Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were a reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
Jeff Mariotte is no stranger to licensed stories, having done novels based on CSI and Spider-Man among others. He’s also written original novels such as Cold Black Hearts, River Runs Red, and Missing White Girl, but I don’t follow horror stuff. He’s also written comics, most notably one of Bluewater’s “Presidential Material” comics, about Barack Obama. Based on his body of work I’m thinking we have another horror story, and I did notice the art on the opening page does feature Nazi memorabilia so we’re back to those guys.
The Leopard’s Eye
By Jeff Mariotte
November 17, 1947: I was right about the Nazis, but it wasn’t a supernatural story. It was a noir-style crime drama. We meet private dick Phil Cleveland as he gets a call from his girl about her missing brother. When he learns that her brother’s friend was found shot dead, he ends up getting involved with an ex-Nazi trying to fence a gem stolen from friends of the Phantom, and teaming with the Phantom himself. The elements are all there, including the twist I admit I didn’t see coming, but I don’t read a lot of stories in this genre.
There was one moment of unnecessary exposition about the name of the diner Phil’s “friend” (who he wishes were more) works at, but it’s not story breaking. There’s not a whole lot I can say between avoiding a lot of spoilers and my limited knowledge of the genre tropes. The story was well written, told from Phil’s perspective of course. (I do know something about the genre.) In the limited amount of time granted us by the short story we do get invested in the characters, and Phil’s description of the Phantom’s costume is good. If I didn’t already know what it looked like I would now. The description is written as if you have no prior knowledge of what it looks like, which seems odd in the middle of the book, but if this were printed elsewhere it would totally work.
This is definitely one of the better stories in the book, and worth a read. So far I’m impressed with most of the stories in this anthology. However, we have plenty more to go.
Next time: “I Of The Storm” by Mike Bullock