Fogtown

Fogtown

3.0 1
by Brad Rader
     
 

A gritty, graphic pulp fiction about the temptation, damnation and redemption of Frank Grissel, an aging, hard-knuckled private eye—and a deeply closeted homosexual, set in the very real world of 1953 San Francisco.

Aided by his long-suffering secretary (and sometime live-in lover) Loretta, Grissel's search for a runaway girl winds up with him becoming a

Overview

A gritty, graphic pulp fiction about the temptation, damnation and redemption of Frank Grissel, an aging, hard-knuckled private eye—and a deeply closeted homosexual, set in the very real world of 1953 San Francisco.

Aided by his long-suffering secretary (and sometime live-in lover) Loretta, Grissel's search for a runaway girl winds up with him becoming a suspect in a string of gruesome murders. The case takes twists and turns through the Golden Gate's greasy underbelly: the beguiling arms of Chinese shipping heiress (and smuggler) Lady Tze; an unexpected reunion with Betty Grey, the daughter he abandoned long ago; the loss of Loretta to the sadistic clutches of the high-powered "Colonel;" and finally the horrifying gender-bending truth about the runaway and the murders and all those missing organs. Frank also confronts his own "horrifying truth," earning his daughter's forgiveness and, perhaps, the love of another man.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What first appears to be a straightforward investigation for a quintessential hard-edged private detective becomes far more as hidden truths about the crime and the man investigating it are slowly revealed in this grim mystery. Frank Grissel is a private investigator with not much work coming in who suddenly finds himself mixed up in a missing persons case looking for a woman's runaway daughter. But in the course of the investigation Grissel soon ends up on the wrong side of both the police and several powerful individuals operating on the wrong side of the law. Writer Gabrych weaves in twists to the story that repeatedly cast new light on all of the characters involved and force the reader to constantly re-evaluate the expectations they'd built up. Rader's art creates a fitting noir atmosphere in the book's setting of 1953 San Francisco, and his no-frills depictions of violence emphasize the harsh realities of Grissel's situation: in over his head and taking desperate actions to simply stay alive. The surprises come frequently and suddenly at times, and dangerously close to derailing the plot entirely, but in the end the story holds together and leads readers to an unsuspected conclusion. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 12 Up—The book opens on a foggy, summer night in San Francisco, 1953. Grizzled, tough-talking Frank Grissel is a boozer and a private investigator by trade. Searching for a missing girl, he stumbles upon possible connections with the murders of local prostitutes, an evangelistic millionaire, the Chinatown drug trade, and his own haunted past. Gabrych crafts a well-written, well-paced piece of noir. Grissel's wry, cynical internal monologue appears in lettering reminiscent of a typewriter, adding to the period mood. The story is full of interesting characters and surprising twists and turns, and readers will be compelled to reread passages to see hints of the dark secrets hiding in the shadows, literally and figuratively. Emulating the comic-book art of the 1950s, Rader's black-and-white pen-and-inks finished in graytones create bleak, mesmerizing images. With its skillful use of light, shadow, and fog, the illustrations are extremely effective and easy to follow. The language reflects its time period with racial slurs and derogatory names for homosexuals and women. Artwork includes nudity, eviscerated bodies, and suggestive scenes of sodomy. Fogtown is a gritty excursion into the dark underbelly of San Francisco. The gripping crime mystery unfolds in stark panels of eye-catching artwork. This is for mature, older teens looking for a hard-boiled, hard-hitting read.—June Shimonishi, Torrance Public Library, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401213848
Publisher:
DC Comics
Publication date:
08/10/2010
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
8.46(w) x 11.04(h) x 0.59(d)

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Fogtown 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
Vertigo Crime has been an interesting imprint in the noir crime vein. Here, Andersen Gabrych and Brad Rader deliver a somewhat convoluted but intriguing book nonetheless. Taking place in San Francisco in early '50s a private investigator with plenty of secrets has to sort out who is telling the truth and what's right and wrong. The story is full of different degrees of evil and its hard to find someone who isn't morally bankrupt. Its gory and sad and the main character is hard to root for. There are a few too many easy conveniences and coincidences but overall there is something to the plot. The dialogue is pretty spot on for the time frame. The art is really good and would work even better in a full size version of this book. Rader's faces are all distinct and that's not always easy in a black and white book. Overall, this is a very dark book that might be too grim to enjoy but its pretty good.