Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Considering I roasted the last Ellis book I read (Jack Cross #1), this came as a bit of a relief. It still felt like an Ellis book, but more like the Frank Ironwine entry into the Apparat stunt from last year rather than some fifth-generation Spider Jerusalem. The title character is not railing against The System, he's not Too Cool, and he doesn't seem to have any message or agenda.

Detective Richard Fell is both curiously naive as well has thoroughly hard-boiled. It's an interesting mix, one I'm willing to buy for the time being, because of the premise. Transferred to a beseiged city that is thoroughly rotted from the inside out, Fell somehow sees this as a chance for promotion instead of exile, which is how everyone he encounters sees it. Working alone both by choice (his last partner met with an unhappy fate) and by necessity (the precinct is woefully undermanned by the sane and sober), Fell manages to solve his first case despite the apathetic inertia that surrounds him.

Ben Templesmith's moody art serves the story well, coating everything in a mucky grime and ill-suited lighting that shows off the unfortunately named Snowtown as the cesspit it is.

Overall, the book is a success because it's a 16-page story that feels like it's a 22-page story. And for that, at $1.99 a pop, it's worth trying out.


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