I am a book reviewer for NetGalley, which means I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Click here for more information.
Author: Fred Van Lente
Genre/category: General fiction, mysteries and thrillers
Where can I buy it? Pre-order here
Release date: 10th July 2018
The Con Artist appealed to me for two reasons:
a) The cover art. It’s adorable.
b) Its a murder mystery set at Comic-Con.
I mean really! How was I supposed to pass that one by?
It follows comic book artist Mike Mason, who arrives to find his rival murdered, and himself the main suspect. What follows is a slightly mad, thrilling adventure with Mike as he tries to clear his name and avoid getting into more trouble.
I feel like I’m on the fringe of nerd culture in some ways: I consider myself a geek, but if I went to Comic-Con I’d probably have a hard time figuring out some people’s costumes. That said, I thought I’d get enough of the references to make it enjoyable. And I was right! Kind of. Obviously some of them sailed over my head, but the main story was enough to keep me going.
It didn’t surprise me at all to find that the author himself is a comic book artist – Mike’s experiences at the Con felt very authentic. I found out lots of things I didn’t know – about the way comic book artists make money, about the process of creating said art – and I found some interesting insights into fandom, rivalries in the industry, and Comic-Con itself.
(Also I now want to go at some point in my life. The murder in the story clearly wasn’t enough to put me off. It sounds awesome.)
I enjoyed the quick-witted writing style (it’s quippy-ness, and yes I know that’s not a real word, felt a little Whedon-esque to me) and the way the author integrated real people, movies and comic books alongside his own fictional characters. There is a crazy escape scene involving fake zombies that I loved. And it kept up the pace, with enough cliffhangers to keep me reading – I think I read it in a day and a half.
Mystery isn’t usually my genre (which is why I picked it!), but I really enjoyed it. I think I would have adored it if I got all the references, though. This would make an awesome gift for a Con-goer.