cover image The Con Artist

The Con Artist

Fred Van Lente. Quirk, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-68369-034-4

Van Lente follows 2017’s Ten Dead Comedians, a send-up of Agatha Christie, with a madcap mystery spoof set at Comic-Con. Comic book artist Mike Miller is on his way to San Diego, Calif., when he learns that his mentor, Ben K, to whom he was slated to present an award, has died. He’s devastated, but goes about setting up his table at Artists’ Alley. That night, after one too many drinks around the hotel pool, he spots his nemesis and former editor, Atlas Entertainment exec Danny Lieber, who stole his ex-wife, Christine. Mike attempts to punch Danny in the face, an act that makes him a suspect in Danny’s subsequent shooting death, which he finds out about the next morning via two obnoxious, wisecracking cops. News that Ben K’s studio was ransacked and that he had a lawsuit with Atlas leads Mike to suspect the two deaths might be connected. Mike’s efforts to prove his innocence keep the pages turning all the way to the surprising ending. Through the wryly amusing Mike, Van Lente offers an insider’s look into the gloriously geeky world of cons. Agent: Jason Yarn, Jason Yarn Literary Agency. (July)