book review: killing velazquez

Killing Velazquez is the story of a teenager being involved with a priest doing inappropriately sexual things in Quebec in 1983. The frame for the story is a news report in 2000 when the priest is apprehended in France for doing the same sorts of things. That frame is interesting because you know what the big problem of the story is going to be, and you’re bracing yourself for it. The story proper begins with Philippe out in a Wolf Scouts camping trip, so I was suspicious of the pack leader. And then Philippe is in Catholic school and I was suspicious of the priest teacher. And then, only then do you meet the priest that’s the predator. I really liked how the story did that.

The story does a very good job with the whole story. It’s not graphic and sensational, not played for melodrama, but creepy and effective. The way the priest gives gifts and says stuff like “Now that you’ve accepted my gifts, we’re friends” put terrible chills down my back. The story also does interesting work with contrasting tradition and cool new ways of doing things, using Velazquez and Picasso as the analogy. I also loved how Girard brought in speech from the next scene panels ahead of time (in white-on-black text but coming from in-panel sound sources). It’s one of those cinematic techniques that I’m not sure I’ve seen done in exactly this way before.

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