Audiobook Review | “Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil” by William Todd, narrated by Ben Werling

Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Sherlock Holmes in a Reflection of Evil” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author William Todd in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in listening to this story about Holmes:

As I was listening to the sampler of “A Reflection of Evil”, I noticed strong influences out of the canon itself and thus, was quite intrigued to listen to the whole story – seeing how Mr Todd interwove his story next to the ones we all know of being ‘Holmes’. Therefore, when I set to mind which topic I wanted to ask the author for the tour, I chose to focus on how he made the transition into voicing Holmes and giving us an authentic re-entry therein.

-quoted from the guest feature I hosted ahead of this review

This is what is most crucial for me when selecting after canon writers to read or listen to via audiobooks – of finding the writers who truly love the original stories and characters to the brink they enjoy bringing them back to life with their own unique insight into who they are as their stories continue forward. I was not disappointed by what I found inside the novella!

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Audiobook Review | “Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil” by William Todd, narrated by Ben WerlingSherlock Holmes in a Reflection in Evil
by William Todd
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Ben Werling

After months of inactivity, Holmes and Watson have two cases thrust in their lap in a single day. First, a mysterious woman from Swansea, Wales, seeks Holmes' help finding her husband who has disappeared in the middle of the night. As soon as she leaves, Holmes receives word that there has been a prison riot with several dead and a few inmates missing. Lestrade is asking for his services.

Holmes believes the two cases are not a coincidence, but he has no idea who is behind it and to what end. They go to Swansea in what could be either a wild goose chase or a setup. Will Holmes unravel the mystery before they get to Swansea? If not what will be in store for them when they step off the train?

Places to find the book:

ASIN: B078SC6TCM

Also by this author: Guest Post about A Reflection in Evil, Murder in Keswick

Also in this series: Murder in Keswick


Genres: After Canons, Classic Detective, Classical Literature, Crime Fiction, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 5th January, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 2 hours and 4 minutes (unabridged)

Self Published Audiobook

William Todd’s Sherlock Holmes stories:

Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window

Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About William Todd

William Todd

I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on.

I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP.

After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just released Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.

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my review of a reflection of evil:

As soon as you hear Mr Werling’s voice inside your headphones as your listening to A Reflection of Evil – you can denote how authentically Holmes is being portrayed in this story! There is a particular appeal for me to find another writer who can give us more of the cases Holmes might have investigated as I do love how Holmes worked out the methodologies of the cases he took on as he truly had a brilliant mind; all of us can agree about that. Yet, there is a particular voice to Holmes and I was quite wicked happy finding it coming through so very loud and clear!

We are given a short introduction of the current state of affairs by Dr Watson, who of course, is setting the stage for how this mystery shall unfold. Apparently they had recently been passing through a rather somber period of where no new mysteries were needing to be solved and in essence, the two of them were occupying their hours in wait for one to arrive post haste. It is 1896, the cusp of a new century is about to burst on the horizon – where Watson was seeking something out of the paper to draw Holmes out of his reverie. In true Holmes nature, it didn’t surprise me the reasons he gave Watson for downplaying the urgency of finding ‘lost dogs’ as you can tell how this would be beneath the great detective as it wouldn’t exercise his need to sleuth out the clues to the caliber he was used to experiencing.

In true Holmes fashion, he likes to entertain himself by solving something he finds imperative to understand – here we find him messing about with locking mechanisms which of course proved to be quite interesting as he was about to have an unexpected visitor. For some reason, this brought to mind many a scene from Elementary where Watson would find herself encircled by a project Holmes had strewn throughout the house in order to gain a better perspective about whatever it was which made sense only to his eyes of thought. Even finding Mrs Hudson had a strong voice and the personality of having long weathered Holmes demands felt fitting – as she had to put up with so much when it came to Holmes hearing him dictate the things he wanted at the market was not a shocked surprise!

It wasn’t until a woman (Ann Merrick) came seeking out their help when Holmes and Watson felt they might have caught sight of a case worthy of their attention. Yet, it wouldn’t be proper if Holmes didn’t entertain his prowess for observation by instructing the woman to answer certain questions before he would address whether or not this was a case he felt was worthy of his time. She was alarmed by the disappearance of her husband Darren and as she recounted the issues surrounding her husband’s absence she continued to smoke; whether due to her nerves, a motive not yet disclosed or a natural habit notwithstanding.

By the time she left, Holmes was pleased by catching the case – even if he caught her in a hiccup of knowing where she was fetching a train home. It was this small infraction I could tell was encouraging to Holmes, as there was something slightly off about the woman; even I noticed that as soon as she started talking. I had to smirk when Holmes disclosed why her pattern of smoking was of importance in knowing a hidden secret about her behaviour and how this revealled her truer nature. The further he revealled what his observations would tell him about her motives, even Dr Watson was quite amazed by everything his partner was disclosing even if he thought rather bemusedly Holmes would pass on taking the case. The opposite was true as despite the curious nature of why there were fragmented pieces of truth lingering about Mrs Merrick’s tale of woe, Holmes was smitten by the chance to ferret out what was truth from fiction.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard implores them to take-on an urgent request straight from Lestrade which Holmes insists can be postponed. Even Watson was a bit curious towards the logic of that statement until of course Holmes explains his position and the reasons why pursuing the first case is more important than chasing after Lestrade. Lestrade of course was not going to be easily avoided which is why I was not the least bit surprised they all ended up on the train together! By the time Lestrade entered into the scene, I was happily envisioning Brackenreid (from Murdoch Mysteries) was being channelled into how he was presented! It was a jolly good surprise as I love how fierce Brackenreid comes across despite the fact he cares for his men and the concerns of his city.

You have to give it to Holmes – nothing can get past him even if you think you can pull a fast one over him! I had a jolly good laugh at how the plainclothes constables were easily spied in their seats but moreso, how Holmes had a way of moving his thoughts further afield from where Watson had settled his own. In this way, you could see how Watson might sometimes become vexed by how he was left in the dark about things Holmes had already resolved in his own theories and the avenues in which he had rooted out through his own ponderings. I know Watson admired Holmes greatly, however, there are moments where I think sometimes he wished Holmes would talk things out a bit more than hold so much back that in the end, it nearly felt like he was humbly following in his stead but without the right way of thought towards understanding what they were pursuing.

What was most enjoyable was the music which is peppered throughout the narration – including at times where there is an action sequence erupting out of a moment of dialogue exchanges between Holmes and Watson. It added to the radio theatre overtures which I felt were reminiscent in this novella since it started.

I loved how a lot of the action of the story takes place on a train! It is one of my favourite settings for a mystery which has limited settings to explore, as it gives a locked-in view of everything that is being observed. It also allows characters to have just enough room to stretch and evolve through the mystery itself. Yet, it is the uncertainties of being on a moving train that also leads to the dire circumstances that can evolve through the actions of others who might have nefarious reasons for outwitting those who pursue them such as Holmes and Watson. The dramatic bits were well-paced and they felt true to the nature of how Holmes was working this case.

I should have seen it coming – how Moriarty would weasel his way into the fray Holmes was moving at such a high clip towards rendezvousing! Moriarty has such a heightened sense of confidence in what he can accomplish and of his place in the world. He seems especially keen on causing friction for Holmes but it’s how he has an equal tenacity to understand the complexities Holmes himself finds alluring to unravel is why they work so well as each others’ nemesis! Moriarty always felt to me to be the opposite of Holmes in regards to his moral code but also, they had such equality of mind towards each other, it’s hard to know how Holmes can come up ahead of him when there are moments where you truly don’t trust anything Moriarty says about anything!

The dramatic narrative owns well to what we know about the conflict Holmes has with Moriarty but also to the lengths in which Moriarty is willing to go in order to ensnare our beloved detective. Yet, this is only partially the appeal for me for listening to how the story unfolded; as I had forgotten this might parlay into the Moriarty arc of interest – no, for me, it was how each of the main characters: Holmes, Watson and Lestrade were each treated with such an authentic voice who had a new perspective to impart on us about their relationships to each other which interested me the most. I also loved seeing how Mr Todd would re-instill us into this world – where Holmes is still actively sleuthing and taking on cases which would put him into dangers he hadn’t fully prepared himself to untangle himself out of even if he thinks ahead more than the average person!

on how mr todd embodied the spirit of holmes:

I truly loved the language and articulation of the characters’ thoughts as spirited through how Mr Todd etched out a familiar dialogue of a traditional Holmes story-line. You can find this tale could be easily inserted into the canon, to offer a clue to some of the missing cases Holmes could have tackled during those moments we were unfamiliar with his wanderings. Even the way in which he had Holmes and Watson conferring with each other was quite lovely as they were acting in the manners in which we’ve grown accustomed to them being found.

It was just the focus on Holmes himself which endeared me to this story, but rather how equal I found Watson being focused upon as well. Watson sometimes can become overshadowed by Holmes, but in this novella, it felt as if Watson had his equal due of the spotlight which was wonderful as you get to see how he thinks out what he’s observing whilst you get a small insight how he is as a doctor when a crisis an arise. I truly enjoyed getting to know Watson a bit better in this vein of light and of seeing how the duality of the narrative shifting between both his and Holmes’ perspectives were aptly handled by Mr Todd.

Everything about this novella felt true to the spirit of Holmes, which is what I was hoping to find inside it. I enjoyed watching how Mr Todd pulled everything together – from how he moved from changing the points of view between the characters we all know and love and the new ones who were giving Holmes quite a good chase! I am looking forward to seeing more by Mr Todd where he embraces his Holmes inclinations and gives us all a lovely collection of stories we can read alongside the original canon with a heap of joy.

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About Ben Werling

Ben is an award winning actor and voice over professional, who has performed all across the United States. From Shakespeare to Neil Simon, he has displayed a versatility and diversity in the characters and dialects he has portrayed.

Ben received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Leading Actor as abusive talk show host Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian's TALK RADIO, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as Prosecutor Villeforte in Alexander Dumas' THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, also in Chicago. He has worked with an extensive list of theaters in Chicago over the last three decades: Steppenwolf, Bailiwick, Famous Door, Next, A Red Orchid, Raven Theater, First Folio, Writer's Theater, Buffalo Theater Ensemble, as well as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory, Madison Repertory, and Allenberry Playhouse in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.

He is an Ensemble member of Shattered Globe Theater in Chicago. For almost a decade he was the voice of the Adler Planetarium, hosting live shows and pointing out the stars, planets and constellations on the big dome. Ben has an eponymous weekly vlog on YouTube, that he films, produces, edits and narrates. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy, two dogs and three cats.

I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This is my first time listening to Mr Werling’s narrations.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Dr Watson: If I were to imagine what Watson’s voice would sound like, Mr Werling has surely captured it! I loved how easily you can imagine the scenes due to how he’s narrating the story in such a way as to feel as if these are not new stories but old companions to the original canon. The voicing was strong and definitively ‘Watson’ if that makes sense.

Sherlock Holmes: Holmes is a quirky character on the offset and I liked how he was approached in this story – even how his voice was given to measure out how pensive he is when he’s speaking whilst honouring how he is particularly precise about what he chooses to disclose.

Secondary Characters:

The women: The women in the story weren’t entirely feminine in how they sounded as there wasn’t a lot of altered voicing between the genders in the story itself. In fact, I felt their bits were slightly rushed moreso than Watson and Holmes whose sequences felt more organic and natural. Except I did prefer Mrs Hudson’s voice over Ann Merrick’s.

Lestrade: I had to laugh a bit – as Lestrade had a certain ‘edge’ to his voice and a purposefulness in his tone – although, for some reason he reminded me of Brackinreid on Murdoch Mysteries! Such a fitting similarity I kept smiling each time I heard his voice!

the men who work with Lestrade: I couldn’t help but think these were burly men who took their jobs seriously – their voices were strong and sounded just as you would think they would talk if you were making enquiries with them. For some reason those moments with Lestrade and his men made me smile as I always found it good fodder for how Lestrade would attempt to investigate ahead of Holmes but falling a bit short each time he tried to outwit him.

How the story sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

The story moved through periods of narrative and theatrical intonations – one thing which aided the allure of this novella to be listened to is how the musical interludes were continuing throughout the duration of the narration. In the first chapter, it was only featured in the very beginning – yet by the second chapter, the music held on a bit longer before breaking away to let the characters take the lead once more. It was quite a clever way to pace the audiobook and one I found I took a liking to finding!

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the novella:

I was truly taken by the performance and articulation of the drama as it was performed by Mr Werling! He made this an enjoyable feast of soaking into a new story of Holmes & Watson – so much so, it’s hard to remember as your listening to it the story was not from Sir Arthur but a contemporary writer who has found a particular niche in entreating back into the canon and finding leeway enough to create his own niche of stories which befit the originals.

There are several characters who have a distinctive accent and I enjoyed listening to their sequences. I love how narrators can alter their voice – not just between female and male characters but how they can etch out different accents as well. It gives a sense of place and a particular nod towards ‘where’ the characters are when your listening to them.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

The music was quirky and had an uptempo! It is a part of the beginning and certain parts of what I would consider ‘intermission’ moments where Holmes and Watson are in pursuit – such as where the Chapters fade into each other. I liked having the musical interludes as generally I listen to audiobooks without ambient sound and this made it feel like radio theatre.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Hmm… I felt this novella was so well presented by Mr Werling, I fear it might lose some of it’s joy if it were to be read in print. I would imagine I might continue to feel this way about all the stories of Holmes Mr Todd is composing – thereby, I am thinking I shall continue to seek these out in audiobook editions wherein I hope Mr Werling can continue as narrator!

In closing, would I seek out another Ben Werling audiobook?

I’m hoping he will be narrating more stories by Mr Todd – especially the ones featuring Holmes as I couldn’t quite imagine changing narrators as he’s done such a wicked job at harnessing the character and presenting such a lovely narration to enjoy listening too!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Audiobookworm Promotions Event Host badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

Whilst participating on:

A Reflection of Evil audiobook tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “A Reflection of Evil”, book synopsis, author & narrator biography, photograph of William Todd as well as the Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Self-Published Author, Sequel Authors




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2 responses to “Audiobook Review | “Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil” by William Todd, narrated by Ben Werling

  1. KATE SARSFIELD

    Thank you for sharing your review with us. I couldn’t have asked for a more in-depth yet succinct description of what to expect.

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Sarsfield,

      Thank you for giving me this beautifully lovely comment! I was overjoyed realising how much you loved reading my ruminative thoughts and how keen you were about what to expect if you were to listen to this story yourself! :) This is the best note to receive – thank you for blessing me with your visit!

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