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3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  626 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
Ripped from today’s headlines, Bookhunter fires off and you can’t quit reading. The excitement is fulfilling. The year is 1973. A priceless book has been stolen from the Oakland Public Library. A crack team of Bookhunters (aka. library police) have less than three days to recover the stolen item. It’s a race against the clock as our heroes use every tool in their arsenal o ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Sparkplug Books (first published 2007)
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Jun 25, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it

Another small press comic read. Many times there is a good reason one of the large publishers isn't carrying a work. But other times you get something really fun and niche like Bookhunter.

Bookhunter is about Library Police in a world where they hunt down stolen books like Seal Team 6 hunts down terrorists. This is quick, fun, absurd, and super nerdy, with a ton of technical mess about book binding and such.

I'd describe it more to convince you to go read it, but it's free online at h
Nov 28, 2007 Abby rated it really liked it
If you like libraries, you will LOVE this book. If you like libraries of the pre-Internet era (card catalog, circulation stamps, etc), you will LOVE this book EVEN more.

The premise is that the Oakland Public Library employs a special police force (equipped with a SWAT team, guns, forensic experts, and so much more) to enforce library violations, such as overdue books, damaging library materials, etc. The team, led by special agent Ray, is called into investigate the theft of a precious incunabu
Mar 14, 2010 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Absurdly technical, and also simply absurd. I think the card catalog fight scene at the end was my favorite part.
Hayley DeRoche
Oct 09, 2013 Hayley DeRoche rated it it was ok
I'm a little appalled that the librarian just handed over all of the patron checkout records with nary a thought to patron privacy concerns, since in the words of the American Library Association, "Protecting patron privacy and the confidentiality of library records are deep and longstanding principles of librarianship." Remember the Patriot Act issues?

Ok, I may be overreacting a little. Or not.

That small one-panel eyebrow-raise aside, the book is...ok.
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 21, 2016 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
A comic for bibliophiles or librarians!. Agent Bay is the Chief of the library police and he hunts down stolen books. Set in the 1970s the book opens with our hero in action. Then the rest of the book contains the main story involving the theft of an 1800s Bible on display in the Oakland Public Library. Bay is the type of officer who chases his suspects across the roofs of buildings and swings by cables when necessary. It was a fun little story that I enjoyed bur it is aimed at those with knowle ...more
One of those rare and wonderful offspring of the digital revolution, Bookhunter is available online (free! at and is worth the load-time and slow scrolling.
Noir mystery with a sepia tone, Shiga writes out this hardboiled detective story about a rare book stolen from the Oakland Public Library (yes!) in 1973. Classic in tone, you half expect Bogey or Valient to wander into the frame and contribute a few choice lines.
Sufficiently twisty and turny, there are enough characters and
Jul 05, 2011 Matt rated it liked it
An enjoyable and fun read, but so laden with jargon that I just had to ignore words and push through sometimes. I'm not talking complex scientific jargon (I consider myself a pretty scientific guy), I'm talking about phrases that actually left me wondering whether Shiga just made up some phrases to achieve an effect. Also, some parts of the story made me wonder if I was missing pages, because there seemed to me to be large leaps in logic. But maybe I was missing something.
All that aside, it was
Jan 17, 2012 Melinda rated it liked it
If you are a library geek, especially a tech services one, this graphic novel is for you. I truly enjoyed it. Mainly because I like the idea of the library having a police force. Serving and protecting the collection from censorship and theft. Some of the technological things went over my head. I really think that you need to have worked behind the scenes in a library to relate or be geeky enough to do your research about it. All in all, I got to reminisce about the old card catalog and laugh my ...more
Oct 13, 2007 Brandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2007reads
It's a 1970s action movie, using real library lingo--correctly! It might not be historically accurate (tattle tape, magnetic security gates, early computers storing records--were these things around in 1973? I sure wasn't, so I have no clue.), but it is a lot of fun.
May 10, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it
Best library cop comic ever? Read it at the author's site:
Joanna Taylor Stone
Jan 16, 2016 Joanna Taylor Stone rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Really fun and quick. A must read for librarians, especially. Makes me want to work for the Library Police...
Meghan Fidler
Nov 07, 2014 Meghan Fidler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
A little delightful afternoon snack for any bibliophile. The attention to terminology, technology, and historically accurate binding techniques is exquisite.
Daniel Burton-Rose
This is so good! The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video in the Oakland Public Library, with some Umberto Ecoish bibliophile mystery thrown in for good measure.
Jan 22, 2017 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
A really fun comic book. Shiga has never let me down yet. The alternate universe in this book is very nicely realized. Not your usual fantasy or sci-fi send up, but merely an alternate world where books are treated very, very seriously. The action deserves special mention. The way Shiga frames and draws action sequences really sucks you in. It's like watching a competently directed action film where you can understand what is going on (i.e. before the more modern cut-cut-cut style of directing). ...more
Francis Thibeault
May 07, 2017 Francis Thibeault rated it really liked it
Un véritable hommage au métier de bibliothécaire! Shiga reprend ici le genre policier pour sublimer la valeur des livres et des bibliothèques pour le maintien d'une société démocratique et cultivée. Tout dans cette histoire se passe très rapidement; les enchaînements entre l'enquête et les folles poursuites suffisent à captiver le lecteur et à le rendre en haleine. J'ai adoré le personnage de Bay, un détective comme les autres, mais aux ambitions très marginales. Bravo!
Even though I'm studying to become a librarian, library humor doesn't appeal to me. I had trouble getting through Rex Libris and don't get me started on the TV show The Librarians. This book had a lot to do with older library systems and book preservation. I think I'm looking for something different with my library-centered entertainment.
Jan 24, 2017 Toastkat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Part film-noir, part library sciences, "Bookhunter" is what happens when book theft is taken seriously. As a librarian, I could only wish that this is how we treated our string of disappearing books. Full of action and behind-the-scenes knowledge, "Bookhunter" is a graphic novel for librarians, teachers, and a word of warning to all readers.
Mar 21, 2017 Sonya rated it really liked it
Over the top. I loved the library references!
Dani Shuping
Jul 08, 2011 Dani Shuping rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Being a librarian I’m always interested in seeing comics based upon libraries/librarians and unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there aren’t that many of them out there. So when I heard about Bookhunter by Jason Shiga, himself a former library employee, I had to give it a read. Bookhunter tells the story of Agent Bay and his crack team of library police that track down those that steal books and this is the mother of all cases for the team. It’s a wild and somewhat crazy ride into the world ...more
Lisa  Shamchuk
Feb 25, 2017 Lisa Shamchuk rated it liked it
Fun to read, but a bit of a weak ending.
Mar 22, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
Do you know what they do to book thieves up at Santa Rita?

–Special Agent Bay, in Bookhunter

A historic bible on loan from the Library of Congress has been surreptitiously swapped for a fake, and the library detectives at Oakland Public have only three days to find the original before the feds 'come to collect.' The mild-mannered public library world has previously collided with the denizens of hard-boiled crime fiction (a fabulous Bogart and Bacall trailer springs to mind), but this time it's p
Jan 26, 2010 Dan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Graphic novel fans, people who are passionate about the library, fans of the sabotage video
Recommended to Dan by: Angeli
The setting, Oakland 1973. This book is about a library detective. His job is to track down lost books. The action is over the top. At one point the detective shoots a fellow officer in his bullet proof vest to provide thrust to get across the room. The whole gag through the book is that the library cops treat missing books like missing people. The story unfolds as a hardcore action packed crime drama, as the library cops investigate a the theft of a rare 19th century bible on loan to the OPL fr ...more
Apr 09, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Librarians, Death Merchants, Library Administrators, Badass Cops
Remember when Phillip Baker Hall swaggered onto the set of Seinfeld as the library detective Bookman and threw down the due-date gantlet with the wonderfully anachronistic Jack Webb lines “Well I got a flash for you, joy-boy: Party time is over!”? This delightful graphic novel thriller delves beneath what was only hinted at there: the dark secret underworld of the library police. Special agent Bay - a total badass more in the mold of Dirty Harry than Joe Friday – has been put on the trail of a r ...more
Dani Peloquin
Apr 07, 2012 Dani Peloquin rated it really liked it
The main character is a special agent who only takes cases that involve books and libraries. He is like the old tv show "Dragnet" but for the literary world. His team is made up for a male scientist who is the stereotpical nerd and a quirky female scientist whose speciality is fingerprints. Similar to the current tv show "CSI" the Bookhunter and his staff hace a lab that is specifically for the investigation of book forgeries, fraud, and theft.

The plot is simple but humorous. The Bookhunter is c
May 22, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who works in a library.
Recommended to Allison by: coworkers
This is a brilliant action-packed thrill ride (I only wish my job was this exciting): All the gritty hard-boiled drama of a 70s cop movie, with very cinematic pacing--this graphic novel could be a storyboard, Shiga renders action with such efficiency. Best of all, the juxtaposition of the setting with the style keeps it hilarious throughout. It's about the library police . Come on, that's just genius.

Really I'd recommend this to anyone who likes graphic novels that are a little different, but
Feb 05, 2014 Jessiqa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
This graphic novel tells the story of the investigation of a stolen book. In this world there are library police, who are outfitted like a SWAT team and seem to a fully-fledge investigative unit. I want to live in this world.

The story takes place in the 1970s, so we get a good look at the library technology of that decade. The microfilms, shelves that move by wheels, the teletype machines, all of it making me, as a librarian, quite nostalgic. At one point, there's talk of how the thief used a 7
sweet pea
Jul 06, 2008 sweet pea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-content
this is a brilliant book and a must-read for every book nerd and library nerd. but, let me qualify. book nerd not just in the sense of "i love books". book nerd in the sense of "i love the structure of books". perfect for bookbinders, letterpress printers, and book artists.

the story chronicles a past i wish existed. armed library police officers bringing the hammer of the law down on censors and book thieves. the illustrations are fucking amazing, possibly my favorite in any graphic novel ever.
1973. The Oakland Public Library. A rare, pre-1500 printed bible has been stolen. The library's special investigators have only three days to get it back. Sentences are short. Complex library lingo is everywhere.

Jason Shiga is a freakin' genius.

Shiga is a math guy who got diverted into comics, and he comes at the medium with the mindset of a hacker-inventor. As such, one of the remarkable things about this lovely and Awesome-packed little book is that it is completely linear: there are no tabs,
Sep 14, 2008 Natlyn rated it liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
I picked this up at the comic store on a whim. I liked the idea of a CSI:Library. Unfortunately the concept is more clever than the execution.

Special Agent Bay leads the Library Police on the hunt for a missing 1838 Caxton bible. The events of the book take place in Oakland, California, 1973. Pre-internet/personal computers/cellphones. This is important to some of the plot points. The story itself works as a mystery and procedural. Unfortunately the procedural and unusual setting are not enough
Sep 09, 2016 Maxine rated it really liked it
It is 1973 and a serious crime has been uncovered at the Oakland Public Library – a rare Caxton Bible on loan from the Library of Congress has been replaced by a forgery. Time to call in the Library Police to solve this nefarious crime or, as they quickly discover ‘basically…three concentric locked-room mysteries’ and they have only three days to do so.

If you are looking for the perfect graphic novel for your favourite librarian or bibiliophile, look no further than Bookhunter by Jason Shiga, a
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Jason Shiga is an award-winning Asian American cartoonist from Oakland, California. Mr. Shiga's comics are known for their intricate, often "interactive" plots and occasionally random, unexpected violence. A mathematics major from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Shiga shares his love of logic and problem solving with his readers through puzzles, mysteries and unconventional narrative ...more
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