The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente

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The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Comics writer Fred Van Lente brings his experience and insider knowledge to this hugely fun read – a carefully studied look at the goings on in a Comic-Con, boosted by a thrilling murder plot and intriguing illustrations.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: July 2018
Publisher: Quirk Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1683690344

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Comic-Cons are a place of wonder and sanctuary for many people, and when Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, he's looking for both that and sanctuary with other fans and creators, plus the chance of maybe, just maybe reuniting with his ex. However, when his rival is found dead, Mike is forced to navigate every dark corner of the con in order to clear his name – from cosplay flash mobs and intrusive fans to zombie obstacle courses – Mike must prove his innocence and, in doing so, may just unravel a dark secret behind a legendary industry creator.

I'm a big fan of author Fred Van Lente – his work on comics has included the brilliantly atmospheric X-Men Noir, where legendary characters were portrayed in a pulp/film noir style, and also a brilliant run on The Incredible Hercules with author Greg Pak – a blockbuster superhero tale packed full of Gods, humour, romance and adventure that's remembered by me and many fans as a classic run on both the character and in Marvel in general.

In The Con Artist, as in his previous book Ten Dead Comedians, Van Lente moves more into the crime genre – but The Con Artist is packed with enough twists and pop culture references to keep fans like me happy. In fact, it's a hugely clever concept – with Mike Mason's role as a comic book artist allowing various illustrations (created by acclaimed illustrator Tom Fowler) to appear throughout the book – allowing the reader to be immersed in the situations described even more, but also offering subtle clues about the crime at the heart of the story.

There's a light tone to the heart of the book which reads very well indeed – it's clear that Van Lente knows Comic-Cons extremely well, and whilst he's not afraid to point a finger at darker sides of the comic community, this is mostly a light hearted and affectionate parody of the community, alongside a crime plot that comes to a clever and rather affecting conclusion. A well balanced read told with great skill – The Con Artist is both original and hugely enjoyable. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I recommend Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? by Paul Cornell – for another gripping crime thriller by a comics mainstay.

Buy The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente at Amazon.com.

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