Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Blog Tour: Review + Author Q&A + Giveaway

Lock & Mori
by Heather W. Petty
Read: July 18 - 23, 2015
Published:  September 15, 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you, Simon!)
Category: YA, Sherlock Holmes, James Moriarty, Contemporary, mystery, murder

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students, one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James "Mori" Moriarty, meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more.

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London's Regent's Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James "Mori"Moriarty and Sherlock "Lock" Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock's one rule--they must share every clue with each other--Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can't trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

Below my thoughts on the book, don't miss my 
Q&A with author Heather W. Petty 
and the giveaway at the end of the post!

What if Moriarty had been a girl and Sherlock a boy and they'd gone to high school together and fallen in love?  That is exactly what Lock & Mori proposes. And this time the story is told in the perspective of the girl, James Moriarty. 

I've always been drawn to Sherlock Holmes and it was a treat read this book and see him as a contemporary teen, navigating high school with his intelligence and eccentricities. I've never been very interested in his counterpart, the villain Moriarty, but I will say that after reading this book, I have more of an appreciation for Mori, at least this version of her. She definitely frustrated me at times, and Lock remains my favorite. But I understood and hurt and sympathized and cheered with her. I also very much worry for her in the future. 

Three things that surprised me about this book: 

1) Lock & Mori was way more intense than I anticipated. The story has darkness in it - crime, murder and a killer on the loose as you'd expect from a story featuring a future detective and criminal. But it was the family turmoil in these characters' lives - especially Mori's - and the personal connections to the unfolding plot that raised the intensity level for me. Plus, it's all shaping the characters into who they will be in the future, which is both fascinating and frightening. 

2This book was also way more romantic than I expected. I absolutely loved watching Sherlock and Moriarty's relationship grow. These two bring on the swoon, and I cannot say enough about how much I adore Lock. He and Mori are so similar in their brilliance, and are pretty much a perfect match as minds go, but their circumstances in life are different and the way they react to them begins to pull them apart. We are shaped by our circumstances - both good and bad - but not everyone will make the same choice in the same situation, and that is an equally important factor in determining the people we become. It is also going to be an important factor as this series develops. 

3) I didn't realize how afraid I'd be to keep reading this series. *Bites nails* I enjoyed imagining these beloved (or hated) characters from an earlier age - as teens living in a modern London. Watching how their world shapes them into who we know they are to become in the future. But it was also very hard for me to see them together and caring for each other knowing who each of them becomes. I'm not sure how I'll handle reading the rest of the series knowing that. It's one of my biggest worries about where this is all headed! It's also a testament to this author making me love them so much. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low/medium - book 1 of 3 in the series. Definite hints of where the story will go, but ends on a fairly settled note (for now...)

Now onto an interview with author Heather Petty:

Welcome to Love is not a triangle! 


LAUREN: It seems that everyone is fascinated by Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, and has been since they first appeared over 100 years ago. What do you think is the great draw to these characters? And what drew you to write about them yourself, and make Moriarty a she? 

HEATHER PETTY: I think it’s a mix of things. There’s something about the emotionally crippled genius that we like. Maybe it’s that we like the idea that when someone has an incredible advantage in one area, they are disadvantaged in another way. We like to have proof that heroes are still human?

Also, I think the stories really hold up for a modern reader. I’m not sure if it’s the first-person narrative or Conan Doyle’s writing style (or probably both), but there’s a bit of a modern voice to it. And Sherlock seemed to stand for justice, even when it went against the traditional notions of the day. He stood up for who was right, not for who was richest or of the highest class. There are also quite a few places in the stories where he stood up for women and lamented the broken system. All of that is pretty progressive in light of the late-Victorian time period when the stories and books were published.

For me, I was drawn to the gaps in the story between Sherlock and Moriarty. For their shared story in particular, it felt like Moriarty was more a plot device to kill Sherlock off (and free Conan Doyle from writing more Sherlock tales) than an actual fully realized character, and yet Moriarty has become the iconic villain of the canon. That, mixed with the fact that only Sherlock ever actually meets Moriarty and that all we know of him is filtered second-hand through Watson, was this giant space that let me craft the character however I wanted, which is very rare when you’re writing a derivative work.  

I’m not sure why or when I thought of gender flipping Moriarty, but once I even flirted with the idea, I was in. There’s something so exciting and challenging about writing a female villain and letting her be the “bad boy” to Sherlock’s “good girl” character. And to get to craft how they might have turned out the way they did and what they did to and for each other. I knew the real challenge, though, would be to craft her in such a way that she could do all the bad things I need her to do and still get away with it. Readers tend to be a little harder on female characters than on male characters. But all of it was too tempting to pass up. I had to try.

LAUREN: What’s the character trait Lock admires most and least about Mori, and vice versa?

HEATHER: I think Lock really loves the way Mori’s mind works—that she gets things as quickly as he does without him having to explain all the time. The one thing he dislikes is how little she trusts him and how her lack of trust means she keeps a lot of pieces of herself closed off to him.

Mori admires Lock’s mind as well, but I think what she admires most and least about Lock is his relative innocence. She likes that he isn’t tainted by the gross of the world quite yet and the purity of his intellectual pursuits because of that, but she also hates his naiveté when it comes to the law and the police. They both want justice, but she doesn’t believe that can come from law and order. Sherlock does.  

LAUREN: I love these two more after that answer! Lock & Mori balances the sweetness and swoon of first love with mystery, violence and abuse. Did you find a balance between those elements hard or easy to achieve - was it even something you had to think about, and which was your favorite part to write? 

HEATHER: I definitely had to think about the violence in Mori’s home and how it would affect her character and choices. But I wanted to be careful too, because as much as a violent home life can have a profound effect on a person, it doesn’t define them. We are not our labels, is what I’m trying to say. Mori is a victim of abuse in her home, but she’s still drawn to the puzzle of the murder in the park and to the odd boy in the basement lab who sees her like a puzzle. She still loves her brothers and her friend and still has dreams for her life above and beyond the dream to escape that violence. So, I guess it was less about balancing those elements and more about trying to craft a real person with a full life, who also is grieving her mother and has a drunken monster to fend off at home.

My favorite parts to write were the scenes with Mori and Lock out on the boats in Regent’s Park. But there’s also a whole sequence where Sadie Mae catches Mori sneaking away from school and goes with her to the park, and I really loved writing all of that as well. 

LAUREN: I love that you worked so hard to craft real characters. And I'll admit that knowing who these characters traditionally become to each other in their adult lives, makes me nervous about what is to come. Are there any hints you can give us about what to expect in the future of the series? 

HEATHER: Obviously not. J But I will say THANK YOU (!!) to any reader who is invested enough in the characters to be nervous for what’s to come. That is probably the biggest compliment you can pay to an author, and I would never take that for granted. 

LAUREN: My blog is called “Love is not a triangle”, because I am not a fan of love triangles (however, I have great friends who are). But I like to ask authors who visit their thoughts on the subject. So love triangles – like them or loathe them? So far your Lock & Mori series doesn’t have one, which of course pleases me.

HEATHER: I can definitely understand why people have strong opinions on triangles. I have alternately loved and loathed them myself, depending on how well they’re executed. But I think that if we can see the predominance of love triangles in YA as authors attempting to gender flip the stereotype that “women must compete with each other for a man,” the love triangle trope can be seen as kind of an act of rebellion against a misogynistic status quo. And I can always back that play.

Thanks so much for stopping by and answering my questions! 
Thanks! H


About the Author

Heather Petty writes Young Adult novels about grim reapers with English accents, snarky magic shop cashiers, and faery-infested summer camps, all of which are represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary.

Her debut YA mystery, LOCK & MORI, is coming Fall 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Heather is also a granola mom, avid reader, technical writer, and freelance editor. She lives in Reno, Nevada with a Lumberjack, a Fairy-Child, and four cats who she’s pretty sure are plotting her demise.



Win a finished copy of Lock & Mori

Thank you SimonTeen for this giveaway!

Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE 


  1. Great interview! Glad to know there's no love triangle yet & hope it stays that way ^_^ I've seen great buzz about the book & can't wait to read!

  2. Thak you, Lauren and Heather for the great interview! I''m so excited for Lock & Mori and can't wait to read it. I've had my eye on it for awhile now, and your review has me feeling very *grabby hands* right now.
    Thanks for the great giveaway as well :)

  3. I loved this book! I have yet to own my own copy, but would love to! Such a wonderful read!

  4. Oh I didn't realize that this was going to be a series! I like the sounds of the romance, and I can totally do with more intense! Will have to check this out soon! Awesome review and interview (:

  5. This sounds like such an interesting spin on a classic. Thanks for the giveaway!


  6. My daughter really, really, REALLY wants to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  7. Yay :D Awesome post Lauren. <3 So thrilled that you enjoyed this book so much :D I won't read it, since I don't like Sherlock yet :p Not seen any movies, lol. But one day :D This book do seem interesting. And yay for romance being good :D I'm curious about it. Gorgeous review sweet girl, as always. <3


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