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The Con Artist

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  462 ratings  ·  141 reviews
This illustrated mystery will appeal to comic book fans and anyone who appreciates an unconventional whodunit.

Comic book artist Mike Mason arrives at San Diego Comic-Con, seeking sanctuary with other fans and creators—and maybe to reunite with his ex—but when his rival is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect. To clear his name, Mike will have to navigate every corn
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Quirk Books
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  462 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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Sam Quixote
Sep 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Some comics professional got murdered at San Diego Comic Con - whodunit?

The real question is: who cares? Because Fred Van Lente’s novel The Con Artist is utter rubbish - a failed attempt at a nerd-flavoured murder mystery that only ever bores.

The book is less about the murder mystery as it is about Van Lente droning on about the comics industry. How creators back in the day got screwed, toxic fandoms, how underappreciated comics pros are, the crass commercialisation of San Diego Comic Con, bla
Cameron Chaney
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2018, adult, humor
I was sent a copy of The Con Artist in exchange for an honest review.

The Con Artist by Fred Van Lente follows Mike Mason, a formally famous, now homeless comic book artist who spends his life traveling from Comic-Con to Comic-Con. When a murder occurs at the San Diego Con, the police begin to connect the murder to Mike. Thus begins a weekend-long romp of Comic-Con insanity to expose the killer and clear his name.

The murder mystery sub-genre is pretty cut-and-dry when you get down to it: a murder
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, read_2019, crime
A match made in heaven for comic book buffs and pop culture nerds who like their lives spiced with a little crime fiction.

Set among the cosplay chaos that is the San Diego Comic-Con, famous illustrator, Mike Mason finds himself smack-bang in the middle of a murder investigation.

The deceased happens to be the guy Mike's wife left him for some years back and the candle still burns bright for this comic-book stalwart. A chance encounter and subsequent public display of violence at bar with the de
Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.
I’ll be honest, I initially requested this from Netgalley because I thought it was a graphic novel. When I realized it wasn’t, it took me a good long while to finally decide to read it. I really am glad I decided to though. This ended up being a very entertaining dark satire about the comic con world, and those that inhabit it. Both by working ‘the con’ and going to it. Alongside the busy goings on of the event, we are treated to a multi-layered murder mystery, a zombie obstacle course, and an a ...more
Penelope (Penelope’s Picks)
*5/5 STARS*

The Con Artist is an Adult Murder Mystery by Fred Van Lente.

The story follows comic book artist, Mike Mason as he lands in San Diego to attend this year’s Comic-Con. Being a comic book artist, Mike has an open invitation to attend Comic-Con every year and because Mike has recently separated from his wife and is basically living from con-to-con, he attends as many as he can in order to support himself. As well as a way to avoid settling down.

Soon after arriving at Comic-Con, Mike finds
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
O.W.L.s read #4
Completes Charms - Age-line: Read an adult work

This book is hilariously entertaining.
I was definitely sold at the synopsis, but I didn't know how much fun I would have reading this. I'm not really a murder mystery fan but boy oh boy, a mystery taking place at a convention made all the difference. Now I want to go to comic con more than ever and also - I want more books like this XD
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

I really wanted to love this book, and I had a kind of hard time deciding how to rate it. The Con Artist is a murder mystery set at San Diego Comic Con from the perspective of a comic book artist who is off his game, divorced, and basically lives at conventions. The premise sounded amazing, and there are things to like here, but ultimately the negatives pulled the rating down for me.

What I liked:

- References to lots of very specific geeky things
- In depth background on t
Aug 22, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher because working at the library is the best.

Crime and Comic Con are two of my favorite things (especially if I don't have to moderate a panel), so this was right up my alley. Clever and witty with lots of geek easter eggs, cosplay, zombie prison breaks, and of course because this is 2018, Nazis, and the requisite twistyness is entirely plausible instead of ridiculous. A fine homage to being a nerd that doesn't gloss over some of the issues specific to women ne
To be published in time for SDCC, The Con Artist is a hilarious mystery where a slightly washed-up comics artist is blamed for the death of his bitter rival.

It's important to note that both the author and illustrator are seasoned comics veterans and that really shines through the pages. I've only been to one big comic con (ECCC, big but not nearly as big as SDCC I know) but I relived some of my experiences (lines! getting to meet rad artists in Artists' Alley! awesome cosplayers!) while reading
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never been to a comic con. I’d be interested to go, but not enough to warrant the cost of admission, so a literary trip it is, then. Enhanced all the more by its San Diego location, another place I’ve never been, but would definitely be worth the money. Franky, the eponymous protagonist of this oh so punnily titled novel might have wished he’d never gone to this particular comic con. But it’s what he does, no steady residence, just traveling con to con since his marriage ended, doing his ar ...more
Fizah(Books tales by me)
This book is not my type...It is filled with the terms I don't have any idea what are these. DNFing it.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars- all of the elements of this were things that I should love, but it just didn't come together in a way that I personally enjoyed. I think the humor attempts didn't quite work for me... but to be fair, noir in general is a little bit of a hard sell for me anyways, so that may have impacted my experience. If you like noir and comic culture, I think this is worth a try
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicholas Kaufmann
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Fred Van Lente's debut comedic mystery novel, 2017's 10 DEAD COMEDIANS, but THE CON ARTIST finds the author fully in his element. (Although Dante Dupree from 10 DEAD COMEDIANS is name-checked in THE CON ARTIST, which I guess puts both novels in the same...Van Lenteverse?) A murder mystery set at a nerdy convention isn't exactly a new concept (Sharyn McCrumb's 1988 BIMBOS OF THE DEATH SUN comes to mind, as does Nick Mamatas's 2016 I AM PROVIDENCE), but what makes THE CON ARTIST special ...more
Stephanie (That's What She Read)

I love mysteries, and when I saw that this was going to be a murder mystery with a bit of nerdtastic fun, I was in. I enjoyed The Con Artist. We follow a comic book artist named Mike who has arrived at San Diego Comic Con. When Mike's known professional and romantic nemesis turns up dead, and Mike is struggling to find a solid alibi for the time of the murder, he makes his way through the chaos of the convention to solve the mystery itself. This was a lot of fun. My favorite characters were prob
Max Baker
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank You Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

A book about fandom. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, books about fandom are in right now. And The Con Artist joins a surprisingly short list of them that manage to really capture fandom in a smart, thoughtful, and overall inspiring way. Plus it's a murder mystery set at Comic Con. How awesome is that?

Comic book artist Mike Mason is a con vagabond, going from convention to convention withou
Claire Rousseau
The characters all feel one-dimensional, including the main character who I never got around to liking because of all the terrible decisions he made. This book thinks it's woker than it is, ie. it makes a point of stating outright some progressive things about nerd/geek culture, but all the while the narration includes offensive language and a hefty dose of contempt for fans and fandom. Also several characters are just there to be plot devices, and huge chunks of the plot are left unresolved.
Todd Glaeser
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads.

I used to live in San Diego and used to go to SDCC annually until movies and tv took over and getting tickets became a lottery system. I think it’s been 5 years (maybe 6) since I’ve been able to get tickets.

Fred Van Lenth does a great job of capturing the essence and atmosphere of Comic-con. He’s been on both sides of the table, as well as in the Hall and the after parties. (I have to guess about the parties.)

My only concern is that the co
Stewart Tame
Full disclosure: I won a free Kindle copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. And then I managed to forget said win completely and wound up buying a paperback copy anyway. My life, honestly … On the plus side, buying a copy means I read it that much sooner. My Kindle backlog is frightening.

So the elevator pitch is “Murder at Comic-Con.” Artist Mike Mason was looking forward to spending his time in San Diego knocking off commissions for fans, and presenting a lifetime achievement award to hs m
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
When I picked up this book at the 2019 ECCC from the Quirk Books booth I was expecting great outside the box material and The Con Artist delivered. Set in the San Diego Comic Con, the mother of all nerd and geek fandom gatherings, Fred and Tom orchestrate a story that includes drama, suspense, humor, and vivid illustrations about the scene of the crime. As someone born and raised in the 80s, I appreciated the gags, jokes and schticks used to develop the narrative, which is full of sarcastic one ...more
Lydia Timpson
Michael Miller is a comic book artist down on his luck who heads to the annual Geek heaven event that is San Diego comic con. He hopes to spend the time signing comics and drawing commissions but instead gets embroiled in murder, mayhem and Mister Mystery.
I loved this.
As a geeky convention-goer it really ticked all the boxes in terms of pop culture references and reality. Certain inside jokes (Con-time, the various stereotypes, cosplayers and celebrity) were lovingly laid and gently mocked.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
*received an ARC for review*
4.5 stars*

This book is written for fans. Fans of TV, comics, movies, all fans of all kinds. I LOVED all the references, the shout outs to all kinds of fandoms, the loving detail that went into coming up with future ideas that are completely plausible for the entertainment industry. I loved all of it.

It's too bad the story wasn't as good. It's a typical 'who dunnit' murder mystery, and it got kind of convoluted near the last third, but it was still enjoyable.

I would de
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
While I didn't have high expectations for this, I was nevertheless disappointed. A lot of the characters were obvious caricatures, including the CEO of the biggest comic book/entertainment distributor (a la Marvel) asking un-ironically "Do we still make comics?". The main character is also the biggest unironic white knight I've ever read, constantly finding ways to be more PC than every other scumbag in the narrative. This was a marginally more realistic interpretation of the white male fantasy. ...more
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A solid mystery that stands out from many like it by being based entirely on the real-life Comic-Con that takes place in San Diego every year. This was a main selling point for me as I could easily identify the places, people, and events the author was referring to -even when names were changed to protect people and copyrights- but I do wonder if someone who is unfamiliar with it will get as much of a kick out of it.
Extra kudos to Van Lente for getting a couple of really good messages about life
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it

As someone who works at SYFY and worked at SDCC this year, this was a very enjoyable and detailed story based at this convention. I enjoyed the few references to SYFY as well. Very fun story!
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not a big fan of this one. The reveal was lack luster and honestly the characters were so one dimensional. I love Comic Con and that’s what caught my eye. Unfortunately the author spent too much time describing the minutiae of the ins and outs of the streets around comic con that he forgot to develop a character worth liking.
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The title of Fred Van Lente's book is brilliant, to say the least. It's a novel about a comic book artist, in particular Comic Con artist, who spends his days with no fixed address, going from one comic book convention to the next giving talks and signing books.

The book has a hilarious tone to it, despite the anxiety that envelopes the whole situation. It's worthy of farce, punctuated with recurring comments, such as when Mike responds to questions about what he does for a living:

"Comic books.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a quirky, dumb, fun mystery. The writing isn't the most erudite, but it's the nerd equivalent of a mindless beach read. It probably won't work for you if you've ever been to a con, but otherwise there is a nice surprise twist ending that I enjoyed.
Sarah Theis
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars ⭐
This is my kind of book. So much geek is packed in these pages. And it's humorous even with murder a foot. I could have stayed up all night reading it in one go, though I have a toddler and in the morning he will not care if mommy needs more sleep, specially if I stayed up past my bed time 😂 I'm looking forward to finishing it.

*Finished it*
I have to say this book is worth the read. The amount of humor is great, the amount of geek easter eggs is too. The fact the main character runs i
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Ending (spoiler, obviously) 1 3 Aug 20, 2018 06:29AM  

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Fred Van Lente is the New York Times-bestselling author of comics as varied as Archer & Armstrong (Harvey Award nominee, Best Series), Taskmaster, MODOK's 11, Amazing Spider-Man, Conan the Avenger, Weird Detective, and Cowboys & Aliens (upon which the 2011 movie was based), as well as the novels Ten Dead Comedians and The Con Artist.

Van Lente also specializes in entertaining readers with offbeat

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“Fandom has a nasty tendency to absorb the surface appearances of a thing without ever bothering to internalize its underlying message.

Huh. I guess it is just like a religion”
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