Book Reviews: Future Drugs, Murder, and Coffee Shops

Ask a stupid person, get a stupid answer.
Hugh Laurie

Everywhere It’s You
It’s the year 2045, and a female investigator for a law firm—I think—is forcibly sent out to find a missing billionaire. But there’s a twist that makes this a damned interesting premise: she’s given a drug so that every guy she sees looks like the guy she’s searching for.
Part noir, part romance; the story doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s the humor that saves it. Aerosol drugs are everywhere, and there’s plenty of small touches as to what that means. For instance: “A wave of some enticing aerosol wafted her way from a bakery door, promising her fulfillment if she would just come in and have a croissant. Maybe she just smelled the croissant and attacked the feeling to the aero. It was hard to separate sometimes.”
I thought this look into big pharma would delve deeper, and it probably will later, because. . .
Dammit, cliffhanger. That drops the score a half-point.
3/5

Echoes
Forward: “The more you care (about the characters), the scarier it is when terrible things happen to them.” Seems obvious, but easy to overlook.
A graphic novel where a guy with schizophrenia, which he keeps under control when he remembers to take his pills, goes to carry out his father’s dying wish—to find a box in an old house’s crawlspace—and discovers his dad was a serial killer. That is not a good combination, as the predominant voice in his head is now his father urging him to follow in his footsteps and knife swings.
As I should have expected, this gave me some of the same creeped-out feelings as when I saw the play Proof. It’s not the obvious kind of horror, filled with blood and guts, but the more terrifying mental imagery of a sane man wondering if he’s losing it.
There’s some weird twists, and I sure as hell hope that the ending to this graphic novel is not the end of the story; I know life isn’t fair, but this isn’t life and it shouldn’t end like that.
Artwork is sparse, little more than sketches, in black and white.
35 pages of extras, including original story proposal, cover gallery. More importantly, commentary on some panels.
3/5

Dark Houses
“Murder. It was a skill. It was addictive. It was his life.”
A serial killer who specializes in framing others to take the fall for his crimes is now operating in Greco’s neck of the woods, somewhere in the north of England.
It gets personal for the lead detective, allowing some of his underlings to shine. I do love that it was Grace who solved it, because Greco is too far into his emotions—for once—to deal with work. I also love that Speedy has regained his desire to be a good cop and becomes a capable leader in Greco’s absence. This is better than the first one of the series, on par with the Calledine entries.
As with every book that comes from this publishing house, there’s a character list and slang translation at the end, as well as plenty of advertising for their other books, which will prove that all of them have incredibly similar titles and covers. It’s ridiculously difficult to tell them apart.
4/5

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Café
A café owner with secrets of her own hires a guy just out of jail, who’s in love with a physical therapist whom he sees as too good for him.
Right near the beginning there a scene that’s incredibly endearing, and tells you all you need to know about the café owner: Eden Rose uses a homeless couple, whom are too proud to accept charity, as her testers for new recipes. The café is one of those anti-Starbucks that are becoming more popular nowadays, so most readers should be familiar with the setting.
I was liking Mercey, the physical therapist, until she went all neurotic about her past; suddenly she thinks she’s the one not good enough. If this couple ever gets it together, they’re gonna be wonderful, but that’s a big if. Mercey’s brother, on the other hand, is every kind of asshole in one; when he’s introduced this goes from a cute story about people at a coffee shop to a fucked-up druggie wanting revenge on his sister, not because she deserved it, but because he has a persecution complex and she never stood up for herself until now.
Best line of many: “What he lacks in charisma he makes up for in drama.” There’s also a chalkboard in the café for everyone to add to the category of the day: puns, six-letter stories, and so on. Some take a while to get, like “Three scientists walk into a bar; they forgot to duck.”
The last 10% is an excerpt from another book.
Mostly light and fluffy—with a few darker moments—and thoroughly enjoyable.
4/5

;o)

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