IF: detective

Spread the love

This week’s challenge word on the Illustration Friday website is “detective”.
They beat him up until the teardrops start/But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got no heart.
I read William Hjortsberg’s detective novel Falling Angel  in 1978. The novel began life as a piece of feature fiction in Playboy  magazine, but Hjortsberg fleshed it out into a captivating homage to the hard-boiled detective novels of the 1930s and 40s. Told in the first-person narrative, through the eyes of investigator-for-hire Harry Angel, Falling Angel  follows the search for one Johnny Favorite, a big band crooner who vanishes after World War II. Angel is hired by two attorneys, working for a mysterious Mr. Cyphre, to find Favorite. It seems just prior to his disappearance, Ol’ Johnny owed Cyphre a debt of some sort. And so begins Harry Angel’s adventure into a strange and hidden society living covertly in the bowels of Manhattan. It’s a riveting whodunit that makes a sharp left and catches the reader off-guard.

Nine years after its publication, Hjortsberg penned a screenplay of his novel. It became Angel Heart  starring a miscast Mickey Rourke, a miscast Lisa Bonet and a miscast Robert DeNiro. The awful film bears little resemblance to the clever and twisted novel.




  1. Hey Josh! Fantastic cover! Very “hard-boiled” look and 30s feel. Those flames are incredible! How did you do that? I saw Angel Heart. Rourke was his usual terrific self, but the movie just didn’t have the intrigue… probably because it bore no resemblance to the original novel. Just wanted to stop in and say “Nice work!”

  2. Wonderful illustration. The flames are really interesting. Thank-you for the description of the falling angel mystery. I used to love mysteries, you’ve inspired me to look for that book and start reading them again.

Leave a Reply