GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Book Tour

Top Shelf: IDW. Nov. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781603094795. pap. $24.99. Rated: Teen+.
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An author seeking to promote the release of his new novel finds himself in an increasingly bizarre, surrealistic nightmare in this Kafkaesque comedy by Watson (Kerry and the Knight in the Forest). Immediately upon arriving in an unnamed city, G.H. Fretwell is robbed of his luggage and discovers the police are more interested in interrogating him that pursuing the thief. He carries on, only to find his signing ill attended, his accommodations atrocious, and his itinerary repeatedly extended by his otherwise incommunicado publisher, who may actually have gone out of business without telling him. As nearly everyone he encounters greets him with disinterest or disdain (if not outright hostility), Fretwell’s fairly passive insistence on making the best of strange circumstances gives way to a frantic desire for escape, especially after a pair of policemen accuse him of committing a gruesome murder.
VERDICT Watson’s adeptness at capturing body language and facial expressions combines with nuanced dialog and a keen sense of irony to create a hugely entertaining page-turner. After having spent several years creating work for younger readers, the author’s long-anticipated return to more mature themes dazzles.

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