Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes HC
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 2013
Creator: Matt Kindt
Format: 464 pgs.; 6 x 8-½; Full-Color, Hardcover
Age Rating: Teen+
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
This book is both an elaborate mystery tale and a homage to the old Dick Tracy stories, an odd blend of styles and genres. Even the character names resonate with Dick Tracy, with a detective named Gould and a woman named Tess central to the story.
The basic story is that a detective who never fails to "get his man" runs into a string of seemingly unrelated baffling crimes. While none are unsolvable, the crimes themselves are strange, and lead to a tale far more complex than it seems at first. By the time the story resolves, Detective Gould is faced with a dilemma as wrenching and complex as Les Miserables. What happens when the unstoppable detective meets the crime which cannot, by its very nature, be solved within the boundaries of the law? What happens when you push the ultimate detective too far?
Kindt's art is rough and stylized, suited to this noir-ish tale, but will not be to everyone's liking, and is the weakest part of this tale. The writing is gripping, whether from the viewpoint of detective or perpetrator, as the story unfolds.
While aimed at adults, some older teens will appreciate this elaborate story.
--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.