NOWHERESVILLE is a beatnik crime noir that grows on you as you read it. It starts with a slow burn as Mark Ricketts unfolds a number of seemingly unconnected vignettes in nineteen-fifties New York City. When a young woman is murdered, Chic Mooney, a Jack Kerouac-esque coffee shop owner slash zen philosopher, decides to do his own investigating and finds himself entangled in a web of gangsters, pornographers and dirty cops. The result is a very dense work that feels like a free associative romp at times, but somehow ties up fairly neatly in the end. In other words, it's something like Robert Altman directing a Raymond Chandler novel adapted by Spike Lee.
NOWHERESVILLE is the type of book that feels like it's more about the atmosphere then execution -- especially set against the background of Ricketts' moody and evocative black and white art -- and the first quarter or so does nothing to dispel that. Right when you least expect it, though, Ricketts sucker punches you with his storytelling jab, a clever trick that makes this little bugger very, very difficult to put down. NOWHERESVILLE is the kind of book that's hard to escape from; like a good film that resonates in your mind's eye for some time after watching it.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.