Daniel Cooney’s Valentine: Prelude To A Kill brings comic book character to life. Daniel Cooney (with intro by Noel Hynd) is a storyteller of the fist degree and Valentine: Prelude To A Kill proves it. He manages to craft a tale based on his popular series of graphic novels centered around said title character that is both accessible and intriguing. Valentine is an international assassin who works for a shadowy agency that sanctions powerful individuals who often deserve it. How did the woman who would come to be known as Valentine become as lethal as she did? This origin story reveals why she might not only break your heart, but is more than capable of taking your life as well. In a field populated with dime a dozen women assassins, PreludeTo A Kill takes a comic book character and gives her a soul on which to hang the persona. Stylistically the book evokes the crime pulps of a bygone era, but manages to populate its pages with characters that are modern, complex and layered. It is because of the titles accessibility and characters that readers will find themselves wanting to know how events unfold and mold the destines of the series main players. In an industry where it is easier to create flat one dimensional comic book characters, it is no small feat to take a titles lead and demonstrate how nuanced the creation is strictly on the strength of prose. Mr. Cooney manages this in aces.
Fans of espionage thrillers will find this one is well worth a read with its action, intrigue and attention to real world detail. At one point in the book one of the characters describes Rio night life with such clarity it left me with the feeling that it was not a picture painted from some Wikipedia research and skilled smoke blowing, but from real world experience. This facet coupled with the ability to craft characters that are human and relatable blend to create an almost tangible experience. After reading this novel, it is easy to say that subsequent graphic novel exploits of the title character will carry an even greater weight as she and her supporting cast have been made more alive by this literary outing. Valentine: Prelude To A Kill beats with the heart of a modern day Dashiell Hammett. Hard-boiled, dirty and unapologetic, and better than any Bond yarn in my book. Mr. Cooney, you have my attention! Check it out.