A Spooky Graphic Novel About Small-Town Life and Death

Reading between the lines.
Aug. 3 2012 11:51 PM

Lost in the Woods

A graphic novel about ghosts, family secrets, and the danger of a town where everyone knows everyone else.

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A panel from Sean Ford's Only Skin.

In a small Western town tucked between a mountain range and a pristine forest, citizens are disappearing. First it was the owner of the local gas station. Then two buddies who went out into the woods looking for him. When teenage Cassie and her brother, Clay, return to town in search of their estranged father, nothing seems right: The sheriff’s more worried about her land deal than the mystery, Cassie’s only co-worker is a narcoleptic, and there’s a ghost in Clay’s bedroom. As the town reckons with its future, Cassie grapples with her past and her father’s legacy.

Sean Ford’s Only Skin is a spooky graphic novel about small-town life and death. Ford’s deadpan pen-and-ink linework gives the book its sense of quiet menace; reading it, you have no idea what’s coming next, but you know it won’t be good news for these characters. Who is abducting townspeople? Why are deer turning up maimed? Why did Cassie and her brother leave, and what will happen to them now that they’ve come back?

We’re excited to have Sean Ford illustrating the August issue of the Slate Book Review.

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Dan Kois is a senior editor at Slate and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.