PopLurker Reviews: Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn & Claire Roe

PopLurker would like to thank Boom! Studios for providing us with an Advanced Reader Copy of Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn, illustrated by Claire Roe. It will be released on October 8th, and is available for preorder in both digital and print form now through Amazon and other retailers. 

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From the New York Times:

Bury the Lede by New York Times bestselling author Gaby Dunn (I Hate Everyone But You) and artist Claire Roe (Batgirl and The Birds of Prey), arrives in stores October 2019. Inspired by Dunn’s own experiences at The Boston Globe as a reporter, BURY THE LEDE is a timely story about how we find answers in an increasingly complex world and the hidden threats surrounding those truths.

Twenty-one-year-old Madison T. Jackson is already the star of the Emerson College student newspaper when she nabs a coveted night internship at Boston’s premiere newspaper, The Boston Lede. The job’s simple: do whatever the senior reporters tell you to do, from fetching coffee to getting a quote from a grieving parent. It’s grueling work, so when the murder of a prominent Boston businessman comes up on the police scanner, Madison races to the scene of the grisly crime. There, Madison meets the woman who will change her life forever: prominent socialite Dahlia Kennedy, who is covered in gore and being arrested for the murder of her family. The newspapers put everyone they can in front of her with no results until, with nothing to lose, Madison gets a chance – and unexpectedly barrels headfirst into danger she never anticipated.

And just like that, we have a premise and hook. I had a feeling based on the artwork and “dark spiral into a mystery she didn’t know she was getting herself into” hook that we’d have a sort of Tale Noir story happening here. Instead of a hard boiled dick gruff detective tale, it’s the same story using characters on the opposite end of the spectrum with Madison Jackson as a young hopeful reporter who finds herself learning about the details of a murder case as the sort of bait-plaything of Dahlia Kennedy, a rich woman in jail accused of murder, playing the face of the killer to protect her son.

While the story hits some “gritty reality of a dirty world” tropes, it delighted and surprised me with a few refreshing twists of its own. Specifically in its use of characters and the LGBT angles. And believe me, this bisexual lady over here was instantly attracted to the swaggering, charismatic Lexington Ford. And while Madison Jackson seems a little bit like a mousy drip at first, you soon realize that she’s no better than the world around her, taking every advantage (both work related and sexually) in order to learn more about her chosen work environment.

The stand out character for me is the bisexual femme fatale, Dhalia Kennedy. Tall, blonde, and delicious, she’s just a perfect punctuation to this world. And while some other writers and reviewers may find it LGBT pandering that so many women are involved in this darkly love…rectangle?…I just love the layers of power it added to the story. If Ms. Dunn wants to write a Dhalia anthology, or perhaps another graphic novel, she has her first reader right here.

While the gritty 90s art style isn’t my favorite of aesthetics, I think that Dunn and Roe did a really great job collaborating and integrating/complementing each others’ styles. A host of body types and ethnicities are represented in this story, but it’s not pointed out or in your face. These people are just people. You know…like the world is supposed to be. I felt like the characters were a little over-drawn, but that just appeals to the style– which again, is perfectly executed for what it is.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how I was hooked into this story by the first page. Highly digestible, I read it in an hour or so and felt that the length was exactly right. There is room for more of Madison’s stories, or not, though if a sequel came out, I would be completely on board to read it.

I give Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn and Claire Roe 4/5 stars. Go buy a copy if you want to enjoy a dark tale of mystery and some steamy queer fun.

 

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