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Bloody Chester Paperback – July 3, 2012
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About the Author
JT Petty is an American film director, author, and video game writer. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Hilary Florido‘s self-published mini-comics have been listed in the 2009 and 2010 Best American Comics. She works as a storyboarder on The Cartoon Network's "The Regular Show."
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in a form we are used to. I look forward to the followup.
This is a violent, brutal book and it starts off that way with a saloon fist fight. This is particularly hard to read/look at as the main character, Chester, is only a boy; no age is given but due to how he is drawn and the fact that he *just* needs to shave, though not everyday, he looks to be about 15 to this reader. He's scrawny and on the short side. This makes it hard to watch him being beaten by a man of much more advanced years. Chester's had a tough life like this and has the scars to prove it.
This is a good story, but a hard one to like. Not really a horror in my book as there is no supernatural element, though we are to consider one at times, but when the truth comes out in the end it is all the more horrifying because of the much to true brutality of man against man. This is a story of revenge, no one person comes out a winner, but it is bittersweet in the end and as one "gets" the message, it is powerful. Yet still a tough story to read, due to theme, graphic detailed images and language but if you like Westerns and contemplating the inhumanity of some humans; it is a worthy read.
This book doesn't have many totally positive reviews on Goodreads, which I don't understand at all. I completely loved this book; I loved the ending and the characters were all interesting and unique. The plot kept me thinking and I still keep thinking about what happened in this book. I have a lot more I want to say about what happens, but a good amount of that pertains to the ending and I don't want to spoil that (but if you do read this and want to talk about it, feel free to comment below or message me on any of my social media accounts listed below!).
My recommendation is obviously to pick up this book. It's a quick read and it will get you thinking, and it's enjoyable.
This review and others can also be found on my book blog: swimmingthroughliterature.wordpress.com.
Chester, nicknamed Bloody Chester, is a hapless young teen drunk and loser existing on the outskirts of the town he just blew into. Willing to let himself get beat silly as long as there is a meal and whiskey in it in the end, eventually he finds himself in jail and with a proposition. The railroad is coming to the neighboring ghost town and the sheriff wants it burned to the ground to ease a superstitious fear that would keep railroad slaves from working the area. Chester is given a shave, a gun, and some food and heads out to the town of Whale to set to his pyrotechnic work. But what he finds is a place full of death and superstition, disease and insanity. Where the craziest people of all are actually the sane ones. What he finds is coyote waits.
The author goes for the down and gritty - using graphic language, racist stereotypes, and the bitter ugliness of waking up with vomit on oneself. Chester is a thoroughly unlikeable character, weak, craven, and without conviction. But he's smart enough to do what he needs to in order to survive - and doing so is killing the boy each and every time. On the surface, this is a simple tale of mystery with a bit of horror and possibly supernatural thrown in. It's also a character study of how we fool ourselves and survival vs subsistence. Each of the characters that Chester meets seem simple on the onset but upon several reads, their character complexities and foibles manifest. There's no one in the book as an aside - each have something to say about life and the overall arc.
I think if you read this quickly and as a surface read, you're going to expect some supernatural shenanigans and then an ending to the story that frustrates as a result. If you read this several times and a bit more carefully, however, the ending makes perfect sense and really shows the thought put into the story. I can't help but feel that a more serious illustrative style might have been more interesting - the artwork is well done but leads the reader down a path of light skimming rather than pondering the story. I'm sure the editor appreciated that counterbalance but sometimes juxtaposing opposites like that neutralize each other's strengths.
That said, the story is easy to follow and well worth the read. I enjoyed this stand alone original story and really appreciated what the story brought to the graphic novel format.