The Green Woman 

Superstar horror author Peter Straub hasn't released a book of significance in years "? perhaps more than a decade "? so I hoped that the conciseness of "The Green Woman," a 152-page graphic novel co-written by Michael Easton, might shore up his often messy style of narrative.

No such luck: This effort may even be harder to follow, even with the benefit of John Bolton's painted art on every page.

The story jumps between the nine-fingered serial killer Fee Bandolier and the cop who's trying to stop him, Bob Steele. Fee's known in the press as the "Virgin Killer," so named because all his victims are female, and dressed in white. Steele, meanwhile, has his share of ladies (and threesomes) as a hard-drinking, hard-living stud about town.

Shifts between their tales and perspectives are abrupt, sometimes to the point of not knowing where one begins and the other ends. Peripheral characters enter without proper introduction, and one extended flashback to the Vietnam War is thrown in so carelessly, I couldn't figure out at first to whom it belonged.

Bolton's art is quite striking, but not necessarily for the long-form storytelling format, as faces could use more detail for distinguishing purposes. He does excel at depicting the occasional moment of true horror, however. "?Rod Lott

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