Author Joshua Hale Fialkov offers up a fairly intense tale of the fall of a utopian society. Elk’s Ridge is the name of a small-town community in West Virginia built by Vietnam War veterans supposedly seeking a peaceful existence for themselves and their families away from the crime and corruption of the outside world. However, when an Elk Ridge teenage boy is hit and killed by a drunk driver, the town’s bloody transformation from “Mayberry” to “Waco” is set into motion. Violence ensues and a group of teens attempts “the forbidden”…to leave Elk’s Ridge. The teens don’t get far before discovering that the intentions of the town’s founding fathers may not have been altogether harmonious.
As I finished reading Elk’s Run, I found myself hoping that more library patrons would discover this graphic novel if for nothing more than the fantastically gripping artwork. I thoroughly enjoyed the story as well, though the “fall of utopia” plot line might seem a bit tired and familiar to some readers.
Be warned, Elk’s Run is not for the squeamish. The “F” bomb is dropped repeatedly and blood flows like a river through the illustrations.