Book One: The Pretenders
by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden
Art by Don Kramer
Berkley Publishing Group, $24.95, 116pp
Published: January 2014
This is a gorgeous graphic novel with an original story. A young girl wakes up in a cemetery, obviously the victim of a horrendous assault. She is sure she was actually dead for a minute or so but beyond that she isn’t sure of anything including who she is. It does occur to her that whomever tried to kill her might return to finish the job should they discover she survived. So hiding in a cemetery doesn’t seem like an outlandish idea. But life in a lifeless cemetery does present challenges in terms of eating so she does have to venture out; if only to steal what she needs to survive. She isn’t easy with stealing food from the cemetery’s caretaker nor the old lady whose house is right across the street. And when the old lady catches her in the act, her only defense is to flee. But the old lady sees a girl in trouble rather than being trouble so she starts leaving food outside her door. Eventually, Calexa as she names herself comes to trust the old woman but only on the condition that the police are not called. She spends her time reading the news hoping to find a story about a missing girl and is continually disappointed that no one seems to miss her. She also discovers that she is able to see spirits departing dead bodies laid to rest. It’s hard to know whether this is a new skill or if she was always able to do so.
Then, one night a group of kids sneak into the cemetery to perform a magic ceremony to bring back a dead friend. The ceremony takes a dark and ugly turn and Calexa is there to witness an awful murder. And that’s when she discovers that she can do more than see a departing spirit; she can actually communicate with one. The spirit of the murdered girl wants justice and it is obvious that Calexa isn’t going to have peace in her own head until she helps the spirit to find closure. But trying to bring the killers to justice will bring Calexa perilously close to the authorities and she can’t afford the exposure.
The art is really wonderful to look at in dark earth tones but clear and concise pictures; easy to follow. The story isn’t terribly original but a graphic story is always eye-candy even if the plot is obvious. And I’m sympathetic to Calexa and very interested in knowing if she’ll be able to forge new relationships with people who care about her. Click link below for reviews of Books 2 and 3. ~~ Catherine Book
For more titles in this series click here
For more titles by Charlaine Harris click here
For more titles by Christopher Golden click here