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Thumbprint h/c

Thumbprint h/c back

Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella & Vic Malhotra


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

“Excuse me, but I don’t think that’s appropriate reading material for the tram, do you?”

I swear, synchronicity truly is a very strange thing. Have you ever had the sensation that simply because you thought something, that a causal effect seemed to happen almost instantaneously? Case in point: I had boarded the tram into town the other morning and began my usual routine of extracting some reading material from my backpack. Having removed it first, obviously, not being a contortionist. As I peered inside the Page 45 carrier bag within my backpack, trying to decide which of the week’s new books I was going have a look at, the thought crossed my mind that this work might just conceivably, given the author, have some potentially horrific content inside. I wasn’t entirely sure what the story was about, given the title, but on balance, I thought, it probably should be alright. I mean, I did have CROSSED VOL 7 in there too, but there are some things you just know you shouldn’t read on the tram...

Anyway, a few pages in, when we start getting to the point where thumbs are being chopped off, all in the cause of the plot, mind you (remember the title...), and not particularly gratuitously either, the probably forty-something lady sat next to me took it upon herself to ask me the above question. Now... I will grant you that I did have it explained to me, at school and by my parents, that replying to a question with a question of one’s own, can be perceived by the instigator of said initial query as rude. But, sometimes, to be blunt, I can’t help myself. So I enquired in suitably measured tones (i.e. merely thinking “fuck off” inside my head) as to whether she considered it appropriate to read other people’s books over their shoulder on the tram, or indeed in any other location she might choose to frequent.

End of conversation and cue a very quiet, enjoyable and indeed peaceful twenty minutes spent reading this on the way into town. I was, I must freely admit (just between us), tempted to replace this book inside my backpack and do a show-and-tell for my esteemed co-traveller on the merits of the graphic novel using CROSSED VOL 7 which, I could feel by now, practically levitating its way towards the surface of the carrier bag, buoyed by the soothing rhythm of the tram plus maybe a little by the seething indignation of my neighbour. But I decided against it. Because, really, there are some things you just know you shouldn’t read on the tram, no matter how much you want to. I couldn’t help wondering, however, whether she would have said anything if I hadn’t thought that particular initial thought in the first place. Probably though, she just had that sort of face...

I really enjoyed this, by the way. It’s more THE CAPE and THE CAPE: 1969 than LOCKE & KEY in terms of plot and content; I think there might possibly be a direct nod to one of the characters in THE CAPE: 1969, actually, though without going back and reading that work I can’t be sure. Anyway, it’s a great piece of non-supernatural contemporary horror, set against the backdrop of a disgraced female US soldier, private Mallory Grennan, discharged from the service after getting caught up in the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, struggling to fit back in on civvy street. She’s trying her hardest to start over, but when someone starts leaving pieces of paper with bloody thumbprints on for her to find, including inside her house, it begins to become apparent not everyone has managed to put the past behind them.