Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery

May 25, 2004 | Trades


Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery
Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith
Dark Horse Books
$20.50 (Paperback)
**** (out of five)

Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith’s debut hit 30 Days Of Night was an impressive debut that could be hard to top.
Their sophomore effort does.
Criminal Macabre, a combined hard-boiled detective and horror story, has crammed a lot of elements from both genres into an extremely entertaining package. The book’s hero, Cal McDonald, has many of the elements of the stereotypical 1940s detective, a la Sam Spade, complete with drinking and drug problems. He’s smart, sardonic and he knows his job: stopping the things that go bump in the night.
Complemented again by moody images by Templesmith, Niles does a great job of creating something that is familiar, yet original. While some of the material is graphic and occasionally disturbing, there is an ease to reading it.
This collection is enhanced nicely by a foreword by horror maven and musician Rob Zombie, an afterword by Niles explaining the origin of Cal McDonald and an eight-page bonus story.
Criminal Macabre is definitely a book that leaves you wanting more. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from Niles, Templesmith and Cal.

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