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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys
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on October 20, 2012
A mixture of loony Goonery, Monty Pythonesque stances and stiff-upper-lip caricatures, Douglas Adam's wonderful "Hitchhiker" setups (but more akin to Dirk Gentley novel situations), a healthy dash of Seth Grahame-Smith styled Zombie infusions (30%), Victorian sets and dark alleyways but with Sherlock Holmes and Watson in a tad futuristic language setting in passing but in unmistakable olde London...combined with a short, punchy and fast paced 'thriller' writing style, this is not a book to be read in public or planes for fear of ridicule as one is apt to snort sporadically in laughter. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In several sentences, one reads almost BBC Goons type radio script; the lovely Jane Austen language of "Pride and Prejudice, And Zombies" or "Sense and Sensibility, And Sea Monsters" is not there (but is not missed here) and the writer focuses on a good deal of 'character assassination' ie dwells on Holmes' idiosyncrasies nicely. The only change I would have preferred is the deletion of some (very few) #### swear words, wholly unnecessary and otherwise opening up for younger readers - even if it is the modern equivalent of "damn". The corny cover could have been done a bit less tackily and the book's production jazzed up a little, not that it is not worth every cent and much, much more than the $6 asked. Occasional extra silly sentences pop up but the book/s are unquestionably really enjoyable and takes one out of the mundane world. One of my favourites, so far, is "A Scandal in Burnley".

If you are familiar with the best of British comedy (not the dumbed-down UK slapstick that now emanates post glorious "Yes Prime Minister" and "Blackadder", great stuffs (sigh), or the silly run-of the-mill comedy in the USA where sharp dry surreal humour has little place for wont of inane and easy laugh-a-minute "Friends'" humour), then this is likely to have you guffawing, hopefully privately. Then again if you don't like British humour, well, hard cheese as they say. Wish there was more.
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on July 1, 2011
I've gotta admit, I have a very serious silly streak. This book, unfortunately, exacerbated my condition. It is truly silly. Clever AND silly. The silliest part of it was the title.

There were a lot of editing errors, approximately one per page. This was annoying and interrupted the flow of silliness. But it wasn't a deal breaker. There were black and white illustrations, done in Victorian style art, which were quaint. However, they were interspersed throughout the book, and had absolutely nothing to do with the characters and/or plot. They appeared to have been "lifted" from other books. There were captions accompanying these illustrations, which, again, had nothing to do with the plot or text.

The plots were silly, the dialogue was witty, and the flying zombie death monkeys took over Parliament. I had quite a few chuckles while reading it. (Not the candies; I was amused) If you enjoy crass, irreverent slapstick, you'll probably like this.
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on December 30, 2013
I bought this as a gift for a sixteen-year-old boy. It sounded appropriate, full of fart jokes, etc. Happily, I read it before giving it to him and decided not to. Too much of the humor was "adult." I don't know who's the audience for this.
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VINE VOICEon February 21, 2011
"The rule of our country now given over to resurrected, brain chewing, flying apes" observers the ever perceptive master of mystery in this little slice of literary parody. "I wonder if anyone will notice?" answers the ever-present and long-suffering sidekick and Sherlock Holmes biographer, Dr. Watson. "Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys" delivers on it's promise of undead airborne simian brain munchery and provides plenty more to laugh at aside from the alarmingly pleasing mental image of British Parliament (you can imagine it as Congress if you like) being torn limb from limb and devoured by feces-throwing apes. Be it fighting over who had the potential romance of a woman only seconds-ago ripped apart in truly gruesome form, or simply going with the flow of planted clues to stumble onto the cause of one of the four mysteries presented in this brief anthology of Holmes's lesser known escapades, this book is a guaranteed good time.

While Watson often points out his renowned partner's "eccentricities" (or has it is put here, "what a tw@+ Holmes is") at the start of a tale, in these dregs of the great detective's adventures, Watson's observations have devolved into outright loathing as he perceives Holmes to be a bumbling, greedy buffoon. His evidence seems rather airtight in this case. Thankfully, it turns out there are few problems that can't be solved with a well-placed bullet. The four stories are the title tale (which you may have already deduced touches upon the subject of winged lived dead of the primate variety), "A Scandal in Burnley", which involves a politician's unfortunate problems concerning a picture of his rear end with a lighter held to it, "The Pain of the Pianoforted Parts" regarding rival musicians who make music using their netherparts, and of course "The Mystery of the Speckled Wang" which brings death to those who see it. Now don't get upset. Although the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys only get the title of one story, rest assured their presence carries over into the other vignettes. Ever the brilliant intellectual, Holmes finds that the carnivorous reanimated apes can be evaded by feigning bad weather and can thus traverse the streets of London unmolested while the less genius are rent and devoured about him, but regardless author Chris Wood makes sure there are brutal aerial monkey slayings aplenty throughout out heroes' journeys.

The twisted narrative is further augmented by classic illustrations with less-than-classic captions to offer up some extra snickers. Watson's loathing, Holmes' Bono-level D-baggery, a cast of flustered Victorian characters, parody, satire, and of course, the monkeys. Those wacky flying zombie death monkeys. This is what I call a winning package. Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys is a short and easy read packed with amusement that is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for some off-color absurdist humor spoofing everybody's favorite non-cowled detective. Give it a shot.
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on February 1, 2011
They say never judge a book by a cover, and I was certainly wary of this one, thinking that it might make a good shelf-filler but little more.
I'm happy to report that this is in fact a very well written pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, with a laugh on every page and the authentic feel of the real thing.

The central plot is based (somewhat obviously) around 'Flying Zombie Death Monkeys' (who act like conventional Zombies only they transmogrify their victims into creatures like themselves). In the title story, the monkeys take over first the House of Lords and then all Parliament, making them rulers of the UK (after which the notoriously biased media produce headlines such as "Our wonderful chimp rulers wisely eat 15 in Catford. A nation rejoices!")

Naturally, Holmes discovers the evil genius behind the monkeys, but is unable to get rid of the Zombie monkeys. They then proceed to crop up throughout the other stories in the book, like some minor subplot of a normal Holmes story with the ironic exception that they normally slaughter most of the charactors bar Holmes & Watson!

Aside from the first story and main theme, there are also three other stories, which are:

'A Scandal in Burnley' - A story involving a chubby member of the Bavarian royal family who is bothered by a scandalous mistress (all the while oblivious to the apocalyptic Flying monkeys slaying of random people!),
'The Pain of the Pianoforted Parts' - A prodigious talent (who can play the piano with nuts) is brought to an untimely demise...
And 'The Mystery of the Speckled Wang' - Holmes unmasks the man behind the monkeys.

Within each story, there are also seemingly appropriate pictures, with ironic captions (e.g. a picture of Holmes in the lab, holding a pipette, with the caption "For God's sake, Holmes, just use the teabags like anybody else!"

And the best thing about the book is the narration of Watson himself. Full of tongue-in-cheek asides at the expense of Holmes (in contrast to the originals), there are also comments to keep readers on their toes, such as "Holmes helped himself to a plate of tea & a cup of cake" and "Surprisingly, we found ourselves able to return to London within a single sentence."

Overall, I was very impressed & found the jokes to be balanced, easy on the eye & never too strained. It should also be added that the whole book took me less than 3 hours (and I'm a slow reader), so it's ideal for an alternative to a night's TV.
I'd even go so far to say that these 4 stories should be added to the pantheon of Conan Doyle's originals, just as Devil May Care was added to the James Bond canon.
Such new blood would freshen up an old franchise and might even make Robert Downey Junior appreciate Gervais' humour more...
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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2011
Have you ever watched "Airplane"? If you have, you know what slapstick is, which is similar to the type of humor primarily used in this parody of Sherlock Holmes stories. The stories have absolutely no purpose but to tickle the funny bone with frequent displays of repartee with little or no attention to plot. Hence the last statement of the book, below what appears to be a 19th century illustration:

"You call that a plot?"

One may also be reminded of Monty Python to a degree, but perhaps not up to the quality standards of Monty Python.

I was going to read this after another book I was reading, but decided instead to take a break from the other work. It was funny and relaxing for a change, though I regret it is a self-published book with some lack of editing. This was not severe, but simply noticeable to one that pays attention to detail -- catching the occasional misspelled word, unintentional repetition, or grammar flub. In my opinion, a major publisher could do far worse than taking on this writer's work, and polishing it for mass production.

I was a little surprised to come upon a similar title by someone else, Sherlock Holmes and the Zombie Problem, that was released a couple of months before this one.
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on February 17, 2011
"Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys" by Chris Wood can be a lot of things. Is it a novel with 4 chapters? Or it could be a book of short stories that are linked together by the appearance of flying zombie death monkeys? Mostly it's a witty parody of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.

In "Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys" we're taken to the London of Sherlock Holmes that is suddenly invaded by flying zombie death monkeys, it's not only the title it's the plot synopsis. Wood's Holmes is an idiot that has the absolute conviction of the infallibility of his logic, and an unflappable demeanor when it doesn't pan out. Holmes' sidekick Dr. Watson is here too, barely able to endure Holmes and his insufferable attitude, but Holmes provides Watson with adventures and away from the little Mrs. at home. Watson keeps mistaking the zombie death monkeys for lawyers or politicians. I'm not sure if this is political commentary or not, but it's funny. Personally, I don't understand why flying death monkeys need to be zombies, but that's beside the point.

Wood has down the cadences of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories but he also has the voice of Holmes and Watson down to make a sonorous double parody. Period pictures add to not only the feel of the stories as Sherlock Holmes, but offer more comic counterpoint at dramatic moments.

Against my better judgment, at times I found myself laughing out loud while reading "Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys." Even if you don't think flying zombie death monkeys are your thing, you'll find yourself enjoying these stories.
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on February 8, 2011
Like the originals, I found the 4 stories to be a quick read and without the need for there to be too thick a plot to get your feet tangled up in. You dive headlong into the story without much ado, only here there is now much ado about the play on words, snarky quips, and lascivious behavior so apparent in our Mr. Watson. He grew up, got sharper and a little bit meaner, and you really start to like the guy now.

Chris Wood has taken the old (and now public domain) stories, mixed them with heavy doses of inspiration from Army of Darkness, B-movie plot drivers, noir hardboiled detective novels, and even Sherlock himself. In fact, little has changed; yet, so much of it is even more irrelevant and satirical than before. If you were like me, when you read Sherlock Holmes you felt like there were so many good set-ups for one-liners. Take "In The Mystery of the Speckled Wang" (which is loosely based on ADVENTURE VIII. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND) where we find such an example. The original story's text: "Very sorry to knock you up, Watson," said he, "but it's the common lot this morning. Mrs. Hudson has been knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you."
"What is it, then-a fire?"
"No; a client."
(Yeah yeah, we all know they spoke differently back then, but it is now this tongue in cheek bit that Wood is capitalizing on.) The text from the new story plays on the phrase "knocked up" with Watson leaping over the fire and instead saying: "Which randy old sausage did that?" Yep, B-movie to the bone. Love it! You can totally see Bruce Campbell playing the part of Watson, too.
Really, this book is a humorous approach at Sherlock Holmes, with a dose of zombie monkeys, some lewd comments, and yeah, some swearing (I only bring this up for the helicopter parents that are trying to raise Eagle Scouts and future megachurch leaders. Not a lot, just a little peppered throughout, just like, you guessed it, a B-movie.)

Another cool aspect of the book is the images and their non sequitur captions. (I am assuming these are pulled from the original texts.) These too are placed throughout the book as interrupters, like a strange relic that Wood left in place and defaced appropriately.

I recommend this book to those that enjoy a good, quick story with lots of dry humor and B-movie wit. This is not for stuffy literary types, but more for those of us that read Sherlock when we were 13 and found something funny about the original Holmes stories' language (hell, we even though there was something funny going on in The Hardy Boys novels, only the kind of funny will get you jail time in most states.)
Buy the book; it was a good time.
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Chris Wood writes so well that the reader must seek information before beginning his books to realize that he is a humorist of the highest order: his Sherlock Holmes series (this is his second after SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE UNDERPANTS OF DEATH) is a parody not only of the quintessential detective and his partner Dr. Watson, but also a roasting of Victorian conventions and even current UK government and present social mores.

The book contains four stories or novellas, the title of the book SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FLYING ZOMBIE DEATH MONKEYS is the leading and most hilarious of the group. In addition to the title story the book contains A SCANDAL IN BURNLEY, THE PAIN OF THE PIANOFORTED PARTS, and THE MYSTERY OF THE SPECKLED WANG. Wood places Dr. Watson as the narrator and Wood's Watson is not always that respectful of his colleague! The title story finds Holmes and Watson led to the underground area of Parliament (where above them the politicians are described as 'The regular drone of issues being discussed was interrupted only by the steady hum of snoring and the occasional splutter of someone dying in their sleep.....I sat in the viewing gallery, overlooking the majesty of debate, taking in the finery of the scene. The grand robe sat well on many a distinguished shoulder, as the greatly advanced in years sat with senile precision on the issues of the day. This, I thought, is how weighty matters should be resolved - by ancient men far removed from the common folk, a majority of nearly one thousand ruling over our serene nation by dint of birth.' and meanwhile the underpinnings of the Parliament become ridden with zombies who fly about and feast on the brains of any available human and it is up to Holmes (and Watson) to squelch the horror and return peace to London.

In other stories characters appear such as 'Sir Kenneth Knackers, Minister of Foreigners Screwing Around', and a 'Mr. Sebastian Hotly-Soughtafter, Services to genteel ladies' with a 'Pelvis like an oiled Hinge'. Dialogue is filled with hilarious malapropisms disguised as Victoriana and the book is unafraid to poke fun at its own stories, as when Dr. Watson remarks "For God's sake, Holmes.' I yelled in some consternation. 'This is the Nineteenth Century. We don't use phrases like that for about another ninety years.' Though the humor and parody are rampant here, Wood does not forget his own teachings in writing (as in his highly successful book THE INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD THRILLER) and all four stories follow the rules of the orginal Sherlock Holmes formulaic writing - just with a tongue in cheek style that is completely ingratiating. Chris Wood is a talented writer (and respected journalist) and he most assuredly has found a new niche in writing parody. One wonders if he will continue along the lines of the greatest sleuth in literature - or just where is caustic and humorist eye and pen will land next! Grady Harp, January 11
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on February 5, 2011
Have just read this latest offering from the pen of Chris Wood of some of the (until now) untold adventures of the great detective and his faithful sidekick and biographer, Watson. Following on from the excellent Underpants of Death we see the duo solve another 4 seemingly impossible crimes all set against the backdrop of a plague of brain eating zombies (just to complicate matters!).

I found this to be an excellent read with plenty of laugh out loud moments, great gags and all round general silliness. Find out what Watson really thinks of Holmes; discover an extremely interesting way to play the tuba and marvel at Holmes' ability to completely transform himself using only a pair of plastic glasses and a false moustache. Add in some of the original illustrations with new and hilarious captions and you have all the ingredients for an extremely entertaining read.

For all fans both of the great duo themselves or simply if you like your humour in the "Pythonesque" style this offering does not disappoint and is definitely recommended.
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