Cat Burglar Black

Richard Sala, Author . First Second Books $16.99 (126p) ISBN 978-1-59643-144-7

Sala's charming new graphic novel recalls a revamp of the Nancy Drew mysteries—produced under the hypnotic gaze of Edward Gorey. Silver-haired orphan K. is a prodigious young thief who struggles with the legacy and implications of her larcenous talent. Her enrollment in a peculiar young women's academy promises respite from her troubled upbringing, but soon reveals a direct link to her own mysterious past as her skills are pressed into service for an unknown goal. Sala meets the publisher's smaller, digest-sized format with an economical visual style, fleshed out with gemlike watercolors, brilliantly reproduced. His disciplined images work to support efficient storytelling that is as crystal clear to the reader's eye as his sinister characters' motives are unclear to his headstrong, inquisitive heroine. Suitable for a YA audience, Cat Burglar Black is less gloriously eccentric than the author's previous adult works, but features the same sort of effortlessly eerie style. If the resolution is somewhat pat, its pattern of successive revelations implies further developments to come in a sequel. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/17/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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