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Extended Audio Sample The Crack in the Lens Audiobook, by Steve Hockensmith Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 53.46 out of 5 3.46 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Hockensmith Narrator: William Dufris Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Holmes on the Range Mysteries Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9781400182824
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In 1893, Otto “Big Red” Amlingmeyer and his brother, Gustav “Old Red,” find themselves in a situation that they never expected: they have a bit of money and time to do something other than scramble. It’s enough to confound even that most unconfoundable of men, their mutual inspiration, Sherlock Holmes.

So Old Red decides that it’s time for the two of them to head off to the Texas hill country, to San Marcos, and deal with the greatest tragedy of Old Red’s life. Five years ago, when Old Red was a cowpoke in San Marcos, he had a sweetheart—a fallen woman at the local house of ill repute. They had made plans, but before they made their big move, his fiancée was murdered and the case was swept under the rug by the local authorities.

Now Old Red is determined to find out what really happened and to finally find a measure of justice for his beloved. But Big Red and Old Red find themselves facing a wall of silence and in some of the worst situations of their lives: ensnared in a riot at the local cathouse, on the wrong end of a lynching party, and, perhaps worst of all, having to do the one thing you never want to do in the state of Texas: steal horses.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Two cowboy brothers turn themselves into Wild West ‘deducifiers’ in the manner of Holmes and Watson—how cute is that? Not only cute but clever, as Steve Hockensmith demonstrates in The Crack in the Lens.”

    New York Times

  • “The laconic Old Red, whose life took an unexpected turn after his brother introduced him to the deductive methods of Sherlock Holmes, reveals that the love of his life, hooker Gertrude Eichelberger, was murdered in San Marcos five years earlier. The pair’s efforts to investigate put them at odds with the local pimps as well as the law. The brothers discover that Gertrude was but the first victim of a serial killer, who modeled his crimes after Jack the Ripper. The personal stake Old Red has in catching the murderer adds an emotional dimension to the puzzle, which Edgar-finalist Hockensmith nicely leavens with witty prose and cliffhanging chapter endings.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally | 2/18/2014

    " This is the 4th book in a series known as "Holmes on the Range", featuring two cowboy brothers, Otto "Big Red" and Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer. I enjoyed the first two a lot (Holmes on the Range and On the Wrong Track) the third (The Black Dove) not as much, and with this one I am having trouble deciding whether I liked it or not. What I do like about this series is the characters of Otto and Gustav and the settings in the Old West cowboy days. Gustav is illiterate, but his brother Otto reads to him the stories of Sherlock Holmes. It is implied that Holmes was a real person, and not just a fictional character. Gustav is a perceptive person, and gets the idea in his head that he can solve mysteries in the way that Holmes did - through observation and thinking. In this story, Gustav wants to solve the murder of a woman he had fallen in love with 5 years before, but begins to doubt his ability to do it in a Holmes manner - thus the "crack in the lens" of investigation. The story is narrated from the viewpoint of Otto, and he has some droll ways of looking at things and spouts some entertaining metaphors. I guess what bothered me most about this story was the focus on the role of prostitutes in the Old West days and the fact that Gustav accepted that the woman he loved, a prostitute, continued to "serve" customers, even though it was something she was enslaved to and may not have been her choice of lifestyle to continue, given a way out of it. The other disturbing thing was the butchering of some women in the manner of Jack the Ripper - a pretty gruesome topic! Throw in some despicable brothel owners, a fanatic religious element, and many carousing cowboys, and the whole setting is far from uplifting. I'd like to see the Amlingmeyer brothers get back to some on-the-range activities, should Steve Hockensmith continue this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/13/2014

    " Now that Big Red has started selling stories about his brother, Old Red, and his detective prowess, the two have the leisure to return to Texas, where--in 1888--Old Red lost the love of his life to a murderer. Old Red expects to find some of his old cowboy friends available to help him, but finds that everyone, even the new marshal, shuns them. Even worse, they almost end up the guests of honor at not one but two lynchings. Someone doesn't want Old Red to find out what happened to Gertie, and as he learns how much he didn't know about the friends and about Gertie, he loses a lot of his famed logical composure. But will he and Big Red lose even more? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Esther | 1/4/2014

    " Ughhh. Why? Why did I even bother? I don't like to go all negative on a writer trying to earn a living, but in truth I thought this was a dismal failure both as a Western and a mystery. If you're going to use the cache of Sherlock Holmes to sell your book, you'd better live up to the challenge - and very very few writers have. I have to wonder if the first on the series (wow, there's a series of these *registers blank amazement*) was any better - yes, I did skip the first couple books, I'm that Schmuck, remember me? I might have (okay, probably not) finished this book out if the author hadn't insulted me (on top of disappointing and irritating me) by stating the obvious over and over again. I detest being written down to like a child - even though I'm having a tantrum like one at the moment. Just an opinion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharon | 12/25/2013

    " The language is pretty bad. But story is good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 10/28/2013

    " I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first three but it was still worth reading. I hope there are more adventures to come. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 6/16/2013

    " Old Red & Big Red are at it again. This time they are trying to solve the murder of Old Red's fiance'. Their detecting gets them in a fix when they are accused of being the real killer, Texas Jack, a Jack the Ripper copycat. "Holmes on the Range" - Fun Stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan Polep | 5/23/2013

    " 4th book in Holmes on the Range mystery series. Big Red and Old Red, cowboys who love Sherlock Holmes, solve a mystery connected with a soiled dove that was the love of Old Red's life way back when. Set in 1893 in Texas, it moves right along and makes sense. Hope the author keeps them coming... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 3/10/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoy these two guys (main characters), the mix of humor and seriousness, and the general topics and storylines. I don't like waiting for another to appear. I'm trying to cast it for the big screen. . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/24/2013

    " The Crack in the Lens: A "Holmes on the Range" Mystery (Holmes on the Range Mysteries) by Steve Hockensmith (2009) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 2/14/2013

    " The brothers contiune their detecting with this 4th book. Silly at times, I still enjoyed the clever and witty writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 2/14/2013

    " I think the brotherly hijinks and interplay of Big Red and Old Red that I found so fresh earlier in the series have become worn as the trail they ride. Plus a mystery that I didn't care much about. Just not as fun a journey for me as On the Wrong Track two books earlier. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ma | 1/15/2013

    " A well plotted story, but a bit on the vulgar side. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Victoria | 10/18/2012

    " Knew I could count on this to be a good, fun read. (And, yes, like every other book I've read in months it had an error. But the author is a friend and we'd laughed about it with him way back when the book was published.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 12/1/2011

    " An amusing, Sherlock Holmes-inspired series set in the 1890s - more Des=ad Eye Dick than Conan Doyle, but fun to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Myersorchard | 7/10/2011

    " i love this series! i never know who did it until old red does, this is special. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe O'c | 2/14/2011

    " Very Good; Continuing characters: Amlingmeyer brothers; returning to the place where Gus' love was murdered, the brothers look to solve her murder of 5 years previously, plus a number of others "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 2/10/2011

    " An amusing, Sherlock Holmes-inspired series set in the 1890s - more Des=ad Eye Dick than Conan Doyle, but fun to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 11/11/2010

    " I think the brotherly hijinks and interplay of Big Red and Old Red that I found so fresh earlier in the series have become worn as the trail they ride. Plus a mystery that I didn't care much about. Just not as fun a journey for me as On the Wrong Track two books earlier. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 6/20/2010

    " I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first three but it was still worth reading. I hope there are more adventures to come. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/17/2010

    " The Crack in the Lens: A "Holmes on the Range" Mystery (Holmes on the Range Mysteries) by Steve Hockensmith (2009) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 9/8/2009

    " I thoroughly enjoy these two guys (main characters), the mix of humor and seriousness, and the general topics and storylines. I don't like waiting for another to appear. I'm trying to cast it for the big screen. . . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Myersorchard | 8/25/2009

    " i love this series! i never know who did it until old red does, this is special. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Victoria | 8/22/2009

    " Knew I could count on this to be a good, fun read. (And, yes, like every other book I've read in months it had an error. But the author is a friend and we'd laughed about it with him way back when the book was published.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 8/16/2009

    " Very Good; Continuing characters: Amlingmeyer brothers; returning to the place where Gus' love was murdered, the brothers look to solve her murder of 5 years previously, plus a number of others
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 8/4/2009

    " Another excellent outing in the saga of Big Red (Otto) and Old Red (Gustav) Amlingmeyer in the old west. In this episode, we learn a bit more of Old Red's life before he and Big Red got into the 'deducifying' business.
    For fans of Sherlock Holmes and Louis L'Amour alike. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 8/2/2009

    " 4th book in Holmes on the Range mystery series. Big Red and Old Red, cowboys who love Sherlock Holmes, solve a mystery connected with a soiled dove that was the love of Old Red's life way back when. Set in 1893 in Texas, it moves right along and makes sense. Hope the author keeps them coming... "

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About the Author
Author Steve Hockensmith

Steve Hockensmith is the author of the New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and the Edgar Award nominee Holmes on the Range. He lives in Alameda, California.

About the Narrator

William Dufris attended the University of Southern Maine in Portland-Gorham before pursuing a career in voice work in London and then the United States. He has won more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, was voted one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and won the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 for best nonfiction narration. He lives with his family in Maine.