Writer: Alverne Ball
Illustrator: Alfa Robbi
Letterer: Jaymes Reed
Publisher: Arion Digital Media Group
A truly unique reading experience, Dime: A Choose Your Own Destiny Mystery does exactly what it’s title implies and allows readers to choose their own destiny in weaving between two separate but intertwined cases for hard boiled Private Detective Eddie Puss. With multiple directions to go through the story presented at different intervals, the noir-ish tale is highly re-readable as no reading will be exactly the same (well, there’s obviously a point at which you run out of different story options but it will take a few readings).
Ball’s writing is strong, especially in light of the difficulties inherent in the format- as hard as it is to tell one linear story the format here requires linking multiple pathways in a logical manner and this largely comes off well. Robbi’s black and white artwork has a manga-esque feel, and it is solid enough but feels a bit out of place for a noir-ish book. While there is an excellent use of tones throughout the art as a whole feels a bit too light and airy for this particular type of tale. It’s certainly not bad by any means, it’s quite good actually, just not a great fit for the book. Aside from one glaring error on the first page, Reed’s lettering complements the story well enough, it is definitely serviceable.
An additional note should be made on the format- I’m not sure if this is a digital only title or a conversion of a print book (my review copy is a pdf) but if the former it is a brilliant way to take advantage of the possibilities offered by digital publishing. The pdf file provides links to “jump” through the story when those situations arise whereas in a “conventional” book a reader would be forced to flipped through on their own. It’s a minor thing but something that really highlights an actual functional advantage that a digital format can provide over conventional books aside from just being able to read on phones and tablets.
All in all, Dime is well worth checking out with a unique format that is rewarding and by its design provides more value for your buck.
William Satterwhite is the creator of the superhero webcomic Stealth and a freelance designer, internet consultant and illustrator living in Douglasville, Ga. His professional website can be found at www.williamsatterwhite.info.