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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Street Angel, The Princess of Poverty. Jim Rugg (Words & Art), Brian Maruca (Words). SLG Publishing. (2005)

Of all the possible directions creators Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca could have taken a story about a homeless twelve year old skateboarding, martial arts master, Jamie "Street Angel" Sanchez the ones they choose are extraordinary. There is a warm compassion for Jamie Sanchez, she is a homeless child, struggling with the pressures of poverty, hunger and school and she is an action hero with wit and verve. Neither aspect overwhelms the other, the balance is natural and deeply affecting. The book is a riot of creativity with stories that spin and branch off in the most unexpected directions, laced with humour that is black as night. There are ninjas, deadly geologists and Inca sun gods mixed in with the first Irish Cosmonaut and a wereshark. The skewering of superhero and action comic story ideas are vivid and spot on. At the same time they are presented with such force and attention to detail that they work entirely on their own merits as action pieces that would be a highlight in any action orientated comic. The range of the stories is a great, from Jamie's rescuing the mayors daughter from a madman with a plot to reunite all the continents to a fight with a demon in a church, aided somewhat by Jesus, to simple search for food, not to mention time travelling pirates. They are neatly mixed character pieces with explosive action pieces.
The changes in tone and pacing that underline that Street Angel the action hero is also a homeless girl are achieve with subtle skill so that are not a grinding change of story gears, they flow seamlessly into each other and give the stories significant weight and depth. The glowing black and white art is easy to read, it is expressive and captures the absurd and the mundane with wonderful craft, in particular is gives Jamie an inner life that makes her jump off the page. A great comic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Quiet Belief in Angels. R.J.Ellory. Orion Books. (2007)

There is a credible crime story hiding beneath an avalanche of words in this book, I was drained by the time I reached then end, tired from reading the flood of words and trying to fish out what really interested me. The crime story is simple and thoughtful, starting in 1939 children are being brutally murdered in the town of Atlanta Falls in Georgia and in the surrounding area. The killings continue and the impact of these killings, they way they undermine to community is well described. In particular they way they intersect with the life of Joseph Vaughan, who is twelve when the first killing takes place, is the spine of the book. Significant events in Joseph's life are intertwined with the killings and their consequences, leading finally to a nicely unexpected revelation.
The problem is that wrapped around that central framework is a cascade of words that describe the emotional life of Joseph Vaughn in mind numbing detail and colour. The reader is sprayed with a technicolour vision of his life, his family, his attempts to escape the past and the way it traps him. Some of this writing is very good, in particular the scene with Joseph Vaughn and his partner are interrupted by a sheriff while having sex on the flat bed on a truck parked on a public road is superbly realised, menace and embarrassment are cunningly mixed. For the greater part the literary work is just excess, it does not advance the story nor does it effectively strike off on its own to be read with pleasure for itself. Joseph Vaughan is simply not a compelling enough character to sustain the book by himself and the necessary crime story is not given enough room to breathe to offset him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hellsing Vol 1. Kohta Hirano (Words & Art). Dark Horse Manga (2003)

The hugely enjoyable book manages to add something new to a vampire story which is quite a feat. The story framework is clever, the Hellsing Agency, correctly The Order of Royal Protestant Knights are vampire hunters for the United Kingdom. They are lead by members of the Hellsing family, their key agent is a vampire called Alucard who kills renegade vampires with a really big gun. Is the opening sequence of the book Alucard turns a police officer, Seras Victoria into a vampire as the only way to save her life. The rest of the book charts the very gory exploits of Alucard and Seras as the locate and exterminate other vampires.
The fantastic twist in the story become clear about half way through the book when it becomes clear that the Hellsing Agency is not just a group of vampire hunters, they are Protestant vampire hunters and they are in direct ongoing conflict with the Vatican's Catholic vampire extermination agency, the Iscariot Section XIII. The Vatican has a key agent too, Father Alexander Anderson. The meeting and subsequent fight between Alucard, Seras Victoria and Fr. Anderson is superbly done, the conclusion is very smart and unexpected too. The fact that the two groups compete with each other for religious reasons is a great element and Kotha Hirano has considerable fun with it. It gives the story a nice distinctive feel that provides considerable lift to the book.There is a nice sharp wit at work in the book, the cast are personable and lively, they move through the fast action with great momentum. The guns are huge and the gore is poured with a liberal hand and the whole is crafted into a thoroughly satisfying package.

Tank Girl One. Alan Martin (Writer), Jamie Hewlett (Art) Titan Books (2009)

The best thing about this book is the element that ensures it passes me by without a wave, it is bursting with a youthful swaggering confidence, a cocky sense of its own worth and the corresponding lack of worth of everyone older that it. This is clearly work created by people in the fever pitch of youthful creativity, they were gulping in the world and spraying it back out again with a strong sarcastic attitude that they were where it was at. Given the talent displayed in the book the confidence was well founded, the stories still crackle with the unconstrained energy and sheer in-your-faceness that remain vital and attractive today. The art by Jamie Hewlett is stunning, the extraordinary expressiveness of his lines and the great details are fresh and crisp after twenty years, they have not aged at all. Tank Girl herself is full of life and vitality, an anarchic live wire than will not, cannot be constrained by any authority. Her smile is a thing of beauty.
I am too far from the state of life and experience that the book captures so successfully to be able to slip into it. I do not miss it either, nostalgia does not unlock the stories for me. In my middle-aged surburban state I am what Tank Girl is opposing with all her heart and wit. I can appreciate but not enjoy. I am sure that there will be numerous reader for whom this will be a glorious shot to the imagination and they will be swept away by the wonderful Tank Girl, I hope so, the talented creators deserve it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Miniature Sulk. Jeffrey Brown. Top Shelf Productions (2005)

This book is a collection of short, mostly, autobiographical comics that capture a single incident or express a single idea. The art is on the crude side, the home made look of it mixes well with the content. There are no extended stories, all of the pieces are slight, for the most part they are not even anecdotes, they are to insubstantial for that. While I have a strong preference for structured fiction, I do not find the minutiae of stranger's lives inherently interesting this book does have considerable charm.
There is sufficient variety and humour in the the incidents to make it clear that Jeffrey Brown has talent and a considerable degree of craft. The incidents are mostly well shaped and they do not outstay their welcome. There is a two panel strip "My Most Hated Enemy" which captures the idea with wonderful economy and forcefulness. The problem with a lot of the stories or fragments is that they simply do not have enough force in them even at the very short length they get. While a mood or an incident is caught there is a lack of impact due to the fragmentary nature of the incident. They are a bit like really well made jigsaw pieces, rather pointless by themselves and only hinting at the potential of the whole puzzle. The single panel gags are more successful, the compression forces a punchline which are frequently sourly funny. There is considerably more that is good than not in the book, the form itself is the greatest weakness.

Little Arthur's History of England. Maria, Lady Callcott. John Murray (1952)

Some history books become historical artifacts in themselves as express ideas and specific attitudes that are more revealing than the intended content of the book. This book was first published in 1835 as a children's history. It had a very clear agenda, it was history with a purpose, moral lessons are drawn from the historical events and are intend to instruct Little Arthur and also to promote a patriotic pride in his country. It is the very directness of the editorial voice, the explicit judgements being made about the events being described are now the most historically interesting aspect to the book. As a short history of England from Pre-Roman times to 1820 it is comprehensive and packed with interesting incident and is a very well constructed narrative. It is unsurprisingly a very traditional and romantic version of the history of England being essentially a history of the various Kings & Queens of the country. They are each given a brief biography and the highlights or low lights from their reign are listed and they are assessed as being either good or bad both personally and as ruler. Other than the actual historical narrative the educational project underlying the book is fascinating. The author explicitly is placing the reader, the Little Aurthur of the title, in a historical context so that he will understand the need for public pride in his country, the history will give him the platform to see what he is part of and should it be necessary, defending. This books is a pleasure to read as it has been written by a gifted author whose skill makes the heavy handed editorialising palatable.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Left Bank Gang. Jason (Words & Art), Hubert (Colours). Fantagraphics Books (2008)

Jason's mastery of the high concept, allied to his superb technical skills and gifted storytelling abilities mean that The Left Bank Gang is clever, entertaining and ultimately very moving. The high concept is to have Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald all as cartoonists living in Paris in the 1920's. They are all struggling to be artists and creators and finding the going very tough and it takes a toll on their lives. In particular F.Scott Fitzgerald has a troubled relationship with his wife Zelda who is frustrated with him and her constrained life in Paris. Hemingway suggests that they rob the box office at the big upcoming boxing match. The heist is described in a Rashomon like fashion from the viewpoint of each of the participants, so the the unfolding disaster gradually becomes clear.
Jason draws all his cast as anthropomorphic animals, dogs and birds which very quickly ceases to matter, the characters are strongly enough realised to be very distinct individuals regardless of their outward form. The time that Jason takes to explore their lives, in particular Hemingway and Fitzgerald and the artistic circles they move in is thoughtful and expressive. There is a very strong and truthful sense of the relationships within the group of writers and within the marriages of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. The robbery arises naturally, it is not shoehorned into the story and the way it is played out is masterful. It is both an effective crime episode and a strong study of the cast and how they interact. This gives a considerable depth to the outcome of the robbery, the conclusion is grim, satisfying and true to the noir genre and the book as a whole. Jason's technique of using a regular grid for every page allows the story to breathe and emerge very strongly, the reader is not directed overtly by the art, the pacing has to work structurally from the story itself. Jason has fashioned a superb piece of work from an idea that sounds too clever by half and with a crime element to forced to be natural.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lazy Bones. Mark Billingham. Time Warner Books (2004)

This is a very enjoyable police procedural, the plot is satisfying complex and the construction is well thought out. The investigation is nicely described and the large cast are well developed and respond to each other and the changing circumstances in an engaging manner. The catalyst for the action in the book is the discovery of a murdered man in a seedy hotel room. He has been bound and hooded, he was strangled and raped. He also was a recently released convicted rapist himself and his murder raises a question that it gently pushed throughout the length of the book, are all murders equal? Would the investigation of the murder of someone who was a wicked man be pursued with the same force and vigor as the murder of an innocent man? The question does not dominate the book, it does surface in interesting ways and casts a nice shadow on the actions of the cast.
The action in the book is skillfully set up, there are a number of intersecting threads in the story, the investigation itself with the lead character, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, the subsequent murders, the terrible aftermath of a rape that will have deadly consequences in later years and Tom Thorne's developing relationship with another cast member. All of these threads are cunningly woven together and provide an unexpected and merciless climax. This book explores how terrible actions spawn ever more terrible consequences. Tom Thorne is largely in the usual mould of leading police detectives, he is rather morose, has a splintered relationship in the past leaving him now single and his work colleagues are closer to him than anyone else. The supporting cast are given plenty of space to develop and this is one of the major strengths of the book, the investigation has a credible team feel to it. The subject matter in unrelentingly bleak without ever loosing sight of the need to retain rather than repulse the reader. It is very well written, a griping crime novel.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friend of the Devil. Peter Robinson. Hodder (2008)

This is an enjoyable crime story marred by an display of unpleasant sexual politics that adds nothing to the story or to the cast members involved. A central female character is punished mightily for having a one night stand with a significantly younger man, a central male character gets to spend a night with a stunningly beautiful, confident, clever and much younger woman and enjoy it without significant emotional consequences. The contrast between the treatment of the two could not be starker and given the space that is devoted to the trouble that follows Annie Cabbot after she wakes up in a stranger's bed is impossible to ignore. It is in fact absurdly intrusive and contrasts so intensely with the silken treatment of Alan Bank's slide into sexual comfort that it has to be deliberate. Away from that the story is a very well constructed narrative about two murders. One is the rape and murder of a teenage girl in an tangle of little streets called the Maze. Peter Robinson manages to create a sufficient context to explain the use of sexual assault as a plot point, it is integral to the actions of the cast rather than a gratuitous grace note. The investigation is nicely set up and executed, there is a solid logic to developments and the conclusion is satisfying and credible.
The second murder is that of a woman in a wheelchair, she had been left at a cliff top with her throat cut. It turns out that she was not who she appeared to be, she had been a significant character in a previous investigation conducted by Alan Banks. This investigation takes a enjoyably unexpected turn and the conclusion is nicely developed. The cast are vigorous and well developed, the police are not very sympathetic, they are very credible. First rate crime writing, shame about the detours into stupidity.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1910. Alan Moore (Writer), Kevin O'Neill (Art), Todd Klein (Letters), Ben Dimagmaliw (Colours). 2009

This is a jellyfish of a comic, spineless, largely colourless, drifting aimlessly and with a bit of a sting. The art, the letters and and the colours are all first rate. The cast are well realised and the fitful action is well done. The problems all lie in the writing and they make a comic that is a unhappy mix of the insipid and insulting. Any story that uses the rape of a female character as a critical plot point is seriously holed beneath the waterline. The off hand use of sexual assault as a quick way to drive a plot forward and provide some kind of justification for bloody revenge is beyond insulting. The moral and imaginative poverty it proudly puts on display is is shameful. It does not shock or dismay me, it just makes me want to wash my hands to remove the taint of nasty stupidity. Special mention must be made of the way some of the cast sing their parts. It had the effect of pushing me out of the story and ensuring that frustration at the ham handedness of the process would keep me out.
For the rest of the story the fabulous cast unveiled in the first two books are reduced to insipid shadows of their former glory. They are nobodies who have no narrative function or momentum and who fill the pages with words that convey no passion or intent. All their wonderful vitality has gone and they have become the League of Dull Public Domain properties. This is a terrible waste of great talents, do not waste your time or money on it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mail. Volume 2. Houdui Yamazaki. Dark Horse Manga (2006)

A second volume of contemporary ghost stories that are as vivid and compelling as the stories in the first volume. The creator Housui Yamazaki has taken on a very difficult task, he has to create a story featuring a ghost posing a substantial threat to someone and have that threat resolved by the detective Reiji Akiba using his spirit gun both with a limited number of pages, he also has to have enough variety to prevent the formula becoming stale or repetitive. The stories in this volume show that he is easily up to the challenge, there is a nice variety of circumstance and resolution to ensure that the reader will not guess the possibilities too easily. The ghosts are more menacing this time round, their appearances are more violent and their appearances are more gruesome. This is still not a splatter book, it is just that some of the art is nicely explicit. The emphasis remains in all the stories on the living and how or why they have become entangled with the ghosts. Sometimes they have had a direct involvement with the ghosts and there is unfinished business that is keeping the ghost involved in their lives other times it is just bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The art is great, it is nicely understated except when the ghosts appear, the context is normal and unremarkable, homes, cars and very strikingly in a lift. The ghosts themselves are needy, existing in a everlasting now unable to change their circumstances without the assistance of the living. None of the stories are very chilling or frightening, they are carefully wrought to be nicely suspenseful and have satisfying resolutions that do not betray the set up. Their quality makes them a pleasure to reread.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Unquiet. John Connolly. Hodder (2008)

This book, in common with the other Charlie Parker stories, is an odd book. It is significantly overwritten and shrouds a very nasty mystery in a supernatural, Gothic framework that manages to diminish and expand the story at the same time. There is no doubt that John Connolly is a hugely talented writer and he has a gift for creating compelling narratives that encompass appalling activities with skill and sympathy for the cast. At the same time there is an enormous superstructure tied to the stories that gives them a very distinctive flavour while slowing the momentum of the mystery. Charlie Parker is a private investigator working in Maine who has suffered an appalling tragedy in his life, the horrific death of his wife and daughter. Their ghosts haunt him still and their deaths gave him a sense of the fragility of social order and the magnitude of evil. He is hired by a woman being stalked by a very dangerous man, Frank Merrick who is looking to revenge himself for the disappearance of his daughter. A disappearance he believes the woman's missing father had a part in.
The opening of the book, which is essentially unrelated to the remainder is one of the best sequences in the book and where John Connolly's writing style is used to its best effect. The rest of the story as the initial questions start to lead to a more widespread corruption and human depravity is explored is very good. The central mystery is well structured, the reveals and pacing are excellent and the conclusion is sharp and logical. It is the surrounding business with the vaguely supernatural aspects that sometime catch and amplify the themes of the story and sometimes just get in the way. The overwrought atmosphere sits uneasily with the action of the story. On balance this is an enjoyable read, it is a fine balance.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Surrogates. Robert Venditti (Writer), Brett Weldele (Art & Letters). Top Shelf Productions. (2008)

A superb science fiction story that is thoughtful, moving and just a little worrying. The central idea in the story is brilliant, robots with a direct connection to the brain of a controller allow the controller to sit inside while the surrogate conducts the external life of the controller. The controller can experience a life without having to live it. The possibilities for good and for ill are vividly explored in the book, wrapped up in an exciting and very well constructed narrative. Someone is attacking surrogates, they appear to be getting ready to launch a massive attack which would disable all the surrogates in the city. Detectives Harvey Greer and Pete Ford are trying to resolve the case and catch the techno-terrorist before the plan is realised. The story unfolds with considerable skill as the shape of a society that has come to depend on surrogates is revealed and the pressures that come with are explored.
The idea is so compelling that there was a possibility that it would overwhelm the story, the creation of a story would come second to the exploration of the idea and its implications.Robert Venditti has displayed considerable discipline and restraint in ensuring that the story brings the idea to life and that the actions of the cast reveal the idea and it terrifying implications. Harvey Greer is a great character, sympathetic and tough with a sad and truthful core to him. One of the really nice things about the book is that all the cast get a fair outing, they are given the chance to express themselves , this really draws you into the book and gives it weight and substance.
The art is stunning, Brett Weldele creates very expressive and dynamic drawings and layers colours and photographs on them to achieve an astonishing variety of panel shapes and effects. The art is never too loud, drawing attention to itself at the expense of the story, it creates a striking and distinct context wholly suitable for the book. This is first rate science fiction, speculative, bold, very intimate and human, just brilliant.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mourn Not Your Dead. Deborah Crombie. Pan Books (1997)

This is an engaging update of a classic English village murder mystery. It has all the right ingredients, the murder of an unpopular man at his home in a small village, a tight web of secrets and relationships and an investigation lead by an outsider who has to penetrate both to come to a solution. Deborah Crombie takes this rather moth eaten scaffold and builds on it with care and considerable ingenuity, she develops her mystery with scrupulous attention to detail and clever updating. The murder victim is a senior policeman from London, the investigation is lead by another police officer from London, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid who is assisted by Sergeant Gemma James. They have a ruptured relationship which plays out across the story, it is not intrusive and it is managed with considerable restraint, it is however the least interesting aspect to the book. It does give some depth to the principal players and does weave nicely into other interactions among the cast, overall it struck me as more set dressing than critical to the book.
The heart of the book is the unravelling of the mystery, who killed Alistair Gilbert and why? This is done exceptionally well, the story unrolls at a deliberate pace and the small cast and restrictive context are used with great skill. The pacing of the reveals and the responses of the cast are beautifully judged, the interlocking elements of the puzzle are put into place with skill. The cast are well described and the action is natural and flowing, the motives are sharp and pungent, there is nothing old-fashioned about the action. Superb craftsmanship and deep talent have combined to deliver a very satisfactory and enjoyable read.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dying to Sin. Stephen Booth. Harper (2008)

This is an excellent, complex and superbly cast crime drama. It is part of a series that feature two detectives, DS Diane Fry and DC Ben Cooper and set in the Peak District in Derbyshire. The setting is a critical part of the series, it is a major character in each story, the actions of the casts are framed and influenced strongly by the countryside, the slow death of the industrial countryside and the ways of life it supported. The cast are steadily developed over the series, there is not overwhelming continuity, each book stand easily as a self contained story, read as a progression the developments are an enjoyable extra aspect to the books. A body is found at an isolated farm, it is a cold case, the body has been buried for some time. The farm had been sold and was being renovated. The man who sold the farm had moved to a nursing home. There are severe difficulties in identifying the body, when a second headless skeleton is found the investigation starts to become more complicated. The farm and the local village clearly hold a variety of secrets that they are tightly holding on to. The story unfolds into a very modern and very savage explanation for the presence of the bodies at the farm. Stephen Booth introduces a wide and very varied cast and draws the threads of his story with great skill as the reveals steadily mount up and a very satisfactory conclusion is reached.
One of the major strengths of the story is the credibility of the cast, they are very well drawn and they act in natural and understandable ways. They interactions between them effectively drive the story as well as revealing more about the cast themselves, the conclusion is a organic outcome from the forces described in the story. A really satisfying read by a very talented writer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

B.P.R.D. The Warning. Mike Mignola, John Arcudi (Writers), Guy Davis (Art), Dave Stewart (Colours), Clem Robins (Letters)

This story arc does something relatively unusual in comics, particularly where there is an extended continuous storyline already in existence, it escalates the threat in the story logically and effectively while still maintaining the threads of the storyline. Placing the cast in danger is straightforward, what requires considerable planning and creative flexibility is to have existing threads within the story line dramatically develop in a compressed period without having the appearance of haste. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi manage this with considerable skill, they take off from the cliffhanger ending of "Killing Ground" and proceed to execute a body swerve that raises the stakes to a global level. The cast continue to evolve and respond to rapidly changing circumstances in very natural ways, they are becoming considerably tougher and more determined. They have truly emerged from Hellboy's shadow and become experience fighters in a brutal and uncompromising struggle against powerful and determined enemies. The range of those enemies is underlined in the book as more and more emerge to stake their claim to the Earth and to move against humanity.
Guy Davis captures the scale of the battles as a major city is pounded by an unexpected invader, a partial victory that seems to show the way to future defeats is the bitter result. At the same time as the huge drama fills the pages, the cast are as engaging as ever and the troubles that each have are engrossing. They give a critical context to the conflict they are involved in, through them we can see what could be lost if they fail or falter. The use of continuity within these stories is remarkable, details that echo previous stories or pick up threads that had appeared to be forgotten so that past events can bee seen to have cast shadows forward, add to the depth of the story rather than strangle it. A superb episode in an extraordinary unfolding story.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Vol 1. Hayao Miyazaki . Viz Media ( 2008)

Written in 1983 Nausicaa has been published in a nice set of volumes by Viz media in an unflipped format. They are a little bigger than the standard comic collection which is a distinct advantage, the slightly bigger pages give the details of the panels room to be seen and does make reading from right to left easier to manage. This first volume does a very nice job of setting up the story, introducing key cast members and story concepts in very clear and uncluttered fashion. The world is suffering from a ecological disaster created by a war fought a thousand years ago. A great toxic forest, the Sea of Corruption, home to deadly spores, enormous insects and the giant Ohmu is creeping across the globe. Humanity is reduced to various outposts around this forest, one of which is the Valley of the Wind. Sea breezes keep the spores from the valley but not the creeping poisons that are steadily reducing its population. Nausicca is the princess of the valley, she is drawn into a war by treaties signed with the Torumekian Empire.
The politics of the Empire are very nicely sketched in by Hayao Miyazaki as the discovery of an ancient weapon of mass destruction creates present destruction in the battle to control it within a wider war to control more of the diminishing stock of resources available to humanity. At the same time the purpose of the toxic forest is revealed. The ecological concerns are well integrated into the story and are not played up to the detriment of narrative momentum. The art is lovely, it is graceful and flowing, the details are plentiful but not obtrusive, the cast are very expressive and easy to read. The action sequences are done with great force and clarity and the story unfolds at a steady pace. Very enjoyable.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Columbine. Dave Cullen. Old Street Publishing (2009)

On the 20th of April 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attempted to blow up Columbine High School, Colorado, they were positioned in the car park to pick off the survivors escaping from the blast, the bombs failed to go, they entered the school and killed 13 people, severely injured more before committing suicide. This serious and riveting book by Dave Cullen examines the path up to the killings and the long lasting aftershocks. The book exposes the myths that have sprung up around the killers and their motives, the myths arose from both the need to have an understandable and acceptable explanation as much as from the need for the media to have a hook for the stories they were providing. The most serious myths are concerned with the idea that this was a "school shooting" the explanation had to be intrinsically involved with school life, that this was a bloody tale of vengeance by outsiders on those who bullied them, that the killers targeted jocks, that there was a "Trench Coat Mafia".
Eric Harris in particular went to considerable trouble to explain why he was going to do what he did, it was because he wanted to kill a lot of people to enjoy the power and display his superiority and contempt for everyone else on the planet. His aim was to exceed the death toll from the bombing carried out by Timothy McViegh in Oklahoma City. Dylan Klebold was a utterly angry and depressed person who contemplated suicide as the release from his frustration with his life. The book takes in a wide scope, it looks at the lives of all those who were involved in the massacre and follows the aftershocks and reconstructions with care and compassion and probably brings us a close it it is possible to the the reasons why the rampage took place. It is a serious, very well written book which in spite of its subject matter is a pleasure to read.