Creating crime fiction can be a messy affair and I’m not even talking about the high bloodshed pre-requisite. Just like any good story the characters have to be intriguing, but the heart of a great crime tale is a complex and ultimately believable plot that manages to suspend any disbelief in the reader. Now if you can throw in a few witty jokes to grease the wheels, then you’re playing on the fields of Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard. Enter Danish comic book superstar Palle Schmidt’s original graphic novel The Devil’s Concubine.

The story revolves around Jean-Luc and Linda, two hit men who accidentally kill their contacts while attempting to deliver a mysterious package for an unknown party. What seems like a straight-forward recover and delivery assignment, quickly spirals out of control as every gangster and crooked cop in a 100 mile radius desperately want what’s in an unmarked and sealed cooler.

The calm and collected Jean-Luc opposite his thrill-seeking assistant, Linda, make for an intriguing odd couple. However different their methods may be, their teamwork ultimately keeps them alive as they shoot their way through the crime underworld on a mission to track down the man that hired them.

Originally released in Denmark, The Devil’s Concubine incorporates a healthy amount of American crime pulp in the vain of 100 Bullets and the witty banter of Get Shorty. What’s more impressive then the story itself are the moments of absolute brilliant comedic timing which really sets this crime story apart. Humor is not easy to write and even more challenging to draw, but Schmidt peppers these moments in like a seasoned chef. He expertly weaves in a healthy mixture of non-fiction and fictional crime elements that demonstrate a keen eye to detail that every great crime writer possesses.

As a one-man comic book creating army, Schmidt also draws and colors the book; his art being cut above the rest. He clearly understands the subtle nuances in engaging storytelling with his dynamic layouts and consistently stylized line work. His colors provide just the right amount of mood and grit that engaging crime comic books are made of.

Oh, and did I mention all of the action-packed explosions and bloodshed? Yeah, there’s plenty of that to satisfy one’s appetite for violence. It’s all grade-A badass and I’m glad that IDW saw a diamond that is Schmidt’s work, amidst the rough and over saturated market of true crime comics. I have a feeling he’s just getting started and if so, consider me a true believer.

Rating: (5/5)

Available through Amazon or your lovely local comic book shop