cover image Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses, Part 1: Kretchmeyer

Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses, Part 1: Kretchmeyer

David Lapham. Image, $19.99 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-5343-0799-5

Lapham returns to his popular noir series with this first volume of a new story arc—an intricately woven tapestry of underworld violence in 1980s Baltimore. College-bound Orson is smitten with criminally connected, sociopathic party girl Beth and will do anything to prove his “manly” credentials to her. Too besotted to realize he’s out of his depth in Beth’s world of vicious loan sharks and outright killers, Orson puts off going to college in order to try and save Beth from Baltimore’s crime and urban savagery. Also involving himself, at inopportune moments, is Kretchmeyer, a prolific hit man seeking notoriety in the local crime scene. Beth’s onetime lover and then platonic roommate, Kretchmeyer displays concern for her, but does he bear ulterior motive? The trio encounter a cast of characters, including a sex-addicted single mother, a hulking underworld enforcer with deep feelings for Beth, and a sadistic thug whose signature move deprives his victims of their fingers. Lapham’s realistic art and slow-burning narrative tension combine to make this a real page-turner; fans will eagerly await the next volume. (May)