Americans seem to have a love affair with those who kill. Be it a nut-case in Florida who gets famous from their bigotry, an infamous serial killer, or our newly evolved mass murderers, we can not help but turn our eyes to these stories of horror and tragedy. I myself am one of those people. I have no qualms about it, no hesitation in admitting that I am part of this collective fascination. In my experience, I tend to be most intrigued by the psyche of the serial killer. What makes them tick, how they hunt, why they kill: these are all main points of curiosity for me. Oddly enough, I don’t feel that this is an uncommon occurrence. With books like A Voice In The Dark, fans of this genre are gifted with a unique and insulated look into one such person’s mind.
In the pages of “A Voice In The Dark #6,” we are given a crash-course in how to hunt and stalk your prey via the now obsessed Zoey. Thanks to the succinct “Previously On” blurb in the front of the book, readers who may just be jumping on are given all of the information they need to know before being dropped straight in the middle of her predicament. However, before we start on that, readers should take note that this book features a trigger warning: “This issue contains attempted sexual assault.” More on that later. Let’s get back to the story.
For over a hundred days now, Zoey has thought only about killing again. Her target was acquired weeks ago, unbeknownst to poor Mandy Jenkins; in that time, much planning and stalking has gone on. It is also in that time that we get to read Zoey’s thoughts, with the Dear Diary story device continuing to do most of the heavy lifting for the exposition throughout the book. Without giving anything away, it is a quiet, slow several pages. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fascinating. To hear Zoey analyze the logistics and timing of her kill, or to acknowledge that she has completely given in to her darker side is extremely interesting. It isn’t cheap or asking for understanding, either, like Dexter. Even though the two killers couldn’t be more different, the “voice-over” narration technique certainly reminds me of that show, but again, instead of laying out why her killing is justified, Zoey is simply cold and calculating.
On the outside, she still has to deal with college life and her outward reality. There are still issues with her friends that need to be dealt with and she needs to be seen as sociable. If you’re going to plan to murder people in secret, Zoey knows that you need to be seen as the last person capable of such a thing. I will say, the exchanges between Zoey and Mona felt a little dry, though—natural, but a bit dry. Even though they only go on for two pages, it felt like longer than that. Maybe because Zoey comes off as being so wooden. I realize that is a strange thing to say about two voiceless characters on a page. But even when I read it in my mind her responses felt a little bit stiff. Maybe that was the point of the scene, but I’m not so sure.
Though things do get much more interesting when Zoey gets back to her “work.” Again, without spoiling anything, Zoey is put into a position where she has to do on the scene reconnaissance work and it is here where the trigger warning from the front of the book needs to be addressed. For anyone who might be afraid of this going the way Invincible did last week, fear not. Thankfully, the attempted assault isn’t focused on for nearly as long as Mark Grayson’s was. It does however set up a new twist in the plot. Fuel has been poured on to Zoey’s dark fire and now she wants more blood than she had previously anticipated. Are we already seeing glimpses of that happening in the pages of the previous issues? Do we already know what’s happened and we just don’t know it-know it? We shall see.
I continue to find myself impressed by this book for so many reasons. As many of you already know, Larime Taylor draws this book with his mouth. That is true and it is also why you won’t ever see me critiquing that portion of any of his books. Of course things need work in certain areas, but after six issues, it only feels rude to point them out. It is an achievement that this book comes out month-to-month and I’m glad we get to keep reading it. Despite those flaws, the writing is some of the most impressive in the medium, right now. In fact, since this book relies so heavily on the writing, it almost has to be. Zoey is a completely three-dimensional person and her inner struggle can be both fascinating and disturbing. How she finally comes to end her hunt has yet to be seen, but it feels like it is right around the corner. The suspense is killing me! (I should be murdered for that one.)
“A Voice In The Dark #6” earns a cold, calm, and calculating 8/10