Red Leech: 12/27/17
Red Leech (aka Rebel Fire) by Andrew Lane is the second of the Young Sherlock Holmes series. The book in the United States has a different title than it's British original form and that title change, reflects what the different publishers think is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the convoluted plot.
Although I am in the United States I choose to refer to this book by its original title. The leech title, as in giant blood sucking worms, fits with the theme of the first book, Death Cloud. There it's Africanized bees and here it's a rare and unusually large leech.
But as an American, I'm supposed to be drawn to the other plot point, namely that one of the villains claims to be John Wilkes Booth. His dubious inclusion in the book necessitates a title change to Rebel Fire to make the entire plot about the American Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln. Except in the grand scheme of things, that part of the book is pretty much a small red herring compared to the GIANT RED LEECHES.
Plot-wise the book is all over the map (literally and figuratively). Sherlock and his tutor leave the English countryside for the American South. Clearly though this must be an alternate history because the events laid out here are as plausible as if Guy Fawkes were revealed to be Miguel de Cervantes.