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‘Gun Theory:’ Advance Hardcover Review

Your focus determines your reality.

There are people who seem perfectly suited to their chosen profession, where they fit the image of their job so perfectly that it almost feels unreal when you step into their business.  That’s what it’s like for Harvey in Gun Theory.  He’s a man who blends into the background, a grey man, the quiet one that they always tell you to watch.  In the digital age of "show me," the world of YouTube and “pics or it didn’t happen,” it’s easier to make yourself invisible than you might think.  For certain lines of work, that’s the best method. When neither the police or the targets notice you, there’s a lot of money to be made, but who is the person behind the shield of invisibility.  Trouble is, when you’re so used to being overlooked, it’s very hard to hide again when the world starts staring right at you.

I have to call out my love for the little things that are buried within this story by Daniel Way.  His protagonist’s name of Harvey feels like a reference to an invisible rabbit of the same name that was popular in the 19XXs, which I only know of because of the genius reference in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Thanks, Mr. Zemekis, and I miss you terribly, Mr. Hopkins.) when a barfly is asked about the titular long-ear.  Anyway, it’s quite a subtle and knowledgeable nod that drives home the invisibility that’s behind the impetus of the story.  There’s a line delivered by a background character that truly drives home the thrust of it, noting that you can’t hide and seek at the same time.  Adding to that the theme of being out of sight if you’re not actively shouting into the ether makes this a powerful and thoughtful script.  It’s wrapped up in the actions of an anti-hero who manages to get us on his side regardless of his often harsh interactions which is a neat trick that elevates Mr. Way’s work as a storyteller all the more.

Jon Proctor lends his talents to bring this saga to life and sets the tone quickly with what amount to vignettes and quick blackouts, guiding us into a sepia-laced noir tale.  The sequence immediately following the title page is great. Proctor takes his time to really let the world breathe for us and gives us a good look into Harvey before the story really gets rolling.  He solves each situation he finds himself in with alacrity, if no tact, and we’re brought into his thoughts more clearly on the page than the script could do on its own.  The crux of the story hinges on Harvey being put off his game for the first time, and the moment that it happens is innocuous but wonderfully explored in the art.  It’s such a non-moment for any of us, but it marks where he makes the choice that sets him on the path for the rest of the book.  I love the night feel that he’s captured, as well; every page feels as though it belongs in those strange dead hours of the night, where the rules seem to fall away while the law abiders sleep.  It’s pitch perfect top to bottom. I love every page.

This is a good thriller for people who also enjoy some decently gory violence.  It’s a little Fight Club mixed with The Maltese Falcon with a dash of Insomnia tossed in for good measure.  It’s a story that’s built very intelligently and with visuals that will sweep you into the world.  I’ve read it three times before sitting down to write this, and I find more to love with each perusal. It’s got a surprising depth that will likely keep me coming back.

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