January 22, 2010
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
The Vertigo Crime series of graphic novels is one of the best things to happen to comics in years. The Chill is the third book in this exceptional series I have read, and easily the most engrossing and rewarding.
Before reading The Chill, I was unfamiliar with Jason Starr's books. With his fiction praised by the likes of George Pelecanos and Bret Easton Ellis, I was anxious to read his graphic novel debut.
The Chill is a modern noir thriller filled with dark humor and supernatural themes. The serial killer storyline is colored with Celtic mythology, and the resulting book explodes from the black and white pages. A gritty book not for the squeamish (the pages are often filled with nudity, profanity, and violence), The Chill combines Starr's inventive narrative with Mick Bertilorenzi's crisp artwork to form an unforgettable graphic novel.
The Chill, my new graphic novel for Vertigo Crime, opens in Ireland in the late 1960's and then the scene shifts to modern day New York. There are several scenes in Boston and Brooklyn, and flashback scenes to Ireland, but the book is predominantly set in Manhattan. It's a dark, paranoid view of the city (brought to life by the brilliant artwork of Mick Bertilorenzi).
For the soundtrack, I've picked an eclectic mix of mainly Irish and American-based songs that reflect the varying moods of the story. While the book is a crime thriller that revolves around the hunt for a vicious serial killer, the plot also delves into druid mythology and the, well, very twisted love affair of Arlana Flaherty and Martin Cleary.
1. "Song to the Siren" by This Mortal Coil
The story opens with Arlana and Martin, as young lovers, on the cliffs by the sea in Ireland. It's an idealic day and while "Song to the Siren" is perfect for the mood, there's irony as well, as the day doesn't quite go as planned.
2. "Bitches" by Mindless Self Indulgence
When the scene shifts to New York, this (I guess) post-punk song matches the mood of a few horny bridge-and-tunnel guys on the prowl, commencing a night of clubbing in Manhattan they'll never forget.
3. "Pagan" by Cruchcan
Need some violent music for the gruesome murders in the book. This hellish song is just about as Satanic as it gets.
4. "Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced" by The Dropkick Murphys
When we meet the older Martin Cleary for the first time, he's living a rough life as an ex-cop in Boston, and this song would go perfectly.
5. "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues
Have to have a Pogues song, and this would go well for any scene with Cleary when he comes to New York and gets involved in the murder investigation.
6. "I'm Waiting for My Man" by Lou Reed
Can't have a dark story set in New York without a Lou Reed song. Besides, there's a subway scene this would be perfect for...And I'm sure Lou would do a new version of this song just for the movie....Right.
7. "Caislean Oir" by Clannad
Perfect for the scene with the priest in Brooklyn, or really as moody background music throughout.
8. "An Open Letter to New York" by Beastie Boys
This great anthem for New York City would fit well during many parts of the story.
9. "Change My World" by Moya Brennan
Beastie Boys followed by Moya Brennan?....Only for The Chill.
10. "Drowning Man" by U2
Had to include a U2 song and this song is perfect for the closing credits as it ties in to the druid mythology and love story. "I'll cross the sky for your love." Perfect.
Jason Starr and The Chill links:
A.V. Club review
Astonishing Reviews review
Captain Comics review
Crime Scene NI review
Graphic Novel Reporter review
Green Man Review review
Ich Liebe Comics! review
New York Journal of Books review
Oklahoma Gazette review
Pulp Serenade review
USA Today review
also at Largehearted Boy:
other Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (a yearly reading project)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics & graphic novel highlights)
guest book reviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)