Gideon Falls Vol. 1: The Black Barn. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

An impressive paranormal thriller, Gideon Falls follows two taught threads. Norton is a tortured young man whose obsession with finding order in an unnamed big city’s trash is driving him farther and farther away from the treatment his psychologist, Dr. Xu, knows he needs. Father Fred is a priest in need of a new start when he gets assigned to the parish of Gideon Falls. Norton’s drive grows and the pull of the story brings Dr. Xu into the web… Father Fred’s arrival coincides with a vision of The Black Barn and the murder of the rectory housekeeper. Norton’s trash pieces together the real Black Barn, an image he has seen since his was young.

Wow! The grittiness of True Detective and the creep-factor of The X-Files… A town pulled apart for centuries by an evil that takes peoples’ lives. Even going so far as to turn against those dedicated to protect: the sheriff department and The Ploughmen, an organization who have tried to solve the mystery.

Lemire is a master at revealing both plot points and character backstory. The tension is riveting as I turned the pages was more closely connected to the main protagonists and try to understand them. There aren’t many characters and this is a good thing. It allows the author to spend a good deal with those and really flesh them out. The sheriff, the forlorn priest, the young man suffering from mental illness, the selfless doctor, the conspiracy theorist. They all connect in some way… we don’t know exactly how, but the excitement has you turning those pages.

I was thoroughly impressed with the artwork. The design scheme changes throughout the book to match the action in the plot. An example: One of the characters has put together a conspiracy map on his wall that links evidence with red string. Over the next several pages, the panels depict a closer look at the clues are separated by thick red lines. It’s these types of details that holds this work together so well and make it a complete book, art and story perfectly combined.

Highly recommended for fans of horror, thrillers, and everything in between. I immediately go the second volume of Gideon Falls after finishing this first one.

My review of Vol 2 will be coming to the blog soon…

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