Prolific mother-and-son pair Yolen (Mapping the Bones, 2018, etc.) and Stemple (The Seelie King’s War, 2016, etc.) return with another installment in their gritty noir graphic-novel series featuring a mystery-solving Scottish street urchin and his gargoyle employer.
Picking up where the previous volume left off, orphaned Craig is still reeling from having to commit an unspeakable act against a dear friend. Despite his regrets, he continues to work as a detective for Silex, a stone gargoyle affixed to a church parapet who oversees the city below. When a seemingly anachronistic young woman shows up on the church doorstep claiming sanctuary, Craig and Silex must help her before another Mephistophelian force unleashes evil upon 1930s Edinburgh. Building upon the evangelical explorations of the first volume, this is a dark and introspective thriller mixing equal parts history, Christian theology, and mystery. Readers will notice a definite improvement in Zangara’s (Stone Cold, 2016) moody black-and-white art; while he has sustained the atmosphere, he has sharpened his lines, rendering previously sketchy characters clearer and more distinctive. Each volume completes a case, although readers are forewarned of the religious and literary importance of the number three, laying the groundwork for what could only be Craig and Silex’s next adventure.
Although well-wrought, the elaborate combination of atmospheric historical details and a Christian theological slant may be daunting for some. (Mystery/fantasy. 10-14)