I'm a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories and love the BBC show, so I'm always interested in a new take on the character. Lock & Mori is a young adult novel with a couple of variations from the original. First of all, it's set in modern-day London and Sherlock and Moriarty are both in high school. The biggest change though is that in Petty's story Moriarty, or Mori as she's known, is a girl.
I thought this was a solid first novel, and I was totally on board with the developing romance between Sherlock and Mori. Petty did a good job of not only bringing these characters into the modern day but also imagining what they would be like as teenagers. Both the main characters are, fittingly, pretty brilliant, but definitely still in the awkward teenage phase and it totally works. I especially loved Mori's character because in this novel she is a well-developed, nuanced character with some really dark stuff going on her life. To start out, her mother recently died and now her father has become an alcoholic who beats her younger brothers and verbally abuses Mori when she tries to stand up for them. And that's just the beginning. While she's still extremely intelligent, Mori in this novel is much less predictable than Sherlock. With so many personal issues going on, she makes a lot of questionable decisions without stopping to logically think through how things will turn out. For me, this made her character a bit easier to relate to and sympathize with because there are times when she acts purely on emotion.
Now, onto the plot. As you would expect from a Sherlock retelling, the plot centers around a murder mystery. Sherlock and Mori team up to see if they can solve the case on their own, but Mori ends up keeping some secrets along the way. Petty's writing was really compelling and made me want to finish this book as quickly as possible. For me, this made up for the fact that parts of the mystery were a bit predictable. Also, like I mentioned, there's some romance to this story that you don't see in many Sherlock retellings. The romance between the two main characters developed quickly, but still felt natural to me. I also liked that, while this a decent amount of romance throughout, it doesn't take away from the murders as the main focus of the story.
Lock & Mori is the first book in what will eventually be a series, with two more books planned. From Petty's website it looks like we can expect about a year between each, with the next books planned for fall 2016 and fall 2017. Unlike most series I read, I actually went into this one knowing that it's not yet finished. I was somewhat hesitant, but Lock & Mori was definitely worth it. I also felt like the ending had just enough of cliffhanger to make me want more, but not so much that I was outraged about not being able to read the second book.