Graphic Novel Review: Casefile: ARKHAM by Josh Finney [w/ Patrick McEvoy]

Casefile: ARKHAM: Nightmare on the CanvasCasefile: ARKHAM: Nightmare on the Canvas by Josh Finney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The detective noir voice owns its pulp-cliche niche often making any particular story into a guilty pleasure, yes, but not a standout. Then comes PI Hank Flynn, PTSD-rattled WWII vet, to buck the trend in 2 very important ways. 1) The black-and-white inked artwork by Patrick McEvoy in this graphic novel is pure stylized pleasure. Bonus points must be awarded for melding a couple of images and adding color to create the classic horror movie poster look for the cover. 2) Author Josh Finney’s balanced incorporation of Lovecraftian mythos infuses the tale with horror-filled outre and layers left unplumbed for future volumes. There had better be future volumes.

Hank Flynn is hired by a young widowed socialite–at the request of a tarot-reader–to find missing person Richard Pickman, a controversial talented artist that paints hellish landscapes. Flynn has the help of a few buddy cops and the provocative Glynda, his own personal good witch:

Sure, I was sweet on the girl. I would’ve had to have been blind not to be, and yeah . . .maybe there was something just a bit blasphemous about making time with a proud heretic . . . but that’s the benefit of being Catholic, right? If I ever did get lucky enough to get a bite of that apple . . . I could always go to confession in the morning.

The city of Arkham is Jackson Pollocked with the blood of art patrons, and nobody seems to have a clue as to why. The missing artist also has some unexplained tie to the mobsters of Innsmouth, so the detective is not alone in his hunt. A secret artist loft. Underground tunnel systems riddled with bones. The mysteries just keep adding up. But Flynn is our everyman probing and musing his way to an answer:

With a full meal in my belly, the fog had lifted from my brain just enough for the jigsaw pieces to begin falling into place. Minot’s carved up corpse . . . What was it doing in Pickman’s cellar? Being turned into fine art, obviously. But how’d it get there?

I highly recommend this detective noir in graphic novel form. I received my copy of this novel directly from 01 Publishing through I’ve previously reviewed this author’s Utopiates, an extremely creative graphic work of near future speculative fiction.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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