Premise: The city of Red Wheelbarrow has had a spike in crimes, but only because the new detective in town is solving them with a perfect record. With his amazing deductive thinking and use of new spy technology, Detective Gould is catching every criminal in town.
But the recent string of crimes are as strange as they are seemingly connected, and Detective Gould is facing his biggest challenge yet. As he attempts to track down the culprits of these confusing crimes, Gould might just have found his match for solving crimes. In fact, the challenge to solve the crime might be much more intentional and personal than he knows.
Themes: Becoming too immersed into a job can cause strain on personal relationships. Detective Gould begins to learn this as his marriage suffers, as do his other relationships, as the expense for being extremely good at his job and pouring everything into it.
Another theme in Red Handed is the questioning the contrast between law and justice. As Detective Gould makes arrests, the criminals are arrested under the law, but justice is still under scrutiny by the manner in which they are made. Can causing something terrible to happen through intentional yet completely legal means be considered justice?
In pure crime fiction fashion, Red Handed poses mysteries to be solved by a crack detective searching for clues and motives. With a twist of an ending, solving the crimes becomes more personal as the crimes themselves are turned back onto Detective Gould.
Pros: I love that we get a little glimpse of a story before we know what it means, only to see it later on and to have it make more sense and continually bring a new layer of depth to the main plot. The little previews of upcoming and past threads in each of the different character stories add so much more depth to each thread and to the overall story. The retro noir feel of the art style fits perfectly with the crime genre. Kindt knows when to be sparse with his art and when to be more elaborate. I especially like how he makes the newspaper clipping type scenes of Detective Gould solving the crimes actually look more like early sketches with remaining pencil lines compared to the rest of the book. With hints at violence and sex, Red Handed manages to stay fairly clean by doing the more risqué things off screen.
Cons: I actually found myself flipping back constantly as new story threads were introduced to find the little hints and previews that only made sense once you reached them later on. It was a bit confusing as it jumps around and could be something that might either keep people from appreciating the story from start to end or confuse people so much that the story makes less sense on the first read through.
Recommendations: The interweaving stories in Red Handed make the seemingly inconsequential threads come together into a masterfully woven tapestry full of depth and intrigue. Crime fiction and mystery readers will absolutely love what Matt Kindt has done with Red Handed. Not only does he tell a deep, multifaceted story, but he is an incredibly talented artist. The story jumps around a bit and the art looks retro with a hint of noir, but it feels timeless in that it could be placed anytime within the last seventy years or so. If you are looking for a crime fiction graphic novel that gradually gives you new revelations but leaves you guessing until the very end, Red Handed is probably right up your alley.
Matt Kindt’s website
Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes on Goodreads
Buy Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes on Amazon
I received a copy from the publisher to write this honest review.