Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 210

Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes

by Matt Kindt
Genre: crime
272 pages
ISBN: 159643662X (Amazon)

While very different from Super Spy structurally, Red Handed does something similar in terms of taking several disparate threads and weaving them together into a satisfying whole. The stories of strange criminals start and stop, each concluding with the perpetrator being cuffed by the city’s super detective, Gould. These are interleaved with artless sections of dialogue. It takes a while to apprehend the pattern—but when one does, it’s hard not to stop and think “Heh” or “Little scamp” or “Whoa” in that kind of way that offers a silent congratulations to Kindt for letting us take part in this twisting genius.

Beyond the conceit of the Twist—that moment in the storytelling when the author turns the tables on the reader and turns the story they were reading into another story entirely—Kindt’s structure for Red Handed allows him to effortlessly break off from his story and engage in a little bit of philosophical discussion about the nature of crime and law. Often in ambitious literary work, these excursions are narrative cheats that authors use to force-feed some added value into what would otherwise be a pretty mundane set of plot paces. While I was nervous for a time that Kindt had stepped into that common trap, Red Handed vindicates itself and Kindt uses these discussions to inform the story and enrich the reader’s participation in its conclusion. In fact, Kindt’s finale would be hollow without the ranging conversation that governs it.

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