cover image Cousin Joseph

Cousin Joseph

Jules Feiffer. Norton/Liveright, $27.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-63149-065-1

Master cartoonist Feiffer has crafted a worthy noir thriller prequel to the critically acclaimed Kill My Mother. The year is 1931. Det. Sam Hannigan is a proud American and a member of fictional Bay City’s finest. When he and his partner aren’t fighting crime or getting their “Red Squad” to suppress the local trade unions, he’s off to do the bidding of the mysterious Cousin Joseph, an unidentified bigwig who wants to rid Hollywood of what he considers anti-American propaganda films. Soon, Sam finds himself in over his head and on both sides of the law as he tries to keep track of the various forces at work against him. Feiffer’s strength as a graphic novelist is in creating a range of fascinating characters, from Sam’s partner, Neil Hammond, who’s planning to retire from the force and become a PI, to Valerie Knox, the daughter of the local factory owner, who has a pathological interest in young men. This complex series of character studies forms a densely woven narrative that is deftly written and expertly illustrated. (July)