cover image Bog Bodies

Bog Bodies

Declan Shalvey and Gavin Fullerton. Image, $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-5343-1330-9

Set in the Irish countryside during a broodily drawn night, this fast-paced, cheekily cynical crime thriller suggests a Guy Richie movie with a heavy brogue. Killian, a small-time Dublin crook, is hired for a job by his slippery contact Keano, only to discover too late that he’s the real target. Stumbling through the woods with killers on his tail, he runs into a teenage girl called Neev and gets her entangled. The fast-paced action plot bubbles over with bloody violence, rapid-fire dialogue, and black comedy, with just enough character development to make it more than edgy posturing. The art is blocked out in thick lines, deep shadows, and bold washes of color. The characters’ faces, nearly always twisted by smirks, gasps, or grimaces, are nicely observed. Shalvey and Fullerton evoke a seedy noir vision of modern Ireland, where the cities are nests of crime, peat country is where the bodies are buried, and everyone speaks in filthy rat-tat-tat slang. When a character calls a particularly brutal slip-up “the most Irish thing I’ve ever seen,” the reader will be sufficiently drawn into Shalvey and Fullerton’s world to agree. That same reader may be disappointed by the brevity of the volume and its abrupt ending. Until it skids to a halt, though, this is an endearingly bumpy ride. (May)