Rated Reads

The Black Diamond Detective Agency

by Eddie Campbell

Rated: High

As the 1800s draw to a close in America, law and order are becoming more and more the rule, thanks to travel and communication improvements.  Even so, plenty of lawlessness remains, plenty of banks still can be robbed, and all kinds of persons are going to be killed. Therefore, the Black Diamond Detective Agency is busier than ever, and this particular tale offers some unique insights into that time period.

The narrative proceeds in a choppy fashion (with a lot of flashbacks) as we are introduced to a ruthless gang of Chicago criminals led by two brothers that grew up in an orphanage. Like the syndicates to come in a few decades, these guys are involved in everything, and their men are completely loyal. Until, of course, a woman comes between a few of the men.

The story here is complicated, and in this particular case, the graphic-novel nature of the book actually makes it harder to keep up with the changes and reveals. The artwork is also pretty vague, and I found it difficult to distinguish between the large number of important characters all the way through the work. The players themselves are very well done, and the details surrounding this era in U.S. history are superb. I found the lettering hard to read, although the page size (about 5×7) is plenty large enough for the panels.

Rating: High. Over a dozen instances of strong language, nearly twenty uses of the Lord’s name in vain, and yet another twenty occurrences of other foul terms.

— Reviewed by Craig Smith

Craig Smith is chief medical officer of Tacoma Cat Hospital. In addition to providing book reviews on Rated Reads, he podcasts about feline health issues through iTunes and www.tacomacat.com.

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  • The Black Diamond Detective Agency
  • by Eddie Campbell
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: