I thought I should put out a blog post in honour of being nominated for a blog award, please vote for reading confessions here (https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/05/19/vote-now-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-now-open/ ). People who love to read often want to try a graphic novel but don’t know where to start and so they go for the most well known or obvious ones but just like any other books, there are some true gems out there that you might not have heard of. So I have compiled a list of the 10 best crime based graphic novels I have read (in no particular order), this list is not all encompassing, if I haven’t read it the book hasn’t made the list so if you think I’ve missed something amazing let me know in the comments below cos I’m always looking for new recommendations. I have tried to stay away from the more superhero/paranormal crime stories, but some may have snuck in anyway.
So without further ado lets get started:
1 And although I said no particular order possibly my favourite – Burke and Hare by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering – This is a meticulously well researched graphic novel that tells the history of Burke and Hare the famous serial killers. The art work in this is beautiful and it covers the history well, if you are fascinated in true crime it’s a great read. The other reason this hits favourite status for me is because one of my ancestors was hung in the same place as one of these gentlemen, for being a cross dressing highwayman.
2. Doubt – the first Manga on here, and this one is nominated by the husband, this is crime in the style of ‘and then there were none’. A series of novels about some young people abducted after they meet up to discuss their shared love of a game called rabbit doubt, and locked into a building where every few hours they have to make a decision about which member of the group should die, all members of the group have committed some wrongs in the past, this is full of tension and drama, a must read for fans of thrillers.
3. From Hell – Possibly the most famous graphic novel to grace this list and unusual in the fact that I am recommending a comic by Alan Moore. But this graphic retelling of the Jack the Ripper story which looks into the known evidence and suspects is a fantastic book. Again this is one for fans of true crime, it comes with extensive notes in the back about the killings and is named for the infamous notes the killer sent the police. Again the art work evokes the atmosphere of the time brilliantly.
4. A Treasury of victorian murder by Rick Geary – The book that made me dream up this blog, these are fantastic cheap little true crime graphic novels, he has written a number of them including the story of the Lindbergh baby amongst others. Completely black and white illustrations that are simply drawn bring to mind the illustrated non fiction books of childhood. These are good ways to discover some lesser known historical crimes if you are doing a little bit of research.
5. Road Rage by Stephen King and Joe Hill – A unique take by this father son collaboration that pays tribute to Richard Matheson’s work Duel about crime on the open road. Featuring Biker gangs and a mysterious truck that runs them down. I am a big fan of Joe hill and this is one of the first things he wrote, revisited much later, From two master writers, you can’t go far wrong with this book.
6. Coward (Criminal Series) – A whole series of different crime books starts with Coward a interesting take on a heist story and possibly the truest fictional graphic crime story on this list. With a distinctly Noirish feel this is a great read, quite short and accessible but there are a number of volumes so be warned only start this if you don’t mind a series.
7. HellBlazer – Ok this is paranormal crime, A whole series of graphic novels featuring John Constantine the original paranormal investigation, this has a nihilistic edge. With the main character being a chain smoking alcoholic con merchant who has in the past conned demons. Although he has found east end gangsters scarier than demons from Hell. A series that has had some incredible crime writers, produce some guest stories this is a fantastic read. I’m a big fan of Dark Entries (link below) Ian Rankins take on the constantine saga.
8. Punisher (Garth Ennis) – A more well known character again now following his guest appearance on Daredevil. Garth Ennis’s take on Punisher features some Dark humour and what you have come to expect from the Punisher, Horrible things happening to horrible people. This is again very much for people who like Vigilante style stories or who are big fans of thrillers. I love the character of the punisher as he brings up lots of talking points as a character, possibly a good book group read too.
9. Prophecy – The second manga on the list features Tokyo police’s high tech division dealing with a Media Savvy criminal who sends messages over the internet telling them crimes will happen at a certain location on a certain day. This is a great police procedural novel that retains a good pace throughout. Definitely ones for fans of the Bridge.
10. Sherlock Bones. A Little light relief with the last book on the list. This is another Manga and my favourite version of some of the sherlock holmes stories. It features Sherlock holmes reincarnated as a dog in modern day japan, he is adopted by a young boy whose name sounds like Watson and when sherlock bones has a pipe in his mouth the pair can communicate. Lots of fun shenanigans ensue, this is a book for young and old alike.
All amazon links have been included in case you want to check any of the books out. Below are some honourable mentions that didn’t quite make the top 10. Mr Reading confessions recommends 100 bullets, a story about a mysterious man giving people the chance to take revenge on those who wronged them.
I also recommend checking out, A history of violence (very bloodthirsty but an excellent high octane read) and the comic version of Sin city perfect for fans of Noir fiction, and Liars Kiss another great noir detective story.