David Lapham, writer and illustrator of the acclaimed crime comic-book series Stray Bullets, comes to Vertigo with SILVERFISH, an original, black and white hardcover graphic novel of stark crime noir and intense, gritty realism.
What starts as a childish bid for her father's affections turns into nail-biting suspense when a young girl called Mia searches her new stepmother's purse, only to find a secret stash of money, a bloody knife and a mysterious address book.
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Home babysitting her asthmatic little sister while her father and stepmother have a weekend vacation, Mia, sister in tow, explores the house with best friend Vonnie and her boyfriend. They discover a suitcase of money, a bloodied knife, and the stepmother's address book. Meanwhile, an apparently psychotic man in another town battles hallucinations of a silverfish and violent impulses. The teens' prank call to a number in the address book puts them and the man in eventually grim contact. Lapham renders Mia, sister, and friends as fresh-faced, while the adults range from shadowed and fractured—the psychotic—to slowly evolving from jagged to regular—Mia's stepmother as Mia's view of her shifts. The eventual violence is hardly gratuitous, and blood spilt in black-and-white isn't as frightening as the tension built by the narrative's sly unfolding. Lapham's thriller handily balances driving the plot and developing characters, sure-footed narrative with detailed and perspective-rich images. Suspense mavens who don't already know how well comics conjure their favorite atmosphere and graphic-novel fans looking for realistically scary stuff must find Silverfish. Goldsmith, FranciscaFrom Publishers Weekly:
Lapham's new graphic novel doesn't stray far from his best known work, the noir comic Stray Bullets. Daniel is a killer, a man who believes that silverfish live in his brain and tell him to commit murder. All of his scenes are spectacular examples of creating an uneasy mood. Lapham art is easy to read, but he can also pull off a style for depicting something metaphorical, such as a stream of nasty-looking fish heading toward a man's brain. But Daniel is not the center of the story so much as a presence that hovers over the action like a storm cloud. The book spends most of its time on teenager Mia, who thinks something is strange about her stepmom Suzanne. Along with her friends, Mia finds some unsettling clues about Suzanne's past. Story stereotypes like the distrustful stepmother and the clueless dad are too clichéd for someone like Lapham to take at face value. The book sticks close to genre conventions, enjoyable but familiar, with Lapham's highly expressive noir art kicking it up a notch. (June)
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