Review: Mark Frost, The List of Seven and The 6 Messiahs (fiction)

Alan P. Scott - Rants - Reviews

elementary conspiracy theories

I came away from The List of 7 with a good impression, so pounced on the The 6 Messiahs when I saw it in the library.

Frankly, I like Mark Frost. I think that he did a fine job reining in the excesses of David Lynch when they were working on Twin Peaks together (if that is indeed what did it - I find Lynch's movies, with the possible exception of Blue Velvet, far too self-indulgent). And Frost's an interesting writer, in a slightly-deeper-than-best-sellerish way (to create an incredibly ugly hyphenated phrase).

The List of 7 takes a semi-historical, conspiratarian look at Arthur Conan Doyle and the (supposedly) real-life model for Sherlock Holmes, Jack Sparks. I don't remember a lot about the book now, but as I recall to me it seemed like Foucault's Pendulum Lite® - but in a good way. The 6 Messiahs (7, 6... well, at least you know how many sequels are planned, eh?) follows Doyle to the American Southwest, where the mysterious Reverend A. Glorious Day's smiling followers are building a black stone cathedral to... something. I will say no more, to avoid spoilers.

Doyle is well-portrayed as an author sick of his creation - this is set just after he wrote the death of Sherlock Holmes, and there are scenes full of snickers early in the book about Holmes-crazed fans bugging him to bring the sleuth back from his watery grave.

I enjoyed the cinematic pacing of the book, and the breadth of scenery is impressive; the characterization is vivid but shallow, though, and the prose is on the whole pedestrian - definitely a light read. But I liked it, for all that.

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