cover image In Perpetuity

In Perpetuity

Peter and Maria Hoey. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-60309-537-2

The Hoey siblings (The Bend of Luck) twist pulp fiction into Lynchian strangeness in this savvy noir thriller set in the land of the dead. In a mundane afterlife rendered as a gloomier, shabbier version of Los Angeles, Jim spends eternity pumping gas at a filling station. When he reconnects with some shady acquaintances from his mortal past, he turns out to have a talent for crossing over to the world of the living and gets sent via illegal seances to run criminal errands between planes of existence. Mortal Olivia becomes his conduit and­, to Jim’s dismay, gets tangled up in the living/dead crime ring. He attempts to help her get out, but he’s warned by the thugs running it that “there are worse things than being dead.” The Hoeys’ diagrammatic layouts, reminiscent of Chris Ware, lend a dry matter-of-factness to the dark fantasy, with strong, flat colors neatly differentiating the gray-toned afterlife from the sunny L.A. of the living. In classic noir fashion, the plot runs Byzantine, with double crosses, deaths and undeaths, corrupt cops on both sides of the mortal divide, and an organization called C.H.A.R.O.N. engaged in seedy intrigue. Fans of the deadpan weird won’t want to miss this. Agent: Peter Ryan, Stimola Literary. (Apr.)