Lost and Found: An Amy Devlin Mystery
Writers Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis have worked together for a long time, on a variety of genres and with several publishers. In the field of spooky mystery, their Amy Devlin graphic novel series now consists of three books, each with a different artist. All involve exploring how the past affects the present, how dirty secrets can’t be hidden forever, and how some of the authorities in our lives can’t be trusted.
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.
All Saints Day begins in clever fashion, suited to Weir and DeFilippis’s time in Hollywood. A screenwriter is working on a script based on the Past Lives case, which provides Amy an opening to cover the events briefly and catch readers up. The California setting — and the types that tend to dwell there — is a major part of the series.
But I’m here to talk about the newest book, Lost and Found. Drawn by T.J. Kirsch, who previously co-created She Died in Terrebonne with Kevin Church, it involves another cold case, this one a kidnapping. After a drought of business for Amy, her client is a young woman who thinks her father may not really be her father.
Kirsch is particularly good with attitudes, having characters show their feelings through their poses and expressions. His art is crisp and easily readable, even in the moody moments. The books are full of dialogue, but Kirsch keeps all the talking visually interesting, and the dialogue is useful, not space-filling, telling us more about the characters and their discoveries.
Those discoveries are family-based, tying into Amy’s own struggles with her father. He demands success from her, and her business challenges complicate her investigation of the lies fathers tell their children. Plus, there’s a Hollywood self-help group, Life Science Institute, promising therapy and covering up any number of secrets.
Like the previous books, Lost and Found is a highly entertaining mystery story, suspenseful and full of twists. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)