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Book Review < Back

A Small Killing

Credits: Written by Alan Moore and Illustrated by Oscar Zarate
Publisher: Avatar Press


Slightly reminiscent to me of Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective, A SMALL KILLING pursues the life of an advertising executive, himself pursued by a small child of ominous supernatural presence. As his adult life becomes corrosive, he finds himself chased back to his own childhood in middle England. As the Singing Detective became the emotional detective of his own life, so does the ad exec dig back to the beginnings of his own brand, the things that defined him. The small killing that haunts him still.

It is, perhaps, more a song than the huge symphonies we've come to expect from Moore. But it is a very personal, tremendously affecting piece of work, and a keystone in his body of writing. It seems a palimpsest of his failed magnum opus Big Numbers, an intended 500-page rumination on modern life in a Midlands town - a focusing of the themes launched in the eighty pages that saw print.

It, to me, also had an effect on From Hell. Up to Big Numbers, Alan's work was marked by a supercomplexity of plotting - a million strands up in the air and all tied around one another. From Hell, though, began in earnest after A SMALL KILLING, shows something different. Plot strands that would previously have been pursued in parallel now largely resolved themselves separately. In From Hell, Alan becomes the writer he was always supposed to be - a writer whose plot elements support emotional complexity. A SMALL KILLING is the beginning of Moore the mature writer.

-- Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.


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