Art by Kajo Baldisimo
For a first issue, Murder on Balete Drive is very effective because it draws you into the world of Alexandra Trese.
The cases, although appearing to be random, are actually quite focused. They are written and sequenced in such a way that you get to know Alexandra Trese and the life she leads very naturally, gradually.You at first meet this scrawny looking girl and later learn that she is one tough cookie who has supernatural connections, can take your eye out with her kriss and can keep them incantos in line.
Little by little, you learn who Alexandra Trese really is while you get carried away with the action within each case. Each one is grounded in solid folklore and the modern twists keep everything interesting. Try having a fire demon on your mobile’s speed dial why don’t you.
Then there’s the art. Trese is a good example of black and white done right. The art builds up on the setting of the seedy underbelly of the underworld. It perfectly complements the feel of the story. It is muted, withdrawn but very strong and distinct.
I read this one night when I couldn’t fall asleep. I was hoping to get drowsy somewhere in the middle of the book. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed everything about it. Overall, the only thing I don’t like about this series is that I only have the first book.
One word can sum up my reading of Trese: Murder on Balete Drive. Unexpected.