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The Black Diamond Detective Agency

3.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  282 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
John Hardin is a desperate man. When a train carrying official US currency paper explodes in his town, he's the prodigious Black Diamond Detective Agency's sole suspect. John is innocent, but his wife is missing, his old friends are coming back to haunt him--with guns and explosives--and he's on the run through rural Missouri.

Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by First Second
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 454)
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Eddie Campbell is one of my favorite cartoonists of all time, and without question one of the most interesting, so I never thought I'd come across a Campbell book I didn't enjoy (well, OK, the Alan Moore SNAKES AND LADDERS stuff was borderline unreadable). THE BLACK DIAMOND DETECTIVE AGENCY was a complete disappointment. The plot is hard to follow (and not in a good, "literary" way--halfway through I really stopped caring) and while Campbell's occasional forays into painted comics are usually de ...more
Aug 27, 2012 Damon rated it really liked it
I've had this for a long time and just wasn't that interested in reading it, but I should have been. Great graphic storytelling - this book comes about as close as I've seen to a film on the page, in terms of having a cinematic feel to the overall visual style and the flow of the story.

The only complaint I might have is that there are points where the approach taken makes for a bit of a muddled presentation of action or events occurring though a span of time, so there are places where you're le
Sep 19, 2011 Dirk rated it really liked it
It's difficult to know exactly what to say about Eddie Campbell's urban detective western that would explain how tempting it was to give it an extra star (that it really doesn't deserve on account of being too short) so lets leave at this ... It turns from interesting but rather baffling to fully engaging, wicked smart and visually arresting on a dime but not on a dime. But in a way where you're slow to realize the latter's what you've been reading all along.
Paul Mirek
Eddie Campbell's involvement will inevitably draw comparisons with From Hell, which is unfortunate--both use a monumental crime as a metaphor for the transition of ages, but this book is much more focused on pulpy adventure whereas Moore's is focused on...well, the same things he usually is. Turn-of-the-century noir isn't something I've had much experience with, but Campbell makes a strong case for it as a viable genre here (and there's even a dash of western thrown in for good measure). I've ye ...more
May 23, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
Eddie Campbell who is a great contributor to the genre and this edition is such a great example of a genre (crime/noir) that graphic novels are a perfect medium for. (see the recent Stumptownto prove it) I like classic film noir but usually in small increments (i.e. "Brick" is a fabulous out-of-the-ordinary noirish film with just enough of a light touch, whereas "The Maltese Falcon" is formulaic) and the same goes for novels (Mickey Spillane is a from-time-to-time escape but easy to overdose on) ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I think stories like Monsieur Leotard, The Death Of The Artist or even Alan Moore's From Hell suit Campbell's style better; he's so good at conveying the inward focus of these kinds of tales that the relentlessly extrovert, action-packed ambit of this story about violence, retribution and conspiracies in the wild west seem like small beer in comparison. This may be a step or two better than A History Of Violence, a graphic novel and movie I find terribly overrated, and certainly the stuff about ...more
Sam Quixote
Jan 21, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it it was ok
19th century America and a seemingly normal day is upended when a train full of passengers is blown up on the tracks. In the fallout, the Black Diamond Detective Agency is hired to hunt down the bomber and bring him to justice. But with a trail that leads them up and down the country and leads to a coal mine in the middle of nowhere, the chase will be deadly and fraught with enemies.

Eddie Campbell draws/paints the book beautifully and the artwork is of the highest anyone could hope for in comics
Jun 20, 2008 Erik rated it liked it
"Orphans! Terror! Mayhem!" scream out large font on the front cover. Perhaps a bit over-the-top, but the nineteenth-century newspaper-style cover definitely sets the scene for this latest visual feast by one of my favorite “sketchy” illustrators, Eddie Campbell – who won my heard with his work on From Hell (with maestro Alan Moore of "Watchmen" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" fame) and, perhaps more obscurely, the meandering modern adventures of the god "Bacchus". (If you’ve never he ...more
Cesar Gerardo
Apr 04, 2013 Cesar Gerardo rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-format
Con todo el respeto que tengo por Eddie Campbell, tengo que admitir que este libro no es genial. Los dibujos me gustaron mucho pero frecuentemente no cumple con su cometido de contar la historia. Me parece que la técnica que usó es una arma de doble filo ya que de lejos se ven muy bien las imágenes pero de cerca no se distingue ningún detalle de lo que pasa en la historia.
La historia es bien, nada del otro mundo, pero es confusa, casi nunca sabes lo que está pasando y a los personajes casi no ti
Jan 22, 2012 Luis rated it liked it
This book was named "The Black Diamond Detective Agency" by Eddie Campbell. This book grabbed my attention because when i was looking through it the drawings were dramatically realistic. They looked like if every drawing was a picture and not a drawing. This book was also in form of a comic book. I also like reading mystery books and this book is one.

This book is about a men named John who is really happy with his wife, then something unexpected happens and she goes missing. Him looking for h
Sally Kilpatrick
It held my attention for a reading in one sitting? It felt like a mafia/Old West mashup, and I wanted more of the former and less of the latter. Do keep in mind, however, that I have a hard time with graphic novels. I get characters mixed up and miss storylines. For me, each character in a graphic novel should have to wear a name tag.
Tim Canny
Mar 14, 2016 Tim Canny rated it it was ok
The style and pacing just wasn't for me. I got about twenty pages in and still wasn't sure who was who or why I should care, and the painted style, which I understand some people really like, just didn't do anything for me.
Jan 23, 2014 Garrett rated it really liked it
Campbell's storytelling, which I (probably like a lot of people) first encountered in Alan Moore stories like From Hell and the Birth Caul, always has a visceral punch to it that makes almost everything he produces a one-sitting read. My only criticism is that for purchase or even library check-out, it's too short - this took me like, 20 minutes to read, I think.
Oct 22, 2012 Annette rated it liked it
The Black Diamond Detective Agency is a graphic novel set in the Old West. I've always been fascinated by the work of early detectives such as the Pinkerton Detectives and Texas Rangers, so I knew I'd enjoy the theme. Set in 1899, the story follows a man accused of causing a train wreck. Although the characters are sometimes difficult to follow, the story is an exciting mystery that begins in small town Missouri and ends with gangs in Chicago. The illustrations and muted colors reflect the time ...more
Dec 18, 2007 Robin rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: those who like offbeat graphic novels
Recently I got in a bunch of new graphic novels that I took home to read. One of them is The Black Diamond Detective Agency by Eddie Campbell. It's an odd story because it's adapted from a movie screenplay. The author is known for the artwork he contributed to Alan Moore's From Hell, the gripping story of Jack the Ripper.

Unfortunately this story is a bit uneven and the artwork isn't captivating. It was a bit of a disappointment to me because I bought it for the collection and I don't know if it
Nov 09, 2015 Malcolm rated it did not like it
Telling a story and holding back key information from the reader does not make it a good story.
Aug 14, 2007 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Eddie Campbell creates comics as if he's never read comics before. Or as if he's studied them all and abandoned them to forge his own way in the medium. This lushly painted book tells a rather simple story of a train robbery and the attempt (by a detective agency and by a man framed by the actual robbers) to hunt down those responsible. But in Campbell's hands, it sings. His characterizations are spot-on, the plot moves along briskly without losing the reader, and the art is beautiful. I've been ...more
Jun 20, 2015 brightredglow rated it liked it
I liked the art style but the story itself was a little unfocused.
Mar 22, 2016 Richard rated it really liked it
This book by the "From Hell" illustrator didn't turn away from leaving readers puzzled and uneasy with this book.
Dec 19, 2012 Mel rated it it was amazing
After re-reading From Hell I realised I should really read some more Campbell graphic novels. This one was only 50p on Amazon so I bought it. After reading it I felt badly that it was selling so cheap! It is worth so much more!!! First of all it's not black and white, it's glorious colour paintings for every panel, some of which are truly stunning. The story itself is a nice little pulp detective story set at the turn of the century. Definitely one I'd recommend and convinced me to buy more of E ...more
Jun 11, 2008 Bryan rated it liked it
This is an odd graphic novel. It is clearly not Eddie Campbell's story. Where his storytelling is discursive and rambling, this is tightly plotted with minimal character work. His ramshackle layouts seem ill fitted to it. His painted art is beautiful, as usual. But the book is considerably less sophisticated than his usual work.

I like the idea of a story about a lesser Pinkerton-style agency chasing a gang of master criminals. But the plot falls apart at the end. Disappointing.
Apr 02, 2012 Taylor rated it really liked it
The old timey cover photo is what grabbed my attention to read this. I though I knew what to expect until the train accident and i though to myself "How did that happen" and i was hooked. This sure isn't know blood diamond thing and the story is very interesting. The part I enjoyed the most was how each drawing looked like a picture and not a drawing and it made me admire the artists skills while making me hat my own but in a good way
Jan 22, 2009 Wallace rated it liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
A deeply mysterious mystery, not to be thwarted by a clear ending. Campbell's style is always a pleasure, and his wry sense of humor appears sporadically while working through someone else's script. Some scenes are laid out across two pages in a confusing, non-traditional manner, and a shoot-out at the train station is particularly confusing (a man with a mustache is shot by a man with a mustache who is then killed by a man in a mustache)
Marc Weidenbaum
Feb 28, 2011 Marc Weidenbaum added it
Shelves: comic
Probably my least favorite Eddie Campbell book. Not much to say: it's an adaptation of someone else's script, which tells the tale of sleuthing into the explosion of a train. There's a lot of exposition, which crams panels with text. The action sequences don't particularly suit Campbell's drawing style, though he does make an interesting go at it, using a spread of tiny panels that suggest the spray of gunfire.
Aug 20, 2013 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I've read the whole thing before, or just flicked through the beginning once, but I just couldn't shake the contradictory feeling of not recognising the bulk of story at all and finding the artwork incredibly familiar. Story is none too earthshaking, so it is very possible that I have read it before. Not worth borrowing again though, so now I can avoid a second (third?) read.
Dec 28, 2011 Derek rated it liked it
Eddie Campbell adapts someone else's script with mixed results. This is a western detective story, and it's obliquely told, so you don't really know what's going on until about halfway through. Campbell's art is, as always, interesting and compelling, but this doesn't live up to much of his other work. It's worth checking out for Campell's fans, but don't expect another BACCHUS or FROM HELL.
Mar 21, 2011 Neven rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
An odd book, nicely drawn and well packaged, but lacking any heart and a good bit of cohesion. Eddie Campbell's art is always a bit uneven - here, it's pretty good, though he struggles to make action sequences understandable.

The story has a solid core, but it's told too quickly and with loads of briefly introduced characters. Nothing quite sticks or adds up in the end.
Aug 27, 2013 Steven rated it liked it
A somewhat engaging read, but the storyline wobbles all over, and seems to depend on a series of setpieces more than anything else, with some linking material -- it's easy to see why this never got picked up for production as a film. Campbell's artwork, however, retains its scratchy magnetism, and I wouldn't mind seeing some of these characters again in a more organized story.
Ryan Chapman
Dec 16, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much, much better than Adrian Tomine's overrated Shortcomings, Eddie Campbell's historical mystery dives deep into what makes graphic novels so thrilling in the first place. He doesn't degrade the medium by trying to reshape it into prose with pictures. He reworks the most basic components into something new and a joy to experience. I highly recommend this.

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Eddie Campbell has earned an international following. For over 25 years, he has blazed a trail in the world of graphic novels, and his work has earned nearly every honor in the field, including the Eisner, Ignatz, and Harvey awards.

With Alan Moore he created the towering opus From Hell, later adapted by Hollywood. Among the multitude of solo works he has produced, the epic series Bacchus brings th
More about Eddie Campbell...

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