Stiletto Vol. 1

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 May 2019

Member Reviews

'Stiletto Vol. 1' with script and art by Palle Schmidt is a graphic novel about an out of control cop and his partner.

When two cops are brutally slain protecting a witness, Alphonse and Maynard are sent out on the case to find out who murdered their colleagues.  From the beginning things seem to be going sideways.  They get worse when they find out the police have a mole inside only known as "Stiletto."  Who is this mysterious person and what motivates them?

I liked the moody art.  I liked how the colors changed based on mood or flashback.  I also like this story of a cop who is cornered and seems to go off the deep end.  It's a story that spirals down the drain and has some good twists along the way.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Lion Forge, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
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I love the art style, it really adds something to the grittiness of the story. It’s a solid crime drama that keeps you guessing until the end.
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Graphic crime novel that is engaging and short. If you like film noir, and moody monochrome this is for you.)

I did find that the brevity of the story made character development problematic, but if a short, sharp read is what you’re after this might well fit the bill.
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A very solid crime comic about two detectives investigating the murder of two other police officers.  Stiletto is the code name of an informant in the police department leaking information to a gang of criminals.  I liked Schmidt's art, particularly his watercolors.  I liked how each page was done in variations of the same color.  The story was a bit hard to follow due to the amount of characters in the book and a few of the motivations that didn't really come through the art like the author intended.  But I did like the story even though it took some dark turns as it progressed.
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I am a fan of crime thrillers, as my decades long reading of the Prey novels by John Sandford bears out. Thus, when I saw this crime-noir graphic novel on NetGalley, both written and illustrated by Palle Schmidt, I was intrigued.

Cop partners, young Alphonse and family man Maynard, are tasked with solving the killing of two of their follow police officers before Internal Affairs takes over. Signs point to a leak within the department and they try to find the mole before it’s too late. They are told by two higher ups at different times to report directly to them, which immediately shows possible layers of corruption. All they know is this person goes by Stiletto and no one should be trusted.

Surprisingly we find out who the mole is half way into the novel, and then watch this person desperately try to cover their tracks. It was truly depressing to find out who it was, as all the death and destruction that is wrought doesn’t truly benefit this person. Their life is still desperate and unhappy with no redemption in sight. But this book was not written to have a happy ending, and was a homage to classic cop movies like Serpico.  I also would compare it to the television show Breaking Bad that showed the main character’s justification for his descent into evil.

I don’t read many graphic novels that are both written and illustrated by the same person, but Schmidt capably does both. His watercolors were appropriately dark and shadowy, with a sepia color palette. Flashbacks had a blue over-wash which was helpful in differentiating the chronology. A shark motif is also used effectively to showcase the pressure and the feeling of being hunted that the men are feeling. Schmidt draws the cityscapes with a gritty precision as well as a whole cast of characters.

Schmidt’s world-building was excellent as it conveyed a somber atmosphere for this morally ambiguous tale, and I would be interested in what lays in store next for this corrupt police department.
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I had to pass through this twice to check if I was missing something (heck, dingy painted artwork where you can't be certain first time round who's who will do that), but no.  It is just a slightly dull policier that thinks it's better than it is.  People getting shot?  Foreign types?  Dubious morals?  Yes, they're all here, in a slightly different pattern to usual, but it doesn't make for greatness.
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Gritty and daring! The artwork is truly phenomenal and fits perfectly with the story, giving this unique graphic novel an edge!
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Enzo and Pascal had an easy night planned. Protecting a witness in a secret hotel room is the safest job for a cop, right? True, until both cops are killed and the witness is taken in Stiletto Vol 1.

Who knew where the witness was hidden? Only other cops. 

Detectives Maynard and Alphonse are enlisted to find the cop killers, and the witness, within twenty-four hours or Internal Affairs will take over the case. They also pursue the crime syndicate’s mole in the police force called Stiletto.

I enjoyed the plot. As the author states in his note at the end, it is clearly based on American movies from the 60s and 70s like the French Connection and Bullitt. The story is twisty and full of surprises! The art is very dim and has a noir feel, which is perfect for a crime thriller. There is a brief section at the end describing the writer/artist’s process to create Stiletto Vol 1. The setting feels like any Eastern American city but the author is actually Danish who based some of characters on people seen during his Paris vacation.

Readers who like crime thrillers or graphic novels will enjoy Stiletto Vol 1. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!

Thanks to Lion Forge and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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The story is about a day in the life of a battered cynical cop who is about at the end of his tether. 
The story is secondary to the history of police noir and films we all loved back in the day.
Originally crafted in one 3 chaptered graphic novel each has now been reproduced as individual instalments - this is volume one.
Maynard and Alphonse are assigned the case when two cops protecting a witness get taken out. Nothing is as it seems and the pair are told to trust no-one. There is a leak at the station and the DA and the captain at the precinct have different agendas. If they can’t crack it in 24 hours then internal affairs may get a chance and who would they want to take down.
Maynard’s chaotic home life seems to spill over into his police role. He appears driven but a little out of control. A day is a long one when the pressure is mounting and it becomes do or die.
Great atmosphere and classic dialogue at times. A moody palate of colour with bleeding tones and washed out illustrations. Sharp facial highlights with most expressions being dark and resigned.
There is not a great deal of joy here but it is a pleasure to read and see the odd hint to the past.
 A mixture of emotions and an action leaden story that is always a delight on the eye.
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Clocking in at 130 pages STILETTO is a quick, engaging, but yet a bit of an ordinary read. The line art and watercolor work set the perfect mood for this cop/crime genre yarn. 

Where STILLETTO trips up is in the script. "Stiletto" is the tag for a mole in the city's police force who has compromised various cases. For this story's inciting incident, it's the whereabouts of a witness. The underworld goes after the witness and in the process murders two detectives.

The script never digs beyond the reason why Stiletto became Stiletto, or ups the dramatic tension with the various predicaments Stiletto gets himself in.  It reads a bit like fan fiction — there are hints of BULLITT and NO WAY OUT within the plot —  with a few moments or original insight that left me wanting more of that fresh insight into hows and whys a cop becomes a traitor. Instead of a character-driven story, the graphic novel focuses on the plot, but it's a plot that I've read many times.

I wished that with 130 pages the story would have delved deeper into what makes a man becomes a traitor, how does that eat at him while juggling the identity he projects to the world while he betrays everyone.  Still, if your looking for a quick crime read STILETTO is worth checking out.
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This is a fun and gritty graphic novel for adult audiences. I'll definitely be recommending this one to some of our crime and thriller lovers.
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Stiletto is a gritty neo-noir full of twists and turns, corruption, betrayal, and greed. The brutal murder of two police officers forces detectives Alphonse and Maynard to face dangerous enemies. As their investigation progresses, they uncover a leak inside the police department known only as “Stiletto.”

The plot, while engaging, isn't exactly new, but it's told in a spectacular way. I loved gritty, almost sepia-toned panels, that enhanced the noir feel of the story. Palle utilizes angles and perspectives to a maximum effect, and it's damn impressive. 

I loved it, and if you enjoy well-constructed crime stories, you'll love it too.
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3,5/5. Another story of cops, crime and corruption. Nothing really new here, but everything done in an above average way. It’s like watching a Clint Eastwood movie, you know it won’t reinvent a thing, but you also know that you will have a good time watching it.
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I enjoyed reading this book. I was surprised that it was a illustrated novel. It had a good story. It is my first book read with this type of print. I look forward to more books by this author.
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Lots of twists and turns and face paced drama. It is a great story if you like a roller coaster crime stories. It wasnt a favourite with me but it was still a good read.

Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Copy received through Netgalley

~

Stiletto, Vol. 1, by Palle Schmidt
★★★☆☆
144 Pages


While this had an interesting story, I wasn't blown over by the execution of it. For me, I wasn't overly fond of the gritty illustrations, which sometimes lacked consistency and an attention to detail that I prefer in my graphic novels. But I also found that the reveal of who 'Stiletto' was had no real build up. I mean, it all happened so suddenly, really early on in the story that I had no time to guess as to who it might be, to feel that suspense.
Sadly, it just didn't work for me. I thought the idea was clever and the ending original, but it had to remain a bit of a Meh review, because of how it all came together. Far too simple, too quick and without any real mystery. It started with a bang, but it failed to keep up the pace.
It didn't live up to expectations.
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