BookBin2012: Blacksad: A Silent Hell


I know, I know: It’s no longer officially 2012. However, I did finish this book last year (ooh, that feels so weird to write), so it still qualifies…even if I was too lazy to get here to post the review before the calendar switched.

You might recall that a couple of years ago, I read and completely fell in love with the first Blacksad collection. Of course, the moment I learned there was a new book, I didn’t even hesitate. I hit that one-click order button on faster than you can say anthropomorphic animals.

This time, rather than being a collection of stories, Blacksad: A Silent Hell is only one story, plus a couple of somewhat lackluster shorts at the end. However, the main story is full of that film noir fury that made the first collection so enjoyable and memorable for me. Also, it’s another chance to enjoy the luscious artwork of Juanjo Guarnido. Honestly, denizens, he’s one of the most amazing artists working in the field today. Each panel is amazing, and honestly I believe he even bested his previous Blacksad work with some incredible artistry for A Silent Hell. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

There’s not much else to say. It’s a gritty detective tale, this time set in New Orleans. I have to admit, I did enjoy the fact that it was set in the Big Easy. I enjoyed even more my own personal “Where’s Waldo” moment when I spotted a character in the foreground of one of the crowded street scenes who was obviously based on the physical characteristics of a very famous New Orleans literary figure. I’ll leave it at that. But I’ll be sure to make a note of his appearance in one of my Big Chief writing tablets. (A nice cold Dr. Nut to the first person to crack this code.)

Guarnido gave an enormous level of effort in getting details of the city and its outlying areas as close to recognizable as possible. So close that at times I could almost hear the rattle of the street cars as they lumbered through the Magazine district or the raging jazz and blues as they tumbled out of open doors and into the deepest corners of the French Quarter. If I haven’t made this point yet to you, please note: Guarnido’s artwork makes every page worth studying, absorbing, enjoying, and finally returning to over and over again.

Final Verdict: Definitely a keeper, already nestled onto my shelf, right next to its “big brother” Blacksad. And thus ends my reading efforts for 2012. I made it to 40 books in 2012, which was 11 shy of my record since I started writing reviews here at the lair and 6 shy of my reads from last year. I’m okay with this. I’m less okay with the fact that I only read 6 books from my own collection while I read 30 from the library. If I’d read 30 from my own collection, I could have almost completely obliterated at least two of the stacks of books piled up around my nightstand! So I’m going to make a concerted effort this year to again focus on my own collection. Is that my resolution? I suppose it is.

Read on, denizens. Read on…