An unusually affecting tale of a man and his dog, complemented by frequently strong artwork.


A man and his faithful canine wander through the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse in this debut graphic novel.

With the zombie catastrophe banging at their door, Alex Kelly and his dog, Boots, are about to have a very bad day. Their escape plan has been stymied by Alex’s dog-averse friends and so he and Boots prepare to brave the no man’s land without help. But when Alex succumbs to a nasty neck bite courtesy of one of the walking dead, he is left as glassy-eyed and shambling as the hordes outside. This will cause Boots to answer the age-old question: What if the owner of Greyfriars Bobby—the famous Skye terrier who spent 14 years guarding his caretaker’s grave in 19th-century Scotland—had risen from the dead? At first, Boots is confused by her owner’s new lack of interest and affection, but she nevertheless follows at Alex’s heels as the two encounter a George Romero–flavored landscape of staggering zombies, packs of ravenous dogs, and—perhaps the most dangerous of all—those few haggard survivors who will stop at nothing to stay that way. Throughout it all, Boots remains steadfast, but will her undying loyalty to her master get through that rotting brain of his, or is their relationship—like the world around them—doomed to destruction and decay? While the story may be wrapped in the familiar tropes of zombie fiction, Shepherd’s book is concerned more with the bond between man and man’s best friend than it is the standard apocalyptic nihilism of the subgenre, buoyed by sensitive work by Beaird (Action Land #3, 2018, etc.). Although the author’s narration occasionally veers into purple prose and Alex’s characterization is (understandably) minimal, Boots is effectively written and expressively drawn. And while some of the textured backgrounds, particularly in the smaller panels, threaten to overwhelm the action, Beaird excels with larger ones that allow him thicker, bolder lines and give the art a woodcut quality that fits the fablelike quality of the graphic novel. Should writer and artist embrace their strengths, they will undoubtedly be ones to watch in the future.

An unusually affecting tale of a man and his dog, complemented by frequently strong artwork.

Pub Date: March 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-1795-2

Page Count: 108

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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