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Meyer, Ralph and Dorison, Xavier: XIII Mystery: The Mongoose.

Meyer, Ralph and Dorison, Xavier

XIII Mystery: The Mongoose

Cinebook, 2014, pp64, 8.99[pounds sterling]

978 1 84918 210 2

From the blood spattered cover to the stream of killings inside, this book is ultra-violent. It is a companion piece to the 'XIII' series and is subtitled mystery. Its premise is to take a flat character from action adventure series 'XIII' and flesh them out by giving them a back story. Although The Mongoose is about a hit man Xavier Dorison strives to make him sympathetic, urging the reader to understand why he has made certain choices. What is the catalyst that forces a young East Berlin immigrant into a life of contract killings?

This graphic novel is dark, cruel, poignant and tragic. It is aimed at an older readership- 15+, and among its themes are the art of killing, the question of morality, political corruption, greed and human desperation.

The art and colour work is striking, focusing on savage close ups and James Bond style action sequences. The palette ranges from electric blues to explosive splashes of orange to smoky greys, browns and sand tones to signify bright days, dusky nights and vicious killings. Locations include the gloomy Stasi run Russian sector of East Berlin, the scorching plains of East Siberia and American suburbia. It is derivative as it borrows from Clancy, Fleming and Ludlum with its cavalcade of military intrigues, government cover-ups, murders and high octane energy. It also has shades of the Michael Mann movie Collateral. Nevertheless it does achieve its purpose--to make, the Mongoose, 'a being of flesh, blood, humility and repressed desires' instead of an ugly, cardboard cut-out of an assassin. As a result it is a thought provoking study of the shades of grey that shape human morality.

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Author:Jennings, Tanja
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2015
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