The Demon of River Heights

Two years ago when I was super busy with subbing plus two part time jobs, the only books I really found time to read were graphic novels. This winter, when I was getting home very late most nights from helping out with a robotics team, I turned to the same solution.

I have all the boxed sets of the Nancy Drew graphic novels by Papercutz, and a few months ago someone in the Nancy Drew Sleuths mentioned that the hardcovers were being remaindered. I found a few at low prices, and then one thing led to another, and thanks to my Christmas money I now have a near-complete hardcover set as well (missing 1, 5, and 10). Part of this is the collector in me, but another equally large part is me wanting to show Papercutz customer support for the concept.

I read the first and third ones when they first came out seven years ago (and it really doesn’t feel like it’s been that long!). I didn’t remember the plot for the first at all though. In The Demon of River Heights, two local university students are making a film of the legend of the titular demon, and Nancy is helping them out by acting in it (because really, how many times can she make her acting debut?). When they stand Nancy, Bess, and George up for a coffee date, though, the girls go back to the shooting location to investigate.  The only traces the girls can find of Ben and Quentin are their abandoned equipment. One camcorder, still running, caught on tape their expressions of fright as they flee from an approaching figure.

In addition to searching for the missing filmmakers and a potential demon, Nancy is also asked by her father to keep an eye on Canton Angley. Carson refused to do some questionable work for him, and now Angley has hired Deirdre Shannon’s father instead for legal advice. His son Todd is also squiring Deirdre about town, which the girls have a hard time believing anyone would do without an ulterior motive.

This series is in the Girl Detective universe, so in addition to Deirdre’s cattiness we have the usual trope of Nancy forgetting to put gas in the car, so that it is empty exactly when they need it to make a quick getaway from the woods.

There’s not a ton of room for plot development in this format, but Stefan Petrucha did an excellent job creating an interesting and suspenseful story. Without giving anything away, the last chapter in particular was well done. In this case, the story gained from the graphic format, because the visuals gave a much better sense of the gravity of the situation than text would have done.

Published in: on January 19, 2012 at 10:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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