Working in the library, you tend to see a ton of books. There are any number of possible combinations of books that you might have never thought to see. And one thing I tend to see a lot of is mysteries in so many different varieties. But there is one I never even considered and had never seen on the shelves; Pirate.
So the book I have been working through is a graphic novel titled Pirate Eye (Action Lab 2014). This one is written by Josiah Grahn and illustrated by Carl Yonder. It is exactly what you would expect from a hard boiled set of mystery stories about a pirate detective. And it is entirely what you don’t think it should be. All at the same time. I am serious here. There is enough of the familiar tropes to meet the requirements of any of the modern era detective stories while at the same time, it draws you into the world of the age of sail.
When I first picked it up I thought maybe it would be a bit silly. But it sucked me in. The dark and gritty art gives the sense of the period of time as well as the feeling you would expect from a more traditional noir story. It’s a change from things like knitting mysteries that I can get behind.
So I am sitting here and trying to think of some more profound things to say about the stories and what not (I have been reading volume 1 of the graphic novels). But I don’t know if I have it in me right now. Like you might find with the various offshoots of mystery, it is going to be something that you will either enjoy or you won’t get into it at all. The gritty feel of the setting and main character appeals to my sense of what makes a good mystery.
It’s a bit like when I first found my way into the Dresden Files (Jim Butcher’s stories about Harry Dresden). With those I was drawn into the world of modern magic and a bit of a wizardly detective, even when the stories aren’t necessarily meant as pure mystery stories. They have many of the similar elements and that bit of hard boiled and noir feel make for a world that draws me in.
Mind you, I think that is something I look for in many stories right now. I want more than just the same stuff you see everywhere. While at the same time, I want a bit of something that stuff I already enjoy. It is a bit of the reflection that gives me something to hold onto while I am stepping into new worlds. I don’t think that my view on this is much different than anyone else’s but it’s what I’m going with right now.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. There was a story I read that still makes me wonder what exactly happened. The layout of the story ended up showing two separate view points. It was one of those types of stories where we see one perspective going in and then we see the other sides view of that same story.
From a nuts and bolts stand point, I loved how they presented this one. They used Smitty (the detective) as the anchor point for these different view points. And we saw the way he was playing the different sides against each other. But it was in the end that I felt like I missed something. I wasn’t exactly certain how the caper played out. But it’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of it because I think it was more in my interpretation than it was in the way it worked (yeah, I could be a bit daft on this one).
Anyway, check it out if you are in the mood for something a bit outside the normal. Pirate Eye, could end up being a new obsession that you never thought to have.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.