Note to self—if you’re going to write a review don’t wait days and days after you finish the book.
Affinity Bridge has been described as a steampunk “Sherlock Holmes” relaunch with Zombies. Well, there’s a detective and his faithful sidekick. They do work with Scotland Yard and there are some superficial similarities between Sir Maurice and Holmes. Miss Hobbs, however, is not a Dr. Watson and I don’t recall Holmes having a job as a researcher at the British Museum. So let’s go with a steampunk mystery in the style of Sherlock Holmes (with zombies).
I’m over zombies but at least Mr. Mann makes them interesting. In Affinity Bridge the zombies are ill. It’s identified as a virus or at least I vaguely remember something about a virus. I guess we could be post-Beijerinck but it struck me as incongruous. Anyway, the zombies are NOT the main problem and they’re not even the big bad.
So there’s this zeppelin crash. That’s the launch of the mystery and it’s also demonstrates one of the few ways this book disappoints. There are issues with pacing and character consistency. The pacing really goes off the rails near the end of the book but the plot recovers nicely and there are unexpected twists. That’s always a good thing.
So I’m going to recommend this book because it isn’t slavishly devoted to recapitulating Sherlock Holmes and it creates an interesting and engaging mystery. I was surprised by a few of the twist and turns and there’s even a hint of psychic powers and magic.