White Knuckle is a another visceral tale from the mind of Cy Dethan, beautifully illustrated by Valia Kapadai, and elegantly lettered by Nic Wilkinson. Published by Markosia Enterprises, this book weaves the complex tale of a former serial killer known as “The Gripper,” who is tormented by the delusional visions which drove him to kill when he was young, and a seemingly chance encounter which leads to his involvement in the life of the family of one of his victims.
Now, I do try to review without giving the story, so we are going to gloss over details which would turn this into a spoiler, and for that I ask your indulgence.
I was immediately intrigued by the cover art, which is elegant in its simple, yet forceful appearance. I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case it seems that the cover makes a promise of violence and drama, and delivers on it in spades. The opening scene immediately seizes the reader’s attention, and the one which follows makes for a jarring confluence of emotion as the the story unfolds. Dethan crafts a tale which takes you on a journey of compassion, guilt, hope, horror and courage, cowardice and despair– a journey which takes a long, hard, and ultimately revealing look into the nature of violence and the raw humanity of it all.
Valia Kapadai’s artwork is loose and dynamic, with a cinematic feel that turns each panel into a visually gripping (no pun intended) scene. The sepia tones which dominate the palette work beautifully to create the mood throughout the book, and the page layouts shift as these moods go from poignant and sorrowful to tormented and terrifying. I was equally impressed by how even the “gutter” areas of the pages were used to great effect in establishing mood, pacing, and atmosphere.
Nic Wilkinson is a masterful letterer, with a style that is refreshingly understated in an era of over-the-top lettering that often obfuscates the story. At the same, time, there’s a raw, vital energy that bursts onto the page just when it’s needed.
Overall, this was a book that surprised me with a very different take on the “serial killer,” and had me re-reading pages because they were so well put together. If you are a fan of these gifted storytellers, you MUST read this. If you aren’t a fan, you will be by the time you’re done reading it.
Pre-order your copy today right here.