Friday, April 29, 2016

Forgotten Books: Liar's Kiss - Eric Skillman

I’d never heard of this graphic novel from 2011, but I came across a copy and saw that it has blurbs from Charles Ardai and Sean Phillips, so I figured it would be worth a try. The plot has a classic noir set-up: low-rent private eye is hired by a rich guy to keep tabs on his beautiful trophy wife. Instead of doing his job, the private eye begins having an affair with the trophy wife. And then, of course, the rich guy winds up dead, the cops think the wife killed him, and the private eye has to find the real killer to clear her name.

LIAR’S KISS makes heavy use of some elements we’ve come to expect from such stories. The protagonist, private detective Nick Archer, comes across as pretty much a stereotype. Not only does he have a name that could have come out of a Fifties Gold Medal or Dell First Edition novel, he wears a trenchcoat and a hat (it’s not a fedora, no matter what the people in the book call it), he smokes and drinks too much, he has a loyal secretary, he gets hit on the head and knocked out. The cops hate him, and the trophy wife is the sort of femme fatale you can never really trust. The plot gets pretty complex, with the origins of the current case stretching back years to two more deaths. We’ve certainly seen all this before.

But scripter Eric Skillman has a really nice twist saved up, the sort that makes you look back at what’s come before to see how the groundwork was laid. The dialogue is great, the story is well paced, and it also does a fine job of playing with the reader’s expectations. The art by Jhomar Soriano is good, too, and I especially liked the way he varied his style between the main story and the flashbacks. LIAR’S KISS is very enjoyable and well worth reading, especially if you’re a fan of noirish private eye tales. Recommended.

1 comment:

George said...

I'm tracking down a copy of LIAR'S KISS. I enjoy graphic novels if they're done well.