The Bronx Kill - Graphic Novel Review

I disagree with the testimonial.

The flaw is on my end, but I'm a far harsher critic on a story that features a struggling writer as the protagonist. I feel the same way about movies about people making movies. Ugh. Moving on... 

The writer in this case is Martin Keane, a should-be fourth generation New York cop who bucks the through line of his family history and, instead, is a one-hit wonder novelist with a failed second book. One who would far more successful if he took his father's advice and wrote something like Ed McBain or James Ellroy. The problem with Martin's writing is that he can't connect to his past and his work feels like he's running from something. 

Of course he is. 

There's a long-lingering family secret concerning Nora, Martin's Grandmother, who mysteriously vanished without a trace long ago. 

After spending several months in Ireland, away from his father and Erin, his wife, Martin returns home to New York, reinvigorated as a writer. Soon after his homecoming, Erin goes missing, and shortly thereafter, Martin becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. 

Without spoiling the mystery, family dynamics from generations past play themselves once again in a forgotten section of land where the book gets its title from. This is a quick read with a very straightforward plot line. 

As a protagonist, Martin doesn't do a whole lot of "doing." He's largely a pinball being shot across a flashing board of stereotypical cops, literary agents, detectives, etc. Even when he learns the great big family mystery, it's only when another character is inserted into the story for the sole purpose of explaining it to him. 

The female characters don't fare much better. They exist merely to be a canvas in which the tired and played out theme of the overbearing father versus the sensitive son is to be painted on. 

Scattered throughout the narrative are passages of Martin's current in-progress manuscript that he works on in real time as the story plays out. It's an interesting device that has potential, but more often than not simply summarizes the previous few pages. 

The art is sketchy and has an indie comics feel to it. It's certainly grittier than the story and does a lot of the heavy lifting here as far conveying the feel of the story. 

The Bronx Kill. Written by Peter Milligany. Art by James Romberger. Two of out Five Generations of NYPD Beat Cops with Dirty Deep Family Secrets.


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