Book Review: The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente

Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, seeking sanctuary with other fans and creators—and maybe to reunite with his ex—but when his rival is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect. To clear his name, Mike will have to navigate every corner of the con, from zombie obstacle courses and cosplay flash mobs to intrusive fans and obsessive collectors, in the process unraveling a dark secret behind one of the industry’s most legendary creators.

What I Thought:

I love a good mystery, and I’m relatively new to the world of conventions, having attended LFCC for the last few years (ok, mostly the YALC section, but still!).

So along comes The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente, a solid mystery book set at San Diego Comic Con.

The book uses Comic Con as a setting for murder and mayhem, while treating the event with reverence and affection, highlighting the quirks that make the event such a haven for so many comic fans – harking back to the origins of the event, rather than focusing on the huge circus that it’s become in recent years.

There are plenty of in jokes for those in the know and if you’re a regular con attendee anywhere in the world, you’ll recognise the people and places that provide a background to plot.

The murder plot itself is well thought out and there are plenty of twists as Mike tries to prove his innocence and the ultimate solution is really clever. I’ve read Fred Van Lente’s first book, which, while well-written, owed a lot to Agatha Christie. This original plot in an innovative setting is even better and a thoroughly enjoyable read for mystery fans.

The Con Artist is published by Quirk Books.

To find out more about Fred Van Lente and his work in writing and comics, you can check out his website. Or why not connect with him on Twitter?

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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