‘LUCIFER’ WRITER CEMENTS HIS STATUS
Writers who transition from scripting comics to crafting prose novels are few and far between. Aside from Denny O’Neil (“Green Lantern/Green Arrow”), Gerry Conway (“Spider-Man”) and Chris Claremont (“X-Men”), the paramount example is Neil Gaiman, whose early brilliance in the comics field has been somewhat overshadowed by his best-selling books.
M.R. Carey racked up two hits early in his own comics career, helming “Lucifer” and “Hellblazer” for legendary stints, and continues to produce outstanding work for the Vertigo line. But in 2006 he ventured into novelwriting, and that outlet ....................................................... seems to have become his primary means of expression. With the success of 2014’s “The Girl With All the Gifts,” and its screen adaptation, it’s safe to say that, like Gaiman, he’s a novelist who does comics, rather than a comics guy who dabbles in novels.
His newest book, “Someone Like Me,” is a spooky, wrenching, exhilarating ghost story-cum-thriller that manages to put a fresh, almost science-fictional spin on its specters and spooks. It’s domestic in scope but still delivers the maximum freight of frights and consequences.
We open with a gutchurning scene of spousal abuse that swiftly reveals Carey’s talent for taut, economical and immersive prose. Liz Kendall is being beaten by her exhusband Marc, an all-toofamiliar ordeal. But this time something’s different. Obeying an odd imperative voice in her head — odd, yet intimate and resonant — Liz fights back. She incapacitates Marc, the cops come, Liz comforts her two children, 16-year-old Zac and 6year-old Molly, and life seems to return to an even keel.
Or does it?
By obeying that inner demon, Liz has opened herself up to a kind of psychic assault, an attack insidiously aimed at her very identity.
Running at the same time as Liz’s narrative is the story of a 16-year-old African American girl named Fran Watts. When she was a toddler, Fran was abducted by the deranged Bruno Picota, and held in the nearby Perry Friendly Motel.
Before long, the narrative threads intertwine, for Fran is classmates with Zac, and the two disaffected loners form a bond.
Carey cements the essential foundation for the arcane doings by establishing the two families as quintessentially real and believable.