Detective noir graphic novel about corruption and conspiracy in New York City
Content warning: murder, sexual harassment
I have been blogging here for 8 years and I cannot believe that this is the first time I am reviewing a book from this series. I think that’s a testament to how much I love this series that I have been waiting over 8 years for the next installment. It came out last year and I was so excited to read it, I knew that it was going to be the first book for my Short Stack Reading Challenge for December.
Photo is of “Blacksad: They All Fall Down Part One” by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido. The hardcover graphic novel is resting on a chain between two metal gates. In the background is a construction site with a large orange crane against a sunset. The cover is of an anthropomorphic black cat in an olive green suit holding a gun. Beside him is an anthropomorphic brown weasel in a cap and leather jacket. In the background an eagle-like figure stands on a metal platform in front of a large bridge with cranes on top and a city nightscape in the distance.
“Blacksad: They All Fall Down Part One” by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido is the fourth volume in the “Blacksad” detective noir graphic novel series. The story is about John Blacksad, a black cat private eye who becomes involved in trying to prevent the assassination of Kenneth Clarke, the president of the Transport Workers Union. Clarke, a bat, is a keen advocate for public transport workers while the city is being brutally transformed by a construction magnate, a peregrine falcon called Solomon. However, Solomon’s reach is longer than Blacksad could even imagined and between a Shakespeare in the Park troupe, journalists, underground mechanics, the bourgeoise and the mob, a blackmailed gull brings everything crashing down.
All of the books in the “Blacksad” series are wonderfully intricate and complex, and this is no exception. Díaz Canales once again tackles hard-hitting social issues that, while set in the 1950s, nevertheless resonate with the modern reader in the battle for public space and a city’s soul. Guarnido’s illustrations feel especially urban in this graphic novel, highlighting iconic scenes, styles and even artworks from the New York cityscape without ever feeling stereotypical. He captures the crushing of crowds without ever losing detail or perspective, and the sense of place is cemented with fashion and technology from the times.
Another excellent chapter in the “Blacksad” series and I fervently hope it’s not 8 more years before we see “Part Two” translated.