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Elk's Run Paperback – March 27, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally serialized as a comic book (until its publisher went under), this coming-of-age thriller appears in its entirety for the first time. The young protagonist, John Kohler, is even more bored and frustrated than most teenagers: he's grown up in the tiny town of Elk's Run, whose fanatical survivalist founders have sealed it off from the rest of the world, turning it into a sort of cross between Mayberry and the Branch Davidian compound. When a fatal accident leads to a revenge lynching and a series of murders, John and his friends try to escape; their parents come after them; and the ensuing cat-and-mouse game involves a mine fire, a stockpile of napalm and a stash of terrorist plans. Tuazon's chunky, scribbly brushwork occasionally seems too crude for a story whose heart is in its gritty precision. Still, his characters' facial and body language is remarkably expressive, and he pulls off some clever visual interpretations of the story—flashbacks to the teenagers' childhoods are drawn in a cartoonier, Archie-inspired style. And although the story is sometimes marred by simplistic characterization (the parents go from cruel disciplinarians to murderous psychotics rather quickly), Fialkov builds the suspense incrementally until the cycle of violence becomes a wave of disasters. (Mar.)
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From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up–The inhabitants of Elk's Ridge, WV, have set themselves apart from the rest of society in order to live in their particular version of paradise, but their dream is shattered in short order. Led by a Vietnam vet with a strongly imbedded hunter mentality, the adults have prepared themselves for an onslaught from without. In an old mine shaft, once the town's reason for being and sole source of income, they have stashed guns, ammo, napalm, and all the provisions and plans for self-protection. The town's inevitable downfall, however, comes not from the authorities on the outside, but from its teenagers. The adults neglected to foresee that their own dream would not necessarily become their children's. When the violence starts, prompted by a tragic accident that leads to an ugly scene of mob justice, the young people immediately begin to question their parents' motives. And when the violence escalates, the questioning turns to rebellion. This is not a particularly new story, but it is precisely and cleverly rendered with believable dialogue, expressive facial and body language, and captivating childhood flashbacks drawn in an innocent cartoon style, in contrast to the main story's angular imagery. While the outcome may appear obvious to some readers, Fialkov provides intriguing twists and turns as he adds to the mounting suspense.–Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; First Edition edition (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549511X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345495112
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Matiasevich on April 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's a real treat for those of us who followed the book through its (shall we say) bumpy publishing history to finally get the whole story in one volume. With half of the book's 224 pages as previously-unseen material, picking up this book is a no-brainer even if you have picked up every ELK'S RUN issue out so far. And what you would get is a book put together by a creative team firing on all cylinders.

Fialkov's coming-of-age story, while relatively straightforward, unfolds using points of view from multiple characters. Done often (and often poorly), he manages to give the story real weight by picking the right POVs and using them each to maximum effect. Once the story grabs you with its well-drawn characters, it doesn't let go, taking you on a tension-filled ride with a satisfying conclusion. And what could be better than that?

The book's art (linework by Noel Tuazon and colors by Scott Keating) really gives this story its own distinctive look. Tuazon's art may be a little roughly defined at times, but it always manages to convey exactly what each scene needs, which is the essence of good comic storytelling. He's also helped out by Keating's evocative coloring. Like a good cinematographer to Tuazon's director, Keating's excellent sense of using color to enhance mood makes this story hit the reader on more than one level.

Aiding and abetting these three are letterist Jason Hanley, chapter artist Datsun Tran, and editor Jason Rodriguez. Hanley's job is probably the least recognized of the three; the better he does it, the least likely anyone will notice. But the fact that reading and understanding Fialkov's words in this story is an effortless endeavor means he has done it exceptionally well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Monteiro on June 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If there were more like this, the stigma "comics are for kids" wound not exist. Elk's Run has many elements for a great horror story, isolated town, cast of distinct and interesting characters, a mystery that thats draws you in, and atmosphere that wont let up. Almost from the first page you get the feeling "something is terribly wrong here". All the character go through believable arcs, and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion. If you are a fan of the Image Comics series "Girls" or "walking dead" or into horror novels that focus more on the human drama "The Stand" then this is more than worth looking into. I'll definitely be looking for to what they have in store next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve on April 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wasn't sure what type of story to expect when I purchased Elk's Run but I was familiar with the creative team, having read their other collaboration: Tumor. This is a great companion piece to Tumor, not in subject but in that both books delve into the choices and actions of people/persons who have to make life or death decisions.

Elk's Run is about a secluded town that has chosen to isolate itself from the outside world and govern themselves and their children the way they see fit. It's a very "eye-for-an-eye" society where a simple mistake could cost you your life. And that is how the town is run - until the children decide to try to make it to the outside, just beyond the tunnel which is the only connection to the rest of the world.

Highly recommended. Edge of your seat suspense that leaves you turning the page to see what happens next...
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