Kamo, a sixteen-year-old boy, is dying from a defective heart. Crimson from the underworld offers him a deal. Trap twelve spirit souls that will allow Crimson to live again and Crimson will repair Kamo’s heart permanently.
Despite a non-Japanese author, the artwork has an authentic manga feel. The ambience is very international. The setting is Bern, Switzerland. The female lead is a Spanish immigrant who occasionally uses Spanish phrases. The plot, based on Goethe’s Faust, is just different enough to be enjoyable without throwing off the manga vibe. 4 stars!
Thanks to ToykoPop and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Horror, Paranormal Tagged with: Manga, May 2 2018
Archie Coe, hypnotist, cat whisperer and sucker to every dame he meets. The art and dialogue both up the 1940s noir feel in Archie Coe Vol 1.
Jack Midland hires Coe to find the reason his wife, Hope, is frigid to him since their marriage. Hope insists that she and Archie know each other. When Jack turns up dead, the police look hard at Archie. In the meantime, a madman called the Zipper is killing people by removing their hearts with his bare hands.
I loved this black as tar noir! It’s amazing how many plot twists are among its 164 pages. Archie Coe Vol 1 is reminiscent of Bogart and Bacall movies as well as the style-driven comics I read in the 1980s. 5 stars! It is also available on Comixology Unlimited too.
Thanks to the publisher, Oni Press, and NetGalley for a copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: May 2 2018, Noir
“Something or other is sending half the over-sixties round the twist” in the Flaxborough Crab.
A rash of panty theft, quick grope and runs, and window peeping has befallen Flaxborough. The perps are described as elderly men who scuttle away sideways like a crab. When an esteemed villager is accidentally killed while perpetrating an attack, the police rest easy. But hours later, two more incidents are reported. What is causing the disruption of the usual calmness of Flaxborough life?
This is the sixth book in the Flaxborough Mystery series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone. By using metaphors, the Flaxborough Crab successfully combines naughty details with a totally clean story line that is fine for all ages. Some of the metaphors, especially at the senior picnic using flowers, are laugh-out-loud funny. The mystery is more of a whydunnit than the traditional whodunnit.
The Flaxborough Crab is highly recommended for 20th century police procedural and British cozy mystery fans. It could be likened to a 1950’s precursor of the Stephanie Plum series with the elderly women of the village playing a clean version of Lula. Seriously, this book is funny! 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Farrago Books, and NetGalley for a copy. I can’t wait for the next in the series!
Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: cozy mystery, May 2 2018, Police procedural
Characterization is sacrificed for plot in Bats in the Belfry.
There are a multitude of characters in Bats in the Belfry. Most are only vaguely fleshed out. We first meet the main players at a funeral where they begin to discuss how they would hide a dead body. Old Agatha Christie paperbacks always included a cast of characters at the beginning of the book. However, this book doesn’t have one so here is my own:
- Bruce Attleton, former bestselling author but now nearly destitute
- Sybilla Attleton, wife of Bruce, famous actress and family breadwinner
- Elizabeth Leigh, Bruce’s ward
- Debrette, a mysterious foreigner who wants to speak desperately to Bruce
- Thomas Burroughs, rich family friend perhaps too interested in Sybilla
- Neil Rockingham, another family friend who is worried about Bruce’s reaction to Debrette
- Robert Grenville, hopeful suitor of Elizabeth who is willing to check into Debrette for Neil
The plot has so many twists that admittedly I gave up trying to decipher the victim much less the murderer by the mid-point. If you wait until the end, the murderer is easily determined by seeing who has not either been killed or at least wounded yet.
Written in 1937, the convoluted plot in Bats in the Belfry holds up well for modern audiences. The best part was some of the 30s slang like ker-wite, bally-nix and prosy. I was surprised that most of the words were found by my Kindle simply by clicking on the word so I would recommend reading this book on a Kindle just so you aren’t constantly looking up words on your phone. I was also surprised by the use of nouns for verbs (that practice that drives me crazy now) like corpsed for killed. The reverse was also true. For example, bury-ee is used for corpse.
Bats in the Belfry was a good, not great, golden-age British mystery. It is recommended for those readers that look more for plot than characterization in their fiction. 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: British, Golden age mystery, May 2 2018
Despite being depressingly far from the suggested age for The Ghost the Owl, I loved this middle grade (ages 9-12) comic. The story was intriguing. The artwork is unusual but superb. It merges a picture book and a graphic novel into a surreal dream world of the afterlife.
A girl wakes up in a swampy wood. She remembers nothing but that “people don’t voluntarily help others”. An owl explains that if she can understand his words, she must be a ghost. The owl tries to help the ghost girl find out how she arrived in the forest because a human had helped him previously.
The Ghost the Owl shows the value of helping others subtly. It is recommended for ages 9 and up. 4 stars! Pre-released to comic shops on 5/2/18 and out everywhere on 5/15/18.
Thanks to the publisher, Action Lab, for an advanced copy of this book.
Posted in Children, Graphic Novel Tagged with: May 2 2018