Past Lies

Trevor Schalk was an aviation millionaire who was murdered 25 years ago. Before his death, his hypnotherapist tried to make it so he’d remember his previous life in his next. Now, an up-and-coming closeted actor thinks he has Schalk’s memories, and aspiring private eye Amy Devlin is hired to find out what’s going on.

Past Lies cover
Past Lies
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The situation allows for the dynamite line “I want you to find out who killed me.” Weir and DeFilippis, as a writing team, are able to handle diverse genres well — I’ve enjoyed their Maria’s Wedding (family soap opera); Skinwalker (horror mystery); and The Tomb (mystical adventure, illustrated by the same artist as here) — but while reading them, I get the feeling that they somehow all seem like movie pitches. In this case, that line would make a great trailer scene or ad copy. The movie association isn’t a bad thing; it means that the story moves with plenty of attention to action and visuals, and the dialogue is distinctive and snappy. Maybe I’m reading too much into the Hollywood setting and the writing team’s screenwriting background. (I’m pretty sure supporting couple Greg and Jen are real-life spouses Rucka and van Meter, though.)

Everyone’s got their quirks and their background, maybe too much. I’m kidding, I think it’s a good thing that I want to see more of some of the characters that have too little “screen time” and that they all seem three-dimensional, with more background than we’re able to get into. I also really like Mitten’s art. He’s got a simple, sparse style that’s a bit skewed to suit odd stories (like Last Exit Before Toll). And I’m a sucker for female private eyes.

The book is set up, with the subtitle “An Amy Devlin Mystery”, as first in a series, and I hope we see more. The work isn’t deeply affecting, but it’s an entertaining read, the equivalent of a good popcorn flick. There are preview pages available at the publisher’s website. Christopher Mitten also has a website.

2 Responses to “Past Lies”

  1. Budget for Good Books: Comics Out October 13 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] the present as Amy Devlin seeks to catch a holiday-themed serial killer. It’s a followup to Past Lies, and the former book is an important part of the new one’s background, so you might also want […]

  2. Lost and Found: An Amy Devlin Mystery » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Past Lies (drawn by Christopher Mitten) first appeared in 2006, although it was reissued in hardcover in 2010 to match the second book, All Saints Day. That one was illustrated by Dove McHargue with Kate Kasenow, and it’s the story of Amy’s time in the cold case division for the Beverly Hills police department. She finds an unsolved 30-year-old murder of a former movie star and gets drawn into the story of a serial killer who operates every ten years. […]




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