Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Roger Gibson (writer) and Vince Danks (illustrator) have written a brilliant homage to classic British Detective TV shows. It features an odd-couple of British detectives Harker, who is middle-aged and a nonconformist genius and Critchley who is his younger, more socially acceptable sidekick. In Harker, which is the first volume, they find themselves investigate ritualistic murders in London’s Bloomsbury.
If you are used to American graphic crime novels then you might find Harker rather disconcerting. I did not. This is because the deadpan wit which is very evident in the story. If you don’t understand or appreciate it then it might put you off. The other aspect that as a reader you might find rather off putting is the fact that unlike most crime novels which are heavily influenced by real life and the genre this is not the case with Harker. Instead, this is a comic that has drawn heavily on the conventions of mainstream TV detective shows. Think more along the lines of The Sweeney.
There are various things that I liked about Harker, which makes me want to read the next one in the series and anything else that comes after that. It has action, mystery and very good characterization. As for the story, as a Londoner, I recognized the roads, and the other places, which are in the story. The dialogue is nice and snappy and there is an element of wisecracking between the two main characters. This very quirkily written graphic novel not only involves the de rigueur desperate car chase but the wry cutting humour tends to bring a smile to your face as you read it.
As someone whose taste in graphic novels tends to gravitate to those published in the US, Harker is most certainly a welcome addition. Artful, sly and brilliantly drawn I want to read the others as soon as possible!