“The Ghost Script,” by Jules Feiffer

June 20, 2018

Oh my god.

I won “The Ghost Script” by Jules Feiffer in a good reads giveaway and my very excited opinion is honestly mine.

“The Ghost Script” is the third book in a trilogy. If I’d realized that I wouldn’t have entered the contest, as I haven’t read the first two and it can be hard to jump into a series partway through without knowing what’s gone before. But I’m really glad that I entered the contest (and, of course, that I won). The noir-ish series covers the McCarthy era of anti-communism, the Red Scare, the blacklisting of folks in Hollywood and the politics of the time. There’s right wing unions, left wing unions, communists, trotskyites, and young nazis.

The main protagonist is Archie Goldman, a private dick who is… not very glamorous and loses just about every fight he gets into, including fights with himself over what he should or shouldn’t do. There’s a cast of other PoV characters exploring different themes and adventures as well, including murder and revenge.

The book is very well paced and even though I was a bit lost at times because I hadn’t read the previous two volumes, I was mostly able to follow along… a remarkable feat on Feiffer’s part. The characters have very distinct voices, personalities, and motivations.

The art is very Feiffer-ian, at first glance nothing more than loose messy scribbles. A closer look shows just how familiar with the human body and body language he is, how good he is at composing scenes and conveying emotion and action. What look like toss-away rough drafts show a delicacy of facial expressions and meaning. It takes a lot of work and experience to capture such a loose line so effortlessly.

I raced through this book, eager for more, and can’t wait to pick up the first two volumes. If you’re a noir buff, a history buff, interested in American history, and/or interested in comics this is absolutely the book for you. I was very excited to read it.

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