Fans of Scottish thriller writer Ian Rankin’s bestselling Inspector Rebus series will be curious and happy, I think, with Rankin’s new foray into the graphic novel. He’s written a down-and-dirty look at reality TV in Dark Entries, published in hardcover by DC Comics’ Vertigo Crime imprint.
While Rebus doesn’t appear in Dark Entries, Rankin has tackled a similarly smart/cynical/wisecracking character here, one familiar to fans of the comic book Hellblazer: the dour, chain-smoking detective who dabbles in the occult, John Constantine. The clever plot involves Constantine hired by the producers of a hit reality show called Haunted Mansions because the set appears to be, well, haunted.
What results is a locked-room mystery that owes a little to Agatha Christie, black-and-white art by Werther Dell’Edera that is both comic-strip efficient and suitably noir. Rankin is that rare writer who can write lines like, “The mansion has been breached. Hell has broken in,” and not have them seem melodramatic, but, rather, tough-guy terse. That, plus the Scottish slang (“They can shove it up their jacksies”) makes Dark Entries a fun, frenetic read for the dark final days of summer.