and turns it on its head.
In this book, Moriarty is just a normal high schooler (not really). She has perfect grades, perfect attendance, is nothing short of genius, and has this beautifully complex mind that solves puzzles like it is nobody’s business. She meets Sherlock, the school’s resident hermit scientist whose mother bribed the headmaster into letting him run a lab downstairs in the basement. Long story short, Lock and Mori meet, Lock challenges her to solve a murder before him, and then chaos of all sorts ensues – and it was fabulous.
Petty takes an interesting view point on who Moriarty is as an individual and her backstory. I had no idea who she or the original Moriarty were in context coming when I started reading this, so I think that I enjoyed it a little more than I should have when I have so many essays and exams next week. Moriarty’s father is abusive, horribly so towards her younger brothers but only verbally towards her. I hated him right from the start, what kind of father calls his daughter a slag (which I believe is British slang for slut, correct me if I am wrong)? An asshole kind of father, that’s who. I wanted to kill him! I swear I am not a violent person, but I wanted to wrap my hands around his throat and shake him. Mori is beautifully strong. She protects her brothers, she takes the full brunt of her father’s anger just so he will leave them alone – no matter how horrible it makes her feel. Trust me, it is pretty big “cock-up” (more slang from the book). I don’t know how else to put this, but she is one brave individual and I love her for that. Not only is she outstanding in the scope of how far she is willing to go to protect the ones she loves, she is a genius. I love having a brilliant main character, I think it makes things so much more interesting. Logic is fun, reading a character’s thought process as they solve a case is even more fun. I will say this, though, she isn’t really a likeable character at the beginning – she isn’t nice and she is very emotionally detached. But, I understand her, I sympathize with her, and I found her to be incredibly compelling. I can see the beginnings of this master villain and arch nemeses that she is supposed to be in the future, but if I didn’t know that from my roommate’s rants about Sherlock, I never would have guessed it until the end of the book. She is just so perfect, not in the Mary Sue way, but in the way that she is exactly the main character this book needed.
I had no idea as to what Sherlock was supposed to be like when I went into this, much like how I had no clue who Moriarty was when I started. All I know of him is what I saw when I watched the movies: Sherlock Holmes is a sociopathic genius with a razor sharp wit and scary observation skills. Lock, for me at least, captured that perfectly while simultaneously making Sherlock a very loveable character. Throughout the book, we have beautiful examples of his sass, his brilliance, and his inability to empathize and realize when he offends someone with his words. Truth is the only thing that matters to him, until he meets Mori that is. He cares about her, and it was heartbreakingly beautiful to read the moments when we could see what he was feeling. I just have to say this, Petty has created an image of the infamous Sherlock Holmes that will stick in my mind forever.
There is one thing I want to bring up, and I don’t meant to go off on a rampage, but I can’t help it. This isn’t going to be a bad rant, Petty actually took a horrible issue in today’s society and made it bearable. There is a scene later in the book, when Mori and her best friend, Sadie, are walking through the park. While they are walking through the park, a group of boys starts to harass them. This isn’t innocent or sweet cat calling I’m talking about here, I mean this is full on sexual harassment.
“That one there’s passable, but her friend here’s pretty fuckable” (153)
“Don’t be shy. I got a big one for ya!” The one in the cap grabbed his crotch as we walked by..” (153)
“Always wanted to ride a Yank. Wanna come for a ride, babe?” (153)
“I like it when they’re lippy… Like to imagine just what those lips could do for me.” (154)
The point I am trying to make here, is not a bad one. Though, what pissed me off the most about this is that when Mori confronts them to try and make them apologize, the ringleader says this: “ It’s a compliment, see. You bitches just don’t know when to say thank you.” (154). This is a huge and extremely controversial issue right now, and I think that it always will be. They make extremely rude, degrading comments and then the woman is a bitch for getting upset. Sadie, the “Yank” the comments are directed to, is physically trembling in fear at this point and yet they continue despite her protests. What Petty did here, was show what happens when a woman tries to defend herself against cat calling in public. Sure, we know not all men are like this – I am not an idiot, but this still shows something that is far too common. It is the woman’s fault for dressing a certain way, for giving a certain look, for not fighting hard enough – any excuse they can find, they make it. Mori takes control here, which is one of the reasons I love her so much. She defends her friend, she forces them to truly apologize, and she makes sure her friend was okay afterwards. Petty took a serious issue and handled it so beautifully I had to talk about it.
Lock & Mori is a revamped version of one of the greatest stories of all time. It is so full of mystery, suspense, love, heartbreak, and betrayal that you will be hanging off the edge of your seat waiting to find out what is next while simultaneously wiping away your tears. This is one book that is a must read this fall – trust me, you want a copy.