REVIEW: Alan Nolan's Destination Homicide
Creator: Alan Nolan
Published by: O’Brien Press
Book Summery: When Hood City’s superheroes start to turn up dead the city’s worst homicide detectives, Ricky Nixon and Eddie Ribbs, are chosen to head up the case.
Along with investigative reporter Abigail Fletcher and their informant, blind bluesman Tonedeaf Roosevelt, Nixon and Ribbs must battle giant albino sewer alligators, mind-controlled zombie cheerleaders and the mysterious underground kingpin Mister Fogg in a brain-curdling mission to find out – WHO’S KILLING THE SUPERHEROES?
Review: Destination Homicide is the latest and second to last in the planned series of Murder Can Be Fatal books from Alan Nolan and O’Brien Press. The series so far can only be considered a resounding success with their cross demographic appeal and downright enjoyable scenarios held within. With Destination Homicide, Nolan has set a new high with the best of the bunch to date.
With nods to some of the best cop movies of the 80’s and 90’s with the screaming police captain whose name is Armitage Shanks, some ‘toilet’ humour there, to a main character Detective Ricky Nixon modelled visually after Riggs from Lethal Weapon to some Steve Martin style Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid inner monologue from Ribbs even to the Tatooed Crew homage to The Usual Suspects there was a ton of material here that was reference to some great memories from my youth. This will of course go right over kids heads and they will enjoy it for what it is but for those readers who get the references it only highlights how Nolan uses a deft hand to pull in readers of all ages.
Nolan crafts a tale that twists and turns with great pace including a nice twist near the end that nearly ends Ribbs and Nixon. With some nice stand out scenes, involving an albino alligator among others it was a real fun book. One laugh out loud moment occurred in a sewer when the bungling duo were rescued from the alligator by Tonedeaf Roosevelt that combines some terrible, I mean that in complementary terms, lyrics with some great panels.
I feel like this book is one of the most text heavy books yet in the series and probably the most use of cast members. In that sense it isn’t a quick read and in actuality when you get done you do feel like you got value for money.
I grew to really want to know much more about the character of Red White and Blue. He seems like a character that could possibly have legs on him if his past was explored. That is turned out to be a real strength of Nolan. He is able to take peripheral characters and give them enough personality that when they resonate with readers you want to more about them. Throughout the series so far there have been several characters that fall into his mould.
The character of Ribbs is surprisingly introspective. There are several times in the book where his inner narrative reveals several sympathetic aspects of his personality. For instance, he seems to be acutely aware in one scene in the Going Underground chapter that he is far from the best detective in the precinct and his job is most definitely on the line. This rounding of his character coupled with a couple of more instances in the book were a nice touch from Nolan.
A huge shining light in all these books so far is Nolan’s unique style of art which once more jumps off the page. He gets to explore a large range of locations and juggles the large cast with ease so the pages don’t seem crowded. Nicely paced visually it complements the story and rounds off the book as a nice package.
Yet another top book from Nolan who clearly had a ton of fun creating this book. With one more book to come in this series, ‘…and the Blood Flowed Green’, all involved can hold their heads high for a great ride so far. Great stuff.