I polished off my second book of the year, Easy Death, in a single day. There’s something satisfying about that, akin to getting a Same Day Lay in daygame. Feeling emboldened in my reading habits by the quick kill, I perused my book shelf for the next victim. I’m currently playing Assassins Creed Syndicate DLC ‘Jack The Ripper’ and thus the grimy smog-choked streets of Victorian London fill my mind. Right then, let’s try a book set in the same milieu. My local Forbidden Planet store regularly puts Titan Books paperbacks into the three-for-£1.99 sale and I’d gotten all five of Kurland’s Moriarty series in that sale. I read volume 1 (The Infernal Device) last year and enjoyed it. Time for volume 2.
A few days ago I was re-watching Frank Kern’s famous CORE Influence seminar that he gave to a crowd of internet marketing wannabes in 2008. I’d first seen it upon the urging of my friend Steve Jabba, who was at that time obsessed with building his internet PUA business and especially in ‘conversion rate optimisation’  and I was struck by how similar it was to Tyler’s The Blueprint Decoded from later in the same year . It was very good and I thoroughly recommend it. I intend to do a post going into detail, but let’s keep to the book review here. The centrepiece to Kern’s presentation is The Question. It changed his life and will change yours 
“If there were no limitations or consequences, what would your perfect average day look like?”
This must be a day you can relive every day without dying or getting sick of it. Thus one-off coke-and-hooker binges are not relevant. Kern related that he asked himself that question when he was in the depths of despair. He’d gotten rich and gotten the Ferrari, but his life was dogged by anxiety and existential angst. He’d climbed his mountain and didn’t like where he’d gotten. In the presentation Kern pulls out his notes, his own answers to The Question. His perfect average day involved waking up to a view of the beach, sharing a huge walk-in shower, surfing, and other such activities unique to his personal interest.
While watching the presentation a few days ago, I naturally asked myself The Question. This is what surprised me.
I am now living my perfect average day.
It’s not 100%, and it’s more accurate to say I have two perfect average days. When the Euro Jaunt season is on, I have my adventuring days. When the season closes, I have my hibernation days. Catabolism and anabolism. Let me describe my perfect average hibernation day.
Wake up at 11am in a warm comfortable bed. Put on my burgundy dressing gown and monster feet slippers, then walk downstairs into a peacefully silent home. Put the heating on and brew a filter coffee, then sit in a sofa chair next to the warm radiator checking my favourite websites. I’m not a morning person so it takes an hour to switch on my mind. By then it’s time for my second coffee. That’s when I pick up a paperback and start reading, say Death By Gaslight.
An hour or two passes absorbed in the book. I occasionally message my friends and girlfriends on WhatsApp. If I’m feeling really scandalous, I’ll make a third cup of coffee . Then I’ll have a hot shower, get dressed, and begin my work day. Three times a week I squeeze in a gym session before that.
I put my laptop and supplies into my lovely custom leather rucksack  and walk across a few grassy fields to the local Costa Cafe. They know me well there and brew my favourite large latte before I even reach the cashier. Then I’ll tap away on my various projects. I’ll be fulfilling orders of Daygame Infinite, replying to blog comments, writing a new book, supervising my contractors, or whatever else is needed to run the Krauser Empire. When I feel like it, I’ll close my laptop and go back to my paperback. Sometimes I’ll just stare out into space and enjoy the pleasure of being healthy, solvent, and alive.
At some point I’ve done my planned work so I’ll walk to the local pub and choose a delicious meal from their menu. Often it’s a Sunday roast with beef, mash, garden vegetables and gravy. Then I’ll return to my bedroom where a large TV is linked up to my PS4 and gaming PC. I’ll watch Youtube, or Netflix, or boxing shows, or anime . I’ll also play a lot of video games.
That is my answer to Frank Kern’s question. When I’m hibernating, that’s how I want to live my life 
Why do I bring this up now, in a book review of a Sherlock Holmes spin-off novel? Because it was while reading Death By Gaslight that I was really made away of how much I love my life. Frank Kern had asked the question and, having made big changes in my life, I had my answer. It feels so satisfying to sit in my favourite chair, in my monster feet, and work through another novel. There was a time I sat in a dreary London office, tapping into a spreadsheet, and looking wistfully through the window at all the tourists who seemed so much freer and happier than I.
If you haven’t tried them already, I strongly recommend the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. I read them all one summer before starting college and they had a profound impact upon my naive young mind. It was like a vista of infinite possibility had opened before me, that the human mind properly trained had no limits. Holmes, fictional character though he is, remains one of my heroes. So, when I learned there’s an entire niche of new novels by modern authors creating new stories with the same cast, I looked into it.
Unfortunately, most of them are ho-hum mediocre works. They are diverting if you like that fictional universe but I certainly wouldn’t recommend them to someone who doesn’t. Under no circumstances even open one of those books until you’ve read all of Conan Doyle’s originals . When I saw there was a Moriarty series I was intrigued. The evil professor is a minor character in the Conan Doyle stories, a shadowy figure who is alluded to as a malign background manipulator but who gets very little actual screen time. So, here was a gap in the market. A chance to experience the Sherlock Holmes mythos from the other side, and to flesh out a fascinating character who Conan Doyle had left under-explored.
So, does Michael Kurland succeed where most homage writers have not? Yes, and no.
The first thing to note is Kurland is not a hack writer. He’s written thirty books, including the non-fiction How To Solve A Murder: The Forensic Handbook . His first Moriarty book won an Edgar Award nomination. Also, he didn’t just rush these Moriarty books out for the cash: it took thirty years to finish the five-volume series. Death By Gaslight was written in 1982 and thus before the pozz. Therefore it was unlikely to contain any of the following:
- openly gay or transsexual characters
- ass-kicking feminist go-grrrrls
- persistent anti-white propaganda
Modern novels bought in Forbidden Planet are likely to contain much of this pozz, turning the book section into a shithole. I’d be interested to see what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a very stable genius, would make of the currently pozzed paperback world.
I digress. The point is I was hopeful. On paper, Kurland can do the business. His first volume The Infernal Device was indeed a good little romp through the Ottoman Empire. Death By Gaslight moves it back to London and concerns a serial killer brutally stalking and assassinating men of the upper class . These scenes are written as intermissions from the killer’s perspective and effectively convey the sense or revenge for previous wrongs, while withholding his identity and the specifics of his motive. Holmes is brought in by Whitehall to oversea the murder investigation. On the other side of central London, Moriarty is conspiring to rob Lord East, a nobleman returning from colonial service in India with a hoard of treasure for the British Museum.
It’s here where I started to feel the poz. Kurland is no SJW but the story starts to drip with malign anti-Civilisation virtue signalling. Lord East is presented as a vain buffoon who has stolen from the noble Indians. Message: Colonialism was BAD, whites are BAD. Moriarty – a career criminal and evil mastermind – intends to steal back the treasures to return them to the Indians in a Robin Hood-like act of Marxist appropriation 
As a criminal, Moriarty must disguise his schemes so one front he constructs is a news service run by his American sidekick Benjamin Barnett, an affable and slightly dim Captain Hastings type .
Hastings Barnett has hired Cecily Perrine to manage the service, a no-nonsense independent woman he promptly falls in love with. Thus is the romantic interest subplot.
This is where my “yes and no” answer comes in.
As a potboiler, Death By A Gaslight is a competently constructed detective story that shuttles along at an engaging clip. The various plot threads are woven together artfully, as the serial killings, the heist, the romance, the Moriarty-Holmes rivalry, the counter-intelligence operation by the Hellfire Club, and the police procedural all intertwine into an explosive payoff . The pacing is fine, as is the description and dialogue. I had no problem sinking into the scene and feeling Victorian London around me. It made me keen to play Assassins Creed Syndicate afterwards.
The problem is the violence it does to the Sherlock Holmes legacy. Arthur Conan Doyle would’ve likely horsewhipped Kurland for his pozz. Here are some examples:
- Sherlock Holmes is presented as a vainglorious, vindictive, prissy fool who makes effective deductions half the time but the other half gets into comedic situations as if he’s Wile E Coyote. This is NOT the Holmes from Conan Doyle. I realise Kurland is attempting to make it light-hearted but that too is a tonal mistake. Nothing in the orginal stories is light-hearted except the interplay between Holmes and Watson. Even then, they never look like fools. It’s offensive to see your hero abused and ridiculed when his creator is dead and can’t defend him. It’s a bit like how Disney is shitting on Star Wars.
- Moriarty is no longer Moriarty. If Kurland didn’t repeatedly tell you he’s a criminal mastermind you’d never know it. He’s more like an NGO do-gooder. So far as I remember he never murders anyone no gives the order to. Even in this story, when the black hats are literally sex-slaving sadistic mass-torturers, it falls to the serial killer to dispense justice. Moriarty just watches it happen with a wry smile. Why couldn’t he be dark and evil like Conan Doyle wrote him?
- The tone is all over the place. At times it’s whimsical between
HastingsBarnett and Sporty SpicePerrine and at others we are dealing with kidnapped teenager women locked up in dungeons and sexually tortured in a Hostel-like sadist’s playground. How can you have vicious murderers loose in London while the main heroes are all “I say old chap, that’s a capital argument”? Not convincing. You can’t do Raymond Chandler and Mickey Mouse in the same book.
The Strong Independent Woman is an unlikable cunt. Midway through the book, chapter 15,
Hastings Barnett proposes to her. Obviously he’s a totally limp fag when he does so. She gives him a long drawn-out refusal because she’s too focused on her career and feminism. Consider this exchange, just after the “no”:
“You love me?” Barnett said.
“Of course I love you,” Cecily replied. “What do you think I’ve been telling you?”
“Oh,” he said. “But-now let me see if I understand this correctly- you don’t want to marry me because then you’d have to stay at home and tend babies, if we had any babies, rather than being free to pursue your career as a journalist.”
“That’s right,” Cecily said. “Although you make it sound horrible. What is so wrong with a woman’s wanting to do something with her life?”
So, the main female protagonist considers starting a family with the man she loves to be a bad idea, but become a journalist  to be doing something with her life. This is in a novel set in 1887!
That’s how pozzed it is. It surprised me because Kurland doesn’t look like a soyboy.
Once Cecily was kidnapped, I was rather hoping the sexual sadists would just murder her. What a worthless parasite to her tribe. I’ll leave it at that. So, do I recommend the book? The pozz is fairly muted so it’s not as in-your-face as an episode of Law & Order. Also, pozz aside it’s a decent potboiler written with some ability. I’ve got three more of the series on my shelf and intend to try at least one more of them. My liking of the precis is sufficient that I’m willing to endure the pozz.
If you find me an opinionated boor then you’re going to really hate that I’ve spent the last eight years jaunting around Europe banging loads of hot girls half my age, and then writing about it.
 An activity which is both science and scam. As many magnates are each famously attributed to saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” CRO seems to be such a conundrum.
 So much so that, given the timeline, I have concluded Tyler ripped off Kern uncredited. It’s extremely similar in theme, terminology, and rationale. It’s like comparing Street Hu…. wait, let’s not go there.
 He’s an internet marketer, so don’t take anything he says at face value.
 I like to live life on the edge like that.
 Custom made by a leather store in Bangkok a year ago. Thoroughly recommended for Euro Jaunting as you can design it precisely to fit everything you need in cabin carry-on baggage.
 I’m not an otaku. I watch Detective Conan and Golgo 13 nowadays. Just dipped into City Hunter to see if I like it.
 Not exclusively and forever, but right now, in winter, that’s exactly what I want. I can’t enjoy the adventuring and shagging around Europe if I haven’t accomplished things and completed projects during hibernation. Nor can I afford it.
 Same advice for anyone interested in Conan the Cimmerian. Read the Robert E. Howard collection first before trying the Tor paperbacks by new writers.
 Yes, I know. Sounds ace doesn’t it.
 This is a red flag, from the Law & Order school of “the killer is always the richest, white-est most establishment male in the cast”. It also suggests a Stieg Larsson type cucking, where every successful white man is a cowardly sexual sadist and every non-white is a magic negro of Mandela proportions.
 If I was the Sheriff of Nottingham, I’d have strung up Robin Hood and his merry men. I know Marxism when I see it, and would show no compunction in cutting out the cancer before it metastizes.
 The sidekick to Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s classic series.
 Explosive in the literal sense. It’s not good enough to be explosive in narrative figurative sense but it’s still enjoyable and worth sticking around for.
 Which is only one step above pedophile, in the moral order of the universe.