cover image Ultrasound

Ultrasound

Conor Stechshulte. Fantagraphics, $39.99 (376p) ISBN 978-1-68396-534-3

In this taut, claustrophobic drama from Stechshulte (The Amateurs), a man named Glen’s road trip to attend a friend’s wedding takes an unexpected turn. When his car breaks down on an isolated stretch of road on a dark and rainy night, the familiar horror premise brings him to the home of the congenial Arthur and his reserved wife, Cyndi. The couple’s hospitality extends far beyond simple shelter from the storm. At Arthur’s invitation, Glen initiates a sexual encounter with Cyndi, resulting in an awkward one-night stand that will have a profound impact on each of their lives in the months ahead. As Glen slowly unravels the secrets behind their chance encounter, he learns that no seeming truth can be taken for granted. The plot builds to a slow burn as secrets are revealed and Glen finds he can’t even trust his own memories, as he’s pulled further into a tapestry of emotional manipulation, deceit, and gaslighting, and his life spirals out of control. Stechshulte’s deliberate pacing, gritty illustration style, and clinical use of limited palette create an unsettling depiction of a psychosexual drama that builds to a dizzying climax. This complex indie gem will have readers speeding through to the surprise reveal, and rewarded by the complexity unearthed with rereading. (June)