Craig McGowan, a young, white Scot, is recruited by Silex, a gargoyle, to join his detective agency and solve crimes in a mystery graphic novel.
In 1930s Edinburgh, Scotland, Craig contemplates ending his life from the top of a cathedral on which Silex, an ill-natured gargoyle, is perched. Thanks to Silex, Craig doesn't go through with the jump. Together with Father Harris, an aging priest (also and unsurprisingly white), Silex runs an investigative service. To help solve a recent series of mysterious deaths, Silex invites Craig to join the agency, and as the teen begins his apprenticeship, Father Harris begins training Craig to gather information from locals. Throughout the mystery, Scottish colloquialisms are generously dispensed: “lads,” “lass,” “wee bairns,” “toffs,” “dodgy,” “git,” and more. Yolen and Stemple’s writing style draws heavily from detective and crime novels, adding to the pulpy feel of the text, mostly made up of dialogue augmented by Silex’s inner thoughts and selective snatches of third-person narration. Zangara mirrors the text with fittingly moody black-and-white panels that depict dark and intricate city skylines, expressive character close-ups, shadowy spreads, and slanted, rain-filled backgrounds. Political, theological, and socio-economic undertones reverberate, underscored by the occasional death scene.
A visually engrossing noir debut in the vein of Sin City, this setup promises a number of sequels. (Graphic mystery. 12 & up)