Noche Roja

Simon Oliver and Jason Latour, DC/Vertigo Crime, $19.99 (184p) ISBN 978-1-4012-1535-4
This detective noir takes for its setting and situation the violence of a nameless Mexican border city, where an increasing number of young women who work in the local factories keep turning up dead. If that sounds familiar, well, it looks a lot like Juarez, where such deaths really have been taking place in recent years. The story is well told, with numerous twists and turns that lead us eventually to a killer. Yet the current-day setting actually requires the reality of the border violence to be lightened up in order to fit the frame of a detective story. In tales of undercover investigations, corrupt politicians, and sexual perversion, part of the detective-story thrill is in the revelation of an underworld much darker than we'd previously imagined. Though Jack Cohen, the hard-living detective hired to look into the deaths of several young women, has a dark past and determinedly uncovers the secret lives of those around him, it still seems quaint that he's actually able to solve these murders, unlike the real world of Juarez. Even so, Oliver tells a gripping tale, and rising star Latour's drawing style is appropriately dark and brooding, his lines hard-edged enough to convey the brutality of the world he illustrates. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
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