The Con Artist
This illustrated mystery will appeal to comic book fans and anyone who appreciates an unconventional whodunit.Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, seeking sanctuary with other fans and creators—and maybe to reunite with his ex—but when his rival is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect. To clear his name, Mike will have to navigate every corner of the con, from zombie obstacle courses and cosplay flash mobs to intrusive fans and obsessive collectors, in the process unraveling a dark secret behind one of the industry’s most legendary creators.

The Con Artist Details

TitleThe Con Artist
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 10th, 2018
PublisherQuirk Books
ISBN-139781683690344
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Humor, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

The Con Artist Review

  • Cameron Chaney
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent a copy of The Con Artist in exchange for an honest review.The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente follows Mike Mason, a formally famous, now homeless comic book artist who spends his life traveling from Comic-Con to Comic-Con. When a murder occurs at the San Diego Con, the police begin to connect the murder to Mike. Thus begins a weekend-long romp of Comic-Con insanity to expose the killer and clear his name.The murder mystery sub-genre is pretty cut-and-dry when you get down to it: a murder I was sent a copy of The Con Artist in exchange for an honest review.The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente follows Mike Mason, a formally famous, now homeless comic book artist who spends his life traveling from Comic-Con to Comic-Con. When a murder occurs at the San Diego Con, the police begin to connect the murder to Mike. Thus begins a weekend-long romp of Comic-Con insanity to expose the killer and clear his name.The murder mystery sub-genre is pretty cut-and-dry when you get down to it: a murder occurs and someone must track down said murderer. Simple and familiar, sometimes effective, but almost always an entertaining ride. The Con Artist is exactly that, but there is something that makes it unique: nerd culture.Yours truly has never attended a Comic-Con before, as I am quite the introvert and find large crowds to be unpleasant and, frankly, annoying. Too much noise, too many smells, too much energy, too many lines... Basically, a big part of what Comic-Con is. However, as a nerd, there are aspects of it I find appealing, so The Con Artist was a nice way to experience Comic-Con without actually putting strain on my social battery. I'm sure a lot of you can relate.That being said, The Con Artist was still a bit exhausting because you have the chaos of three different parts moving at once: the murder mystery, Mike Mason's personal life, and the Comic-Con itself. Fred Van Lente does a mostly decent job of organizing it all and keeping the reader on their toes, but it does feel a bit busy at times... much like an actual Con. Therefore, it should be obvious that if you aren't a die-hard nerd or don't find Comic-Con appealing, this novel probably isn't for you. There are dozens upon dozens of references to pop culture, so you really need to know your stuff before going in.Speaking of references, there are a few that gave me pause while reading, things I've never seen in a novel before. For instance, toward the beginning of the book there is reference to the first season of HBO's Westworld coming to Blu-ray later this year. This stuck out like a pop-up ad on Buzzfeed, even though you know for a fact your ad-blocker is enabled. I don't know if this was an actual paid advertisement or not, but regardless it felt like product placement to me. There were a few instances like this, and they were pretty distracting from the story. Again, I don't know if this was actual product placement, but I could have done without it.Otherwise--entertaining, funny, and smart--The Con Artist is a truly unique spin on the mystery genre. Mike Mason is a character readers can root for, and it is through his perspective that Van Lente gives an interesting commentary on the comic book industry, making some truly hard-hitting points about its creators and the endless cycle that turns them out and spits them back out. It's not pretty when you think about it, and Fred Van Lente really makes you think. Recommended.OVERALL, 3.5 STARS.
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  • Penelope
    January 1, 1970
    *5/5 STARS*The Con Artist is an Adult Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente.The story follows comic book artist, Mike Mason as he lands in San Diego to attend this year’s Comic-Con. Being a comic book artist, Mike has an open invitation to attend Comic-Con every year and because Mike has recently separated from his wife and is basically living from con-to-con, he attends as many as he can in order to support himself. As well as a way to avoid settling down.Soon after arriving at Comic-Con, Mike finds *5/5 STARS*The Con Artist is an Adult Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente.The story follows comic book artist, Mike Mason as he lands in San Diego to attend this year’s Comic-Con. Being a comic book artist, Mike has an open invitation to attend Comic-Con every year and because Mike has recently separated from his wife and is basically living from con-to-con, he attends as many as he can in order to support himself. As well as a way to avoid settling down.Soon after arriving at Comic-Con, Mike finds himself in a very unfortunate situation when he becomes the prime suspect in a former co-worker’s murder. Not only is the murdered man Mike’s former co-worker, but he is also the man that Mike’s wife left him for. Hence the prime suspect situation. From there, this book basically chronicles Mike's adventures and misadventures as he tries to prove his innocence by hunting down his lone alibi and teaming up with friends and former co-workers to try and track down the real killer.Okay, so let's talk characters. Mike is hilarious in a way that many people might overlook. He’s got this kind of dry, sardonic sense of humor that I adore. Probably because I myself have been told that I have the same kind of sense of humor. In fact, yes, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: I whole-heartedly consider Mike to be a brother from another mother. As much as I adored Mike, the side characters were just as great. This is not the kind of book that has boring, one-dimensional characters thrown throughout as a filler. Each and every one was just as hilarious and memorable.The writing was smart, funny and so easy to read. I wasn’t expecting this book to be as funny as it was, but it honestly had me laughing the whole way through. Pacing was also fantastic. I never felt bored or like I was getting info dump on unnecessary topics. It was as solid a read as I can recommend if you're looking for a quirky, murder-mystery.However, if you’re not a nerd, The Con Artist probably isn’t the book for you. Fortunately for me, I am the nerdiest of nerds and understood each and every pop culture reference and enjoyed this book immensely. I will definitely be looking into more of Fred Van Lente’s work in the near future.(Thank you again to Quirk Books for sending me an advanced reader’s copy of this book!)
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher because working at the library is the best.Crime and Comic Con are two of my favorite things (especially if I don't have to moderate a panel), so this was right up my alley. Clever and witty with lots of geek easter eggs, cosplay, zombie prison breaks, and of course because this is 2018, Nazis, and the requisite twistyness is entirely plausible instead of ridiculous. A fine homage to being a nerd that doesn't gloss over some of the issues specific to women ne I received an ARC from the publisher because working at the library is the best.Crime and Comic Con are two of my favorite things (especially if I don't have to moderate a panel), so this was right up my alley. Clever and witty with lots of geek easter eggs, cosplay, zombie prison breaks, and of course because this is 2018, Nazis, and the requisite twistyness is entirely plausible instead of ridiculous. A fine homage to being a nerd that doesn't gloss over some of the issues specific to women nerds. My only issue is probably ARC-related (view spoiler)[that it seems like there are meant to be clues in the illustrations but the drawings are so raw they're hard to find, but I'm assuming that they'll be cleaner when this is published (hide spoiler)]. The top end of three stars.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    To be published in time for SDCC, The Con Artist is a hilarious mystery where a slightly washed-up comics artist is blamed for the death of his bitter rival.It's important to note that both the author and illustrator are seasoned comics veterans and that really shines through the pages. I've only been to one big comic con (ECCC, big but not nearly as big as SDCC I know) but I relived some of my experiences (lines! getting to meet rad artists in Artists' Alley! awesome cosplayers!) while reading To be published in time for SDCC, The Con Artist is a hilarious mystery where a slightly washed-up comics artist is blamed for the death of his bitter rival.It's important to note that both the author and illustrator are seasoned comics veterans and that really shines through the pages. I've only been to one big comic con (ECCC, big but not nearly as big as SDCC I know) but I relived some of my experiences (lines! getting to meet rad artists in Artists' Alley! awesome cosplayers!) while reading this book.In getting the con experience right, and in highlighting the details that only the people on the other side of the table (comics professionals) would experience, the author holds up con culture, nerd culture, and the entire comics industry for scrutiny. Pay attention to the social commentary, especially surrounding the darker side of comics where artists' original intellectual properties become absorbed by mega publishers and where no health care is to be found for these artists and writers who brought so much joy to children and adults through their staple-bound pages.The text is lightly peppered with sketches from the main character's notebook, and I figured there would probably be clues in them that the reader should try to interpret to determine whodunnit. The MC, Mike, occasionally recalls a clue from one of his sketches, but once or twice he recalled details I could not discern from the sketches I saw. Either I'm really bad at this (likely) or the sketches in the ARC are preliminary and will have more detail provided in the final copy.There was just one thing that bugged me: there's a paragraph after Mike gets into [someone's] previously locked phone where he then changes a setting so the phone never goes sleep so that he can get back in again. Why doesn't he just change the password, or remove the lock screen entirely? It's a detail that doesn't further the plot but it does frustrate the reader.Other than that, this book was perfect and exactly what I hoped it would be!I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Fizah(Books tales by me)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not my type...It is filled with the terms I don't have any idea what are these. DNFing it.
  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars- all of the elements of this were things that I should love, but it just didn't come together in a way that I personally enjoyed. I think the humor attempts didn't quite work for me... but to be fair, noir in general is a little bit of a hard sell for me anyways, so that may have impacted my experience. If you like noir and comic culture, I think this is worth a try
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 2.5 starsI really wanted to love this book, and I had a kind of hard time deciding how to rate it. The Con Artist is a murder mystery set at San Diego Comic Con from the perspective of a comic book artist who is off his game, divorced, and basically lives at conventions. The premise sounded amazing, and there are things to like here, but ultimately the negatives pulled the rating down for me. What I liked:- References to lots of very specific geeky things- In depth background on t Actual Rating: 2.5 starsI really wanted to love this book, and I had a kind of hard time deciding how to rate it. The Con Artist is a murder mystery set at San Diego Comic Con from the perspective of a comic book artist who is off his game, divorced, and basically lives at conventions. The premise sounded amazing, and there are things to like here, but ultimately the negatives pulled the rating down for me. What I liked:- References to lots of very specific geeky things- In depth background on the history of comics- Sometimes funny and clever writing- A decent plot that takes jabs at predatory corporate behaviorWhat I didn't like:- A narrator who can indulge in too much navel-gazing - A tone of thinly veiled condescension toward a lot of fans and fandoms- Occasionally offensive language and plot points with regards to race, mental disability, former prisoners, and probably more.Overall, reading this book felt a bit like navigating a minefield. I might be enjoying the story when suddenly something would be said or something would happen that would feel uncomfortable or offensive. And if this just happened once or twice, I would probably brush it off and give it a pass. But it was a consistent issue throughout the book. Among some of the more egregious ones:- Having a Latina character with one arm who could have been really inspiring, but instead is used as a mentally unstable plot device.- Poking fun at fans on the autism spectrum- Making a group of former convicts into racist Nazi criminals So I can understand why people might enjoy this book, but these issues just detracted too much from the story for me. It had a lot of potential, but it was a miss for me. I read an advance copy of this book.
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  • Stephanie (That's What She Read)
    January 1, 1970
    I love mysteries, and when I saw that this was going to be a murder mystery with a bit of nerdtastic fun, I was in. I enjoyed The Con Artist. We follow a comic book artist named Mike who has arrived at San Diego Comic Con. When Mike's known professional and romantic nemesis turns up dead, and Mike is struggling to find a solid alibi for the time of the murder, he makes his way through the chaos of the convention to solve the mystery itself. This was a lot of fun. My favorite characters were prob I love mysteries, and when I saw that this was going to be a murder mystery with a bit of nerdtastic fun, I was in. I enjoyed The Con Artist. We follow a comic book artist named Mike who has arrived at San Diego Comic Con. When Mike's known professional and romantic nemesis turns up dead, and Mike is struggling to find a solid alibi for the time of the murder, he makes his way through the chaos of the convention to solve the mystery itself. This was a lot of fun. My favorite characters were probably the cops, Sam and Twitch, their deadpan sarcastic dialogue had me chuckling a few times. I liked Mike as a character, he read like a Jason Bateman straight-man type. He was honest about the not so great things about comic culture, like the treatment of artists and the often toxic culture that exists in fandoms. He's a character that you can root for as a reader. The back cover said that there were supposed to be clues in the ten illustrations, but I didn't find anything. The pictures were sketches, so it was hard to see any details in the background. The story does a get a little overwhelming at times, but not in a messy way that loses the reader. This was a fun, quirky read that I would recommend to anyone who considers themselves a "nerd." *I received a copy of The Con Artist from Quirk Books in exchange for a review*
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  • Todd Glaeser
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads.I used to live in San Diego and used to go to SDCC annually until movies and tv took over and getting tickets became a lottery system. I think it’s been 5 years (maybe 6) since I’ve been able to get tickets.Fred Van Lenth does a great job of capturing the essence and atmosphere of Comic-con. He’s been on both sides of the table, as well as in the Hall and the after parties. (I have to guess about the parties.)My only concern is that the co I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads.I used to live in San Diego and used to go to SDCC annually until movies and tv took over and getting tickets became a lottery system. I think it’s been 5 years (maybe 6) since I’ve been able to get tickets.Fred Van Lenth does a great job of capturing the essence and atmosphere of Comic-con. He’s been on both sides of the table, as well as in the Hall and the after parties. (I have to guess about the parties.)My only concern is that the comic-con and nerd culture references fly so consistently and accurately, will some reader outside “the fandom” be able to make sense of it?
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  • Max Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Thank You Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewA book about fandom. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, books about fandom are in right now. And The Con Artist joins a surprisingly short list of them that manage to really capture fandom in a smart, thoughtful, and overall inspiring way. Plus it's a murder mystery set at Comic Con. How awesome is that?Comic book artist Mike Mason is a con vagabond, going from convention to convention withou Thank You Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewA book about fandom. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, books about fandom are in right now. And The Con Artist joins a surprisingly short list of them that manage to really capture fandom in a smart, thoughtful, and overall inspiring way. Plus it's a murder mystery set at Comic Con. How awesome is that?Comic book artist Mike Mason is a con vagabond, going from convention to convention without a stable home. Having just arrived in San Diego for Comic-Con, Mike is immediately swept up into the murder of a mid tier comics industry type that soon typhoons into a whirlwind of high ranking entertainment goons, counterfeiting, and murder.The Con Artist is a incredibly fun read. It takes place over the four days of comic con as Mike searches for a murderer amidst the geeky and unapologetic. It's an incredible love letter to a culture that Lente has a real respect for while also pointing out its flaws. This never felt like a malicious examination of the comics industry, but a critique on the positive and negative aspects of fan culture and the entertainment industry. The worlds within the convention center and the surrounding areas were crafted with a remarkable detail and care. Lente really created an atmosphere that felt so authentic to the cultural event San Diego Comic-Con has become. As a narrator I though Mike was pretty good. At times, I felt his character sorta vanished and because more of a pair of eyes to experience the story with, but then he'd crack a joke or have a really good character moment that suddenly turns him into a more of a character. But I don't know, a lot of his personality only really come out in relation to other characters. His inner monologue was mostly generic industry talk and issues in said industry discussed in almost a textbooky manner. Sure there was a piece of personal info thrown in here and there, but overall it felt like Lente was trying to create a character that was almost generic, an everyman so to speak. Which isn't bad, the joy of this book comes from the mystery aspect and the environment not the main character. But, Mike almost felt like a safe choice for this book. This book discusses a lot of issues, fame, owner intent, how much creators are paid, sexism. and so on, but they're almost all kept at a somewhat healthy distance due to the fact Mike doesn't experience them first hand. These are things he sees and hears about, not something that personally affects him. The biggest issue this book tackles is how much creators are paid and the fact they're often thrown away. But it's something that affects Mike's mentor, Ben K, and not him. Everything happens around him or to someone he knows, and not him personally, which I creates a disconnect between his character and the audience.However, the murder mystery aspect which is what sold me on this book was brilliant. Expertly paced, I was genuinely shocked by the twist ending. Sure, I figured out who was the red herring and who was the murder as the story progressed, but this book made me second guess myself, made me change my way of thinking. I was on the edge of my seat until the end, because this book was so eloquent and fun that I just had to know. This book makes you think one way and then another and I really appreciate the skill that goes into that sort of thing.Does it have it's problems? Sure, but The Con Artist is a great mystery with an even greater atmosphere and setting. It's something I definitely recommend trying out this Comic Con season.
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  • Lydia Timpson
    January 1, 1970
    Michael Miller is a comic book artist down on his luck who heads to the annual Geek heaven event that is San Diego comic con. He hopes to spend the time signing comics and drawing commissions but instead gets embroiled in murder, mayhem and Mister Mystery.I loved this. As a geeky convention-goer it really ticked all the boxes in terms of pop culture references and reality. Certain inside jokes (Con-time, the various stereotypes, cosplayers and celebrity) were lovingly laid and gently mocked. It Michael Miller is a comic book artist down on his luck who heads to the annual Geek heaven event that is San Diego comic con. He hopes to spend the time signing comics and drawing commissions but instead gets embroiled in murder, mayhem and Mister Mystery.I loved this. As a geeky convention-goer it really ticked all the boxes in terms of pop culture references and reality. Certain inside jokes (Con-time, the various stereotypes, cosplayers and celebrity) were lovingly laid and gently mocked. It was also brilliant to see the other side of the artists table. I love comics but have never been a stalwart collector so it was fascinating to hear of all of the careers that you didn't even realize existed.I'm so happy that there are more and more books coming out that focus on the geek side of popular culture; having drown in a sea of Summer Camp or Space/Jock/fat/cheer camp stories it is lovely to finally have something that we can identify with. Fred Van Lente is a great comic book artist himself and knows how to set the story with words as well as pictures. The sketch outlines were interesting in ebook form so I assume in print form they are even better.
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  • Kira
    January 1, 1970
    *received an ARC for review*4.5 stars*This book is written for fans. Fans of TV, comics, movies, all fans of all kinds. I LOVED all the references, the shout outs to all kinds of fandoms, the loving detail that went into coming up with future ideas that are completely plausible for the entertainment industry. I loved all of it.It's too bad the story wasn't as good. It's a typical 'who dunnit' murder mystery, and it got kind of convoluted near the last third, but it was still enjoyable.I would de *received an ARC for review*4.5 stars*This book is written for fans. Fans of TV, comics, movies, all fans of all kinds. I LOVED all the references, the shout outs to all kinds of fandoms, the loving detail that went into coming up with future ideas that are completely plausible for the entertainment industry. I loved all of it.It's too bad the story wasn't as good. It's a typical 'who dunnit' murder mystery, and it got kind of convoluted near the last third, but it was still enjoyable.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's a major fan of the entertainment industry in general. I loved all the artwork throughout the book as well.On a side note, I could totally see this being turned into an amazing one shot TV show or movie. It was so fun to recognize all the references thrown in (I'm a huge purveyor of all mediums of entertainment so this was completely up my alley). It would probably star Nathan Fillion.
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  • Shilpa
    January 1, 1970
    The title of Fred Van Lente's book is brilliant, to say the least. It's a novel about a comic book artist, in particular Comic Con artist, who spends his days with no fixed address, going from one comic book convention to the next giving talks and signing books. The book has a hilarious tone to it, despite the anxiety that envelopes the whole situation. It's worthy of farce, punctuated with recurring comments, such as when Mike responds to questions about what he does for a living:"Comic books. The title of Fred Van Lente's book is brilliant, to say the least. It's a novel about a comic book artist, in particular Comic Con artist, who spends his days with no fixed address, going from one comic book convention to the next giving talks and signing books. The book has a hilarious tone to it, despite the anxiety that envelopes the whole situation. It's worthy of farce, punctuated with recurring comments, such as when Mike responds to questions about what he does for a living:"Comic books. Really? They still make those?"The book is a nod to Comic Book fandom. It's a fast read that makes a great carry-on when you're travelling by air, or the train, and perfect for a weekend vacation. Don't be surprised to get nods and questions from fellow travellers though. The cover of The Con Artist really catches the eye.An entertaining read 👍★★★★☆sukasareads.com
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    While most people think of "summer reads" as books that takes place at the beach, this was the perfect "summer nerd-read" because it takes place at the San Diego Comic Con. The book was made even more enjoyable while I read it because I started it while the Con was taking place. I've never been (and truthfully will probably never be able to go), so it was a lot of fun reading a book that took place at "Nerd Central." I may never be there mysel, but at least I was able to enjoy it vicariously thr While most people think of "summer reads" as books that takes place at the beach, this was the perfect "summer nerd-read" because it takes place at the San Diego Comic Con. The book was made even more enjoyable while I read it because I started it while the Con was taking place. I've never been (and truthfully will probably never be able to go), so it was a lot of fun reading a book that took place at "Nerd Central." I may never be there mysel, but at least I was able to enjoy it vicariously through this novel. It was also a pretty solid mystery. I didn't guess the culprit, and I actually fell for the red herring that Fred Van Lente threw in the path. I'm not exactly Sherlock, but I have been able to guess some mysteries. (Not gonna lie, I totally called "Murder on the Orient Express! And I'm kinda proud of that.) So getting a twist that really surprised me was an added bonus. I really enjoyed all of the nerd references, making the book as much fun as it was a page-turner. The downsides, for me, were typos that happened enough that the Grammar Nerd in me noticed. (I mean, typos happen, I know, but they happened enough that I found myself thinking, "Oh, another typo," while reading it.) That's not so much an author thing as it is a publishing thing, so it doesn't really detract from my rating. Just... as someone who used to work as a writing assistant, it's hard for me not to point out. What did detract from my score, however, is that the author would sometimes get a little "preachy." Now, the moments when he talked about how great the fans could be and how the art of creating Something from Nothing was reward enough... those moments definitely out-shined the others. But there were times when I couldn't help but think, "Way to generalize all of us. Geez." One time in particular was when the main character was talking about how Muslim people like Ms. Marvel, African American people like Storm, people in wheelchairs like Oracle. And how white guys like everything because everything is made for white guys. I thought that was a little... too broad of a stroke. Sure, there are some things that we are going to identify with because we see them in ourselves. For instance, when I first got into comics, Tony Stark was my favorite character because he essentially had a heart condition, and I was born with a hole in my heart. But once I REALLY got into comics... well, he's not my favorite character anymore. In fact, I don't think he even cracks my Top 20. Using Van Lente's logic, my favorite characters should be quiet, white girls from rural communities with heart conditions. And my favorite characters are: (1) Superman (Okay, there's the rural, I'll give him that. But that's about where it stops.), (2) Batman (Um... nope, that doesn't fit the criteria.) (3) Captain Marvel (Shazam) (Also nope.), (4) Robin (Just in general; though, believe me, I could crank out a list of my favorite Robins on the spot... and none of them are the girls, so... still nope), (5) Spider-Man (also nope.) Add onto that the fact that I was recently recommended Ms. Marvel (which I haven't read yet... darn reading list never getting shorter...) by a white Catholic girl who respected Ms. Marvel's devotion to her religion. I'm not saying that we don't find something we connect with in the characters we love, but automatically assuming those connections come from society-given labels rather than something much deeper is... well underestimating what it means to be human. I think that's a bit of a cynical view of fans, and while it might be true to some, it's not true to, I honestly believe, the majority. Maybe I'm an optimist, a believer in hope and humanity... and honestly, if that's what I am, then I'm proud to be that way. Somebody, it seems, has to be. But... I digress. If it wasn't for such moments that I just fundamentally don't believe in, I probably would have rated this book higher. It was well-written, with some solid suspense and some great nerd culture. But I can't overlook the parts where the author's opinions and mine diverted. And honestly, I think that's awesome. That's what books are about: they're about sharing ideas and opening a dialogue. They're about thinking about what the author says and what you believe and analyzing both viewpoints. We have a terrible tendency in our culture to plug our ears and not listen to the other side, to assume that someone whose opinion differs from ours is somehow baser because of it. And that's simply not true. Books are about conversation: that's why people try to ban them. They are the conduit of ideas. And... these are simply the thoughts that came into my mind while reading this particular book. Agree with me? Disagree with me? Great! Let's talk about it and see if we can better understand each other--even if we can't agree with each other. Understanding without agreement, discussing without angering... those are the cornerstones of respect. And if we nerds can't learn to do that--when we were so often the subjects of ridicule or exclusion ourselves--then what hope do we have for everyone else? I stand strong beside the belief that there is hope and that we can do this. And... I've completely turned my review into a soapbox. Ah well... like I said, books = ideas. Oh, and before I forget... I also liked the ending, how it wrapped back around to the beginning like S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders." Though I'm dying of curiosity... did the main character get off? I'm leaning towards yes. I'd love to hear what other people thought of the ending, and what happened after Van Lente decided to end the book. So, I suppose in conclusion, I would say I definitely recommend this book: either as a summer read or as something that could get to you think a little bit harder about the world in general. It surprisingly works on all counts.
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  • John Driscoll
    January 1, 1970
    My library received an Advance Reader Copy of this book, which is what I read and what my review is based on. It's made from an uncorrected proof, and according to the disclaimer, the illustrations are not the final artwork. That's a good thing, because what's in this version are extremely rough sketches.The Con Artist (because he's an artist and it takes place at a Con! Get it?!) is the story of a comics artist, a few years past the height of his fame, who travels to San Diego Comic-Con and end My library received an Advance Reader Copy of this book, which is what I read and what my review is based on. It's made from an uncorrected proof, and according to the disclaimer, the illustrations are not the final artwork. That's a good thing, because what's in this version are extremely rough sketches.The Con Artist (because he's an artist and it takes place at a Con! Get it?!) is the story of a comics artist, a few years past the height of his fame, who travels to San Diego Comic-Con and ends up becoming the prime suspect in a murder. So basically, it's a whodunit set in Nerd Mecca, with enough comic book and general geekdom references to rival Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. If that sounds like your cup of tea, this will not disappoint. Cleverly, the book is being published just in time for this year's SDCC - I can only assume Fred Van Lente will be there to sell and promote it (because how can you not?)Main character Mike Miller, as mentioned above, is a comics artist on his way to San Diego Comic Con. Though he has a table at the Artist's Alley where he will sell prints and draw commissions, his main reason for coming is to present a lifetime achievement award to his friend and mentor Ben K, whom he calls The Great One. Sadly, when he's picked up at the airport by a fan cosplaying his character Violent Violet, who says she's his personal assistant for the con, Mike learns that Ben K has just died.We quickly learn that Mike's life is circling the drain: his run on the famous Mister Mystery comic is a few years in the past, the movie based on his original creation Gut Check was successful but is also now in the past. His marriage is on the rocks, and Mike reveals to Violet that he basically lives at conventions now - traveling directly from one to the next, supporting himself by drawing commissions and getting extended hotel stays in lieu of appearance fees from the various cons - and hasn't been back to his actual home in years.The first night of the convention, Mike runs into his "archnemesis" and former editor Danny Lieber - also the man that his wife left him for. Mike takes a drunken swing at Danny in a bar, then catches a rickshaw ride away from the con to collect his thoughts. Unfortunately, Danny turns up dead later that night, leaving Mike as the prime suspect.Though Danny was a backstabbing corporate stooge and not well-loved in the comics industry, things still look pretty bad for Mike. Worse yet, the rickshaw driver (and therefore Mike's alibi) has disappeared. Before the con is over, Mike has to try and find time to draw his commissions, try to avoid his ex-wife who is also at the con, talk to current "it guy" in the industry Sebastian Mod about the collaboration Sebastian is offering to do, and try to clear his name and find the real killer.So, was it good? I think so. I figured out the killer about halfway in, but I was still caught off guard by some other twists and turns in the story. Van Lente has a TON of experience in the comics industry, and it shows. His in-depth knowledge of the creative process, the inner workings of the comics industry and the convention circuit all lend a real sense of authenticity to the story. The story is sprinkled with Easter eggs as well; my favorite is that the company most of the characters work for is called Atlas Entertainment (Atlas being the old name of Marvel Comics before the 1960's).Earlier on I made a comparison to Ready Player One, and that comparison is definitely apt in one particular way. If you enjoyed counting up the nerd property name drops so that you can say,...then you'll find that same satisfaction here. After all, the book takes place during the world's largest comic convention, so it's pretty much inevitable. But thanks to Van Lente's insider perspective, not too many of these references feel gratuitous (though a few do). The fictional franchises are mixed in with the real ones so seamlessly that I was actually fooled a couple of times. For example, I was shocked to find out that Disco Mummy was a real character, and it turns out there is a story called Cell Block Z, though it's not the same as the one referenced in this book.Could it be better? Yes. As mentioned above, the artwork in the book consists of extremely rough sketches. It's not supposed to be the finished work, but they're all depictions of sketches Mike draws throughout the story, so the finished product may indeed still end up looking like these rough sketches. They don't show you anything the text hasn't already told you, and the rough sketches aren't much to look at, so they don't really serve much of a purpose to my way of thinking.The geek references are also laid on a little thick, to the point where I could see them being a bit overwhelming to someone who doesn't follow comics or other geek culture. Unlike Ready Player One, knowledge of these things isn't treated as a virtue, but I could see an unfamiliar reader being a little swamped by the sheer number and omnipresence of them.Overall, it's a good solid mystery with a believable and satisfying ending, and worth a read.
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  • LibraryOfTheNight
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent this book for in exchange for a honest review. I just wanted to say a big thank you to the team at Quirk books for this opportunity.I will say I really enjoyed this book! I loved the nerdyness of it. And really appreciated the story. I will say i did guess the murderer. But there was tons of twists! If your into mysterys, or comic con or just want to nerd out i highly suggest you pick up this book.THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. Im only writing about the first 80 pages or so becaus I was sent this book for in exchange for a honest review. I just wanted to say a big thank you to the team at Quirk books for this opportunity.I will say I really enjoyed this book! I loved the nerdyness of it. And really appreciated the story. I will say i did guess the murderer. But there was tons of twists! If your into mysterys, or comic con or just want to nerd out i highly suggest you pick up this book.THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. Im only writing about the first 80 pages or so because i want to encourge you to read this book!The beginning of this story we meet out main character Mike. Hes a comic pencilist. Due to a awful divorce he lives his life traveling from convention to convention.Hes headed to the biggest comic con, in sunny San Diego. He is supposed to give the award to his mentor Ben K.When Mike arrives at the airport he meets Violent Violet ( a fan cosplaying as one of his beloved comic turned movie characters.) She tells him the con sent her and she is to be his handler. Running for food, doing his errands etc.Mike stores his supplies in various storage units across the country, so it will be easier than having to constantly travel with it all. And so he sends Violent Violet on her first todo list. Mike hears from the fan fanatic that Ben K has passed away, and Mike is hit pretty hard.Mike grew up idolizing Ben K and his work on Mister Mystery. He was lucky enough to work under Ben K along with another guy named Dirtbag.Turns out Ben K was being screwed over by Atlas (big comic company) and not be paying royalties and etc, making him bitter.After the heart braking news and akward drive to Mikes hotel, he finally arrives. Turns out back in the day he made a ally in the guy whos been running the guest services by drawing him a awesome sailor moon. ( Dude is obsessed with sailor moon, and so am i! I loved this reference.) But since Mike did this he became a always approved guest. Meaning no matter what he would always have a room, badge and table at comic con.At comic cons they have a area called artist alley. This is where you can meet artists, ask for comissions and check out their merch. San Diego comic con uses the grandfathered in program, so as long as you show up, you have a table. Fail to do so you have to go through all the hoops to get a table again. Mike starts setting up his table and we meet Katie. Katie is the current artist for Mister Mystery, and a fellow friend. Mike is definetly jealous that Katie has a huge line already, meanwhile Mike has one.Mike is able to travel to cons all over because instead of being paid a apperance fee, he gets his hotel stay. Now for him to make some money, he does comissions. This time he is requested to do: Deadpool, Tomb of Dracula, Captain America, Mister Mystery, Batman, Baby Groot, Power Girl, a D&D character, and of course another Deadpool.Hes got three days to crank these out. After day one of the con we find out, that people at comic cons like to get their drink on. And thats what Mike did. We find our main character back at the bar when he sees someone whom he really hates. Danny Lieber. He worked at Atlas, and was a editor. When Mike was working on Mister Mystery, Danny loved to slash his rates, and take away Mikes pages. To say this guy was a dick is a understatement. Now besides all of that, Mike actually caught Danny with his wife. ( bad devorice.) When that went down, thats when he decided to live like a gypsy, going con to con.Mike is pretty drunk and goes to confront Danny. We find out that Christine ( mikes ex) is having a kareoke party. And Danny also tells Mike that they are no longer together.As Danny continues to rage Mike on he crosses the line bringing up Ben K. Mike punches him and leaves.He gets in a pedi cab driven by a cosplayer dressed up as Tomb Raider. Shes a polish lady and tells her to take him to her favorite place. They go to the kiss statue of WII. They spend some time talking about her life, and he sketches her. Next morning Mike wakes up to a banging on his door, turns out its the cops. They want to question him about his wereabouts last night after his fight with Danny. Danny was found dead on the steps of the convention center. Mike gives them his alibi, which they poke holes in. Back to the comic con, Mike is at his table when Violet comes and brings him stuff from his storage unit. It goes into explaining the sterotypes of people who ask for comissions or who go to the table. A man walks up telling Mike he will pay him $500 to do a piece on Disco Mummy. Which he accepts. Everyone is talking about Danny's death and people are already assuming Mike did it. Again im cutting off here because you need to pick up this book and find out what happens!
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  • Amna Ikhlaq
    January 1, 1970
    I won a chance to read & review a Digital ARC of this book on Instagram in a giveaway hosted by the publisher!For a few days every summer, the city of San Diego is converted into a dreamscape for fans of all genres as it hosts perhaps the greatest convention in geek history: Comic Con. As an outsider, who has never been to any conventions and does in fact live halfway across the globe from this particular event, the glamour of a few days where nothing matters but the stories that help you pr I won a chance to read & review a Digital ARC of this book on Instagram in a giveaway hosted by the publisher!For a few days every summer, the city of San Diego is converted into a dreamscape for fans of all genres as it hosts perhaps the greatest convention in geek history: Comic Con. As an outsider, who has never been to any conventions and does in fact live halfway across the globe from this particular event, the glamour of a few days where nothing matters but the stories that help you progress from day to day in real life and a chance to bond with strangers and friends alike is something incredible and fascinating. Indeed, I always get excited and sad watching all the images and news coming out of SDCC but make up for it by watching Hall H panels and crying into my snacks (as one does).The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente follows a comic artist Mike Miller, as he navigates the tangled mess that is Comic Con weekend interlaced with unexpected twists from his personal life. He arrives to find first his mentor and then rival dead, and becomes a prime suspect in the murder of the latter. In the meanwhile he's being chased by burly, tattooed men, reconnecting with an old friend and dealing with a super dedicated volunteer guide. The premise of a murder mystery set up at Comic Con is a great concept. However, the plot is only a loose part of the story. What really makes the book interesting is all the different issues being discussed surrounding Comic Con and even our lives in general in an era where the Entertainment industry rules supreme. Mike Miller's point of view helps explore not only the things that all fans are able to see on the surface (strangers coming together, the gap between idol and real life persons getting bridged) but also the underbelly of what it takes to run a powerhouse merging all kinds of fictional worlds for a weekend (the politics and corporate decisions aimed at ensnaring the public). I may not be very familiar with the author's other works and credentials, but he exhibits an obvious understanding of the way Comic Con works. The story is peppered with indications of how the entertainment business has overshadowed the original purpose of comic con (i.e. a celebration of comics and original artwork), the struggles of comics artists who do not receive the same accolades as the faces that portray their characters on screen and an odd but surprisingly sensible amount of zombie obstacle courses, white supremacists and overall comic con weirdness.The writing at times has its flaws but is in general a good read interspersed with references for all kinds of fans. The final book format I believe will feature illustrations but in the digital copy these were only presented as sketches, so I'd be excited to see the final outcome. The book has been released in time for SDCC weekend so if, like me, you are unable to make it this year, perhaps reading this quirky but relevant story will help ease the blues. Rating: 3/5 stars
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  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    So I thought that reading this on my Fire would be superior to reading on my Paperwhite but the sketches weren't formatted very well for Kindle so meh. I did really like the idea, tho, that you could find clues in the sketches to help you solve the mystery (why yes I was a Cam Jansen fan as a kid!) It probably works better in execution in physical format, as the Kindle versions tended to break the line drawings in half, which doesn't make for good clue hunting. I also kinda expected the interior So I thought that reading this on my Fire would be superior to reading on my Paperwhite but the sketches weren't formatted very well for Kindle so meh. I did really like the idea, tho, that you could find clues in the sketches to help you solve the mystery (why yes I was a Cam Jansen fan as a kid!) It probably works better in execution in physical format, as the Kindle versions tended to break the line drawings in half, which doesn't make for good clue hunting. I also kinda expected the interior sketches to be closer to the art style on the cover. Each is fun to look at in its own right, but it felt a bit like false advertising given how different they are.As to the story itself, I really enjoyed the insight into the con-going experience from the talents' point of view. I'm a con-goer from way back, having enjoyed both comics and gaming cons before they were taken over by Hollywood celebrities, but strictly as a consumer/card flopper/dice chucker. Oh, there was the one con I helped run an RPG room, but usually I'm just there to play games and buy stuff. Tho I did hang out with Chris Claremont a lot at that one Baltimore Comic Con. Er, back on topic: I also really enjoyed our hero's opinions on the meaning of creating as well as the relationship between creators and fans, particularly in niche entertainment. The Con Artist is a lot of fun for people familiar with geekdom, and super informative for those who want to learn more about San Diego Comic Con and the comics industry.What TCA isn't great at is telling a good mystery story. There's the bare bones of one there, and there are a bunch of great set pieces, but the writing is wildly disjointed, with the emotions often feeling uninhabited (with the great exception being Mike's interactions with Violet, but not necessarily her actions otherwise.) I didn't feel a single emotional connection with anything that happened besides aforementioned exception. Perhaps this had to do with our protagonist feeling a little disconnected from life himself, a little numb from what's clearly his depressed state of mind, and while that lends itself to veritas, it doesn't really lend itself to entertainment. Still, an interesting experiment of a novel that I would like to see more tried of in future.Oh! When Fred Van Lente talked about the perilous financial security of comics artists and writers, who earn at the mercy of their publishers, it reminded me very much of one of my favorite writers from the 90s and his current plight. William Messner-Loebs did a run on Wonder Woman that I still think of fondly, but has been reduced to living out of his car with his ailing wife. If you can spare a few dollars to help make up for a system that lacks any sort of social net for people who've done their best to entertain us, please go to his GoFundMe page and donate.
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  • Vicki (The Wolf's Den)
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't know anything about this book before I saw it shared by it's publisher, Quirk, on their Facebook feed, but I picked it up at exactly the right time. Coming just off the heels of this year's Comic Con (no, I didn't attend - I'm not that nuts! Or wealthy) it was easy to smirk at the plethora of references to current 'announcements', events, and typical Con behavior. I loved the narrator, Mike, for his snark and humor, but also for his more human moments. I think any artist or fan (of comi I didn't know anything about this book before I saw it shared by it's publisher, Quirk, on their Facebook feed, but I picked it up at exactly the right time. Coming just off the heels of this year's Comic Con (no, I didn't attend - I'm not that nuts! Or wealthy) it was easy to smirk at the plethora of references to current 'announcements', events, and typical Con behavior. I loved the narrator, Mike, for his snark and humor, but also for his more human moments. I think any artist or fan (of comics or other media) will be able to find something to relate to in Mike or his entourage. I will say, since he didn't refer to himself by name very often, it's only by chance that I can remember his name now, but that's not for lack of character.The story felt like something I'd easily see on TV, like on Castle or Bones or something. It's very current, lighthearted when needed, but somber too. I don't know if the many references will date it too badly, since most of them were to huge franchises like Marvel, DC, etc. And there was a LOT of made-up stuff that sounded just plausible enough to be real - Prison Inmates vs Zombies - so it might hold up for years to come. And I hope it does.The mystery was great. Like I said, very reminiscent of my favorite crime/comedies, in that the narrator doesn't reveal anything until they're good and ready. There's no moment of, "It was then I realized that the murderer had to be _____!" But I guess that's just good storytelling these days. I won't say I'm disappointed in the ending, but it does feel like I could have done with one more scene. I want to know how everything ended - was it happy, bittersweet, or full-on tragic? But, then again, I guess the Con's over and that's part of another story.(I was very distracted by the occasional insertions of a character named Ian Smallwood. I have never before seen my surname in a story, so him popping up from time to time gave me a bit of a jolt.)
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  • Tony Zale
    January 1, 1970
    This quick-reading mystery follows Mike Mason, a comic book artist down on his luck, coasting on past successes. He lives on the comic book convention circuit in comped hotel rooms, travelling between cities on free flights, with no homelife to speak of. The monstrous San Diego Comic-Con attracts much of the industry and puts Mason in contact with some old friends... but mostly rival artists, malicious editors, shady dealers, and his ex-wife (also in the business). When one of these belligerents This quick-reading mystery follows Mike Mason, a comic book artist down on his luck, coasting on past successes. He lives on the comic book convention circuit in comped hotel rooms, travelling between cities on free flights, with no homelife to speak of. The monstrous San Diego Comic-Con attracts much of the industry and puts Mason in contact with some old friends... but mostly rival artists, malicious editors, shady dealers, and his ex-wife (also in the business). When one of these belligerents ends up dead, Mason becomes a prime suspect.For reasons that don’t entirely make sense, Mason decides that the only hope for exoneration is doing his own sleuthing. His investigations criss-cross the convention and provide ample opportunities for digressions describing the comic scene. Superfans get classified into groups like “Narrators” (running a continuous monologue about the attractions, regardless of who’s listening) or “Fetishists” (patrons of artists willing to draw them risque versions of popular characters for big money). He shares thoughts on cosplayers and movie adaptations of books. He delivers a convention speech rallying attendees to demand better pay and benefits from publishing houses for creators. Author Van Lente is a creator himself and while these passages don’t deliver unexpected insights, they do feel authentic and give the book its personality. Further adding to the theme, a handful of significant scenes receive full page pencil sketches; I would have been happy to see a few more of these.Mason has high stakes encounters with a publishing magnate and a thuggish security agency staffed by Neo Nazis, and the end of the story contains a few twists. That said, the content is not so compelling that I could recommend The Con Artist to those without an interest in comics and comic book culture.
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  • Gemma
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book in the post unexpectedly from the publisher and after reading the synopsis I was intrigued enough to pick it up and I'm glad I did. I quite enjoyed the reading experience. It was a super fun, quick and easy read that kept me entertained until the end. This was your usual murder mystery story made much more intertesting due to the fact it was based at a Comic Con. If your a fan of the 'geek' culture in anyway I'm sure you will enjoy this story. I'm not a massive comic fan, al I received this book in the post unexpectedly from the publisher and after reading the synopsis I was intrigued enough to pick it up and I'm glad I did. I quite enjoyed the reading experience. It was a super fun, quick and easy read that kept me entertained until the end. This was your usual murder mystery story made much more intertesting due to the fact it was based at a Comic Con. If your a fan of the 'geek' culture in anyway I'm sure you will enjoy this story. I'm not a massive comic fan, although I do enjoy superhero movies and popular fandoms such as Harry Potter and GoT, but even then I still enjoyed this one. I'm sure there were lots of Easter eggs and references that I didn't get but that didn't put me off. They must of blended in well with the storyline and I'm sure if you were familiar with them they would only enhance your reading experience. The main character was really down to earth and actually quite relatable. He came across as a genuine guy that seemed to have got caught up in a bad situation. There was something really likeable about the main character and the other characters were fun too. Not massively flashed out but defineitly fun none the less. This book also includes original art work scattered throughout and this was a really nice touch. It was interesting to see if the pictures you formed in your head were the same as the authors interpretation and it was another fun element that definitely added to the story. Overall I enjoyed this one. It was fun and fast paced with some interesting elements that really added to the story. This isn't a full on thriller full of twists and turns and you may be able to work out the murder before the end, although I didn't, but it is an interesting story with just enough air of mystery to keep you reading until the end. Overall I gave this one 3.5 stars.
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  • Gemma McGee
    January 1, 1970
    Comic Book Artist Mike Mason is heading to San Diego Comic Con, he wasnt sure about going this year after splitting with his wife (who would be their), but when he was asked to present award to his mentor he couldn't say no. On the first night there his rival is found dead murderer, and Mike is the prime suspect. Mike now has to navigate the wonderful and crazy world of comic con and find the evidence to clear his name, and find out the reason why anyone would want his rival dead.First off The C 

Comic Book Artist Mike Mason is heading to San Diego Comic Con, he wasnt sure about going this year after splitting with his wife (who would be their), but when he was asked to present award to his mentor he couldn't say no. On the first night there his rival is found dead murderer, and Mike is the prime suspect. Mike now has to navigate the wonderful and crazy world of comic con and find the evidence to clear his name, and find out the reason why anyone would want his rival dead.

First off The Con Artist has amazing drawing in, which illustrates what the character Mike is seeing. When I had finished reading the book, I went back and look at the drawing to see if I had missed any clues, I could see some once they were pointed out to me.
The book has three elements to it, the murder mystery, comic con and Mike personal life. The murder mystery was fascinating, Comic con is bewitching and Mike personal life is entertaining (although I think he mightlty slightly disagree with that.)
The story is written as if Mike is telling you personal what happened, I enjoyed this as it made it a lot earlier to read. I managed to read the book in a couple of hours.
I give this book 4.3 out of 5.

Thanks to Quirk for sending me a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
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  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    Okay this book was so much fun! Yes, it's based around a murder at Comic-Con but the way it's written doesn't mean it's bogged down in facts or gruesome details. Written from the perspective of comic book artist Mike Manson the reader is taken through a three day adventure at San Diego Comic-Con, meeting various Comic-Con goers and trying to figure out who the murderer is while also trying to attend the event. Van Lente gently pokes fun at the typical Comic-Con goers and there's a whole bunch of Okay this book was so much fun! Yes, it's based around a murder at Comic-Con but the way it's written doesn't mean it's bogged down in facts or gruesome details. Written from the perspective of comic book artist Mike Manson the reader is taken through a three day adventure at San Diego Comic-Con, meeting various Comic-Con goers and trying to figure out who the murderer is while also trying to attend the event. Van Lente gently pokes fun at the typical Comic-Con goers and there's a whole bunch of Easter Eggs scattered throughout the book, with some being more obvious than others. It covers various films/games/comics and it firmly roots itself in the present, with a whole host of very up-to-date references. The drawings throughout the book add an extra something to the story - allowing pivotal scenes to be presented to the reader in drawn form. I unfortunately did not find any of the clues that are meant to be in the drawings, but then again I'm not always the best at these things! I loved how light-hearted this book comes across, it's a fun whodunnit and I flew through it in no time at all!
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  • Baker St Shelves
    January 1, 1970
    After going to conventions for over a decade, including the famous San Diego Comic Con, reading a book that has it be the setting for a murder mystery is definitely something that catches my eye! Our main character, Mike is a comic artist who along with thousands of others attends the con over the weekend, but things take a turn when a rival in the industry is found murdered and Mike is the primary suspect. In order to clear his name, he has to find out who the real killer is amongst thousands o After going to conventions for over a decade, including the famous San Diego Comic Con, reading a book that has it be the setting for a murder mystery is definitely something that catches my eye! Our main character, Mike is a comic artist who along with thousands of others attends the con over the weekend, but things take a turn when a rival in the industry is found murdered and Mike is the primary suspect. In order to clear his name, he has to find out who the real killer is amongst thousands of people and all before Sunday. This isn’t the first book to take place at a convention, but I think this is the first to show the realistic side for both fans and those who work in the industry. None of it is done in a mean spirited way, but it doesn’t romanticizes the con experience the way other books do, so that was cool. There are also some illustrations that are from Mike’s perspective that even give clues to the mystery. Overall, a good book for comic fans and mystery fans. Definitely a book I will read again.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    A mystery thriller set around San Diego Comic Con, The Con Artist is an intriguing and unique book that grabs you as soon as you begin. A book written from one perspective and this perspective makes this book such a captivating read as it feels like you’re in the mind of Mike as the book unfolds and the plot get started - you can almost feel like you know someone like him so he makes for an interesting and human perspective throughout this book. I also love how honestly nerdy this book is. Full A mystery thriller set around San Diego Comic Con, The Con Artist is an intriguing and unique book that grabs you as soon as you begin. A book written from one perspective and this perspective makes this book such a captivating read as it feels like you’re in the mind of Mike as the book unfolds and the plot get started - you can almost feel like you know someone like him so he makes for an interesting and human perspective throughout this book. I also love how honestly nerdy this book is. Full of geeky moments that a fan of Comic Con would love, The Con Artist immerses itself in the convention and it feels like a very plausible plot due to how well you can see the scene Van Lente creates. The scene is also helped by the illustrations that interspersed throughout the book that add to the story. A really enjoyable thriller that a nerd like me would love, The Con Artist arrives with perfect timing just before Comic Con. (I received an ARC from Netgalley for a honest review).
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  • Deeja
    January 1, 1970
    I was able to score an early release copy at the QuirkBooks booth while attending MCM Comic Con London in May of this year and read it immediately. Because I started off pretty excited by the concept, a partially illustrated murder mystery about a comic book illustrator set at San Diego Comic Con, the book itself could definitely have paled in comparison. But it really soared above expectations. The fun story did not disappoint at all and Tom Fowler's illustrations made the reading experience fe I was able to score an early release copy at the QuirkBooks booth while attending MCM Comic Con London in May of this year and read it immediately. Because I started off pretty excited by the concept, a partially illustrated murder mystery about a comic book illustrator set at San Diego Comic Con, the book itself could definitely have paled in comparison. But it really soared above expectations. The fun story did not disappoint at all and Tom Fowler's illustrations made the reading experience feel so special and the characters so actualised. Van Lente's voice is both authentic and hilarious, his character comes off the page and you leave the book feeling like you've seen a real peek behind the curtain as a comic fan. On the other hand, you also see yourself nodding with him when it comes to the broader commentary on the con culture we all see every year. There's really a lot in here that will make your little nerd heart laugh along with a great mystery and a well built world.
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  • Liesl
    January 1, 1970
    This book really is a love-letter to fandom and comic cons. Anyone who spends time in the world of comics will recognise many of the little asides here: there's a reference to the "Captain America is a HYDRA agent" scandal; religious protestors at cons and cosplayers' witty responses to it; as well as Comic-con's Comic Village and the endless queues. It's great fun trying to spot the references and adds a nice meta level of enjoyment to the whole thing.The story is a fun, quick read too as comic This book really is a love-letter to fandom and comic cons. Anyone who spends time in the world of comics will recognise many of the little asides here: there's a reference to the "Captain America is a HYDRA agent" scandal; religious protestors at cons and cosplayers' witty responses to it; as well as Comic-con's Comic Village and the endless queues. It's great fun trying to spot the references and adds a nice meta level of enjoyment to the whole thing.The story is a fun, quick read too as comic artist Mike runs around trying to solve a murder, as well as trying to keep on top of his obligations as a con guest. The solution wasn't immediately obvious and I loved a lot of the fact-finding scenes: Mike bluffing his way through the religious protestors by saying his name was Danny Rand was a particular highlight. It's always a tough one when writing about fandom to show some of the absurdities of fandom without ridiculing fans as a whole, but this book manages it.Thank you Netgalley for giving me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Sarah Theis
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars ⭐This is my kind of book. So much geek is packed in these pages. And it's humorous even with murder a foot. I could have stayed up all night reading it in one go, though I have a toddler and in the morning he will not care if mommy needs more sleep, specially if I stayed up past my bed time 😂 I'm looking forward to finishing it.*Finished it* I have to say this book is worth the read. The amount of humor is great, the amount of geek easter eggs is too. The fact the main character runs i 4.5 stars ⭐This is my kind of book. So much geek is packed in these pages. And it's humorous even with murder a foot. I could have stayed up all night reading it in one go, though I have a toddler and in the morning he will not care if mommy needs more sleep, specially if I stayed up past my bed time 😂 I'm looking forward to finishing it.*Finished it* I have to say this book is worth the read. The amount of humor is great, the amount of geek easter eggs is too. The fact the main character runs into a homemade TARDIS thinking it'll be bigger on the inside and gets trapped. This book is ridiculous. But in a good way. The ending felt a bit rushed, what with the Nazis on a boat and all 😂 which is why I can't give it a full 5 stars, (almost felt like an after thought, like they were running out of time and pages and had to just make something) but I appreciate where it's coming from. I honestly didn't see the *SPOILER ALERT* (2nd) killer being who it was, so the ending was a moment of Ohhh! not a "I saw that from a mile away* *side note* The illustrations were a nice touch.
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  • Shawn Conner
    January 1, 1970
    A breezy, wry look at the life of a comic-book artist in the age of the San Diego Comic-Con. The mystery that propels the plot is interesting enough, but what I really enjoyed were Van Lente's insider takes (he's a comic book writer himself) on comic conventions in general and the big one in San Diego in particular. Comics fans will appreciate this aspect of the book the most I think, and those who don't know Miles Morales from Peter Parker (hint: they're both Spider-Man) will enjoy learning abo A breezy, wry look at the life of a comic-book artist in the age of the San Diego Comic-Con. The mystery that propels the plot is interesting enough, but what I really enjoyed were Van Lente's insider takes (he's a comic book writer himself) on comic conventions in general and the big one in San Diego in particular. Comics fans will appreciate this aspect of the book the most I think, and those who don't know Miles Morales from Peter Parker (hint: they're both Spider-Man) will enjoy learning about an experience that, God willing, they'll never have to take part in themselves. Also: really liked the supporting character Sebastian Mod, (lovingly?) modeled after a certain eccentric, Magik-practicing Scottish comic-book writer...
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really unusual murder mystery. It is written and illustrated by actual an actual comic book writer and a comic book artist. The action takes place at the San Diego Comic Con, the world series of Comic Cons. I'm going to throw it out there that I have very little knowledge of what happens at these cons or comic books themselves. Despite that, I found this incredibly entertaining and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good mystery. I gave it an extra star because I d This is a really unusual murder mystery. It is written and illustrated by actual an actual comic book writer and a comic book artist. The action takes place at the San Diego Comic Con, the world series of Comic Cons. I'm going to throw it out there that I have very little knowledge of what happens at these cons or comic books themselves. Despite that, I found this incredibly entertaining and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys a good mystery. I gave it an extra star because I didn't tie it all together until the end when the author intended to do the reveal. I was really impressed with this and I would like to see more by this author.
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