Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sam and Twitch: A Book Review

Real life cops have to deal with a lot of problems: violence, tragedy, bureaucracy and the media are just some of the challenges as is the constant physical, mental and emotional stress. Fictional cops have to deal with all that and they have to contend with assassins, advanced technology, mutants, aliens, supernatural nightmares and the occasional zombie. In the fictional world, cops more often play cannon fodder rather than heroes.

Sam & Twitch are two cops that find themselves in the unenviable position of policing in the world of supernatural phenomenon. Supporting characters in the once popular Spawn universe, these partners start their “Ukadu” story line back on the force after a self-imposed exile. They are on the job less than a day before they are thrown into a simmering mob war, characterized by rampant corruption and an army of shadowy killers. When you throw in their domestic strife and interpersonal friction, you have a story with tension and conflict on every page.

The presentation is very well done. The art style of the book captures both the characters and the mood in a way that supports the dark and twisted tone of the story. The use of shadows and odd camera angles make you feel like you are looking into a world that is in some sort of perpetual nightmare. The dialogue and pacing also work very well. The mix of mystery, tension, drama and action are balanced and all the elements help to drive the story.

The problem with the story lies in the unanswered questions. Ukadu does a good job of setting the tone and telling the “why” events unfold the way they do. It just never stops to explain “how”. The book left me wondering how organized crime figures came into possession of their powerful weapons. It didn’t even attempt to explain who the major antagonist was or how they got that way. Maybe cops in a superhero universe take things like that for granted, but as a reader I felt that unanswered question made the story weaker than it could have been.

If you are a fan of police drama or crime stories you should definitely read Sam and Twitch. If you don’t want to mix your police procedurals with aliens, ninjas and zombies, this might not be your cup of tea.

Have fun.

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