I dig heist stories, but I have read and watched so many that I have become jaded to the typical cookie cutter robbery narrative. David Pepose has thrown his hat into the heist ring with his latest Going to the Chapel, and after his great success with the wildly entertaining Spencer and Locke, I had no doubt that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary crime caper.
Pepose’s key for making Going to the Chapel work so well is how quickly he develops the characters. We meet Emily on the day of her wedding. Most women look forward to this day, but Emily is clearly suffering from cold feet. Her family appears to be as dysfunctional as you can imagine. Emily’s father is berating vendors on his cellphone because the wedding plans don’t appear to be going as HE planned. Her grandmother advises her to have a side piece of ass at the ready and mom is eye-banging the help. In this great loving environment, what could possibly be bothering Emily?
Enter her soon to be husband, Jesse. Jesse is a hot-to-trot architect who appears to be calmer than Emily. He is with his crew hours before the wedding and doodling what he claims to be his “Sistine Chapel” in a notebook while his buddies, including the priest who is going to be marrying him and Emily, get wasted. Yes, all is well in Jesse’s world.
The big moment arrives. The bride and groom are at the altar. Jesse is pretty confident in his decision and just as Emily is about to answer her big question of “Do you…?” with her zoo of a family watching, the Bad Elvis Gang come busting into the church immediately barking commands of emptying pockets, and handing over wallets and cellphones. The big score of this robbery is the necklace Emily is supposed to be wearing, the Heart of Dresden, valued at over $250 million dollars, but where is it? Emily isn’t wearing the necklace and the head Elvis isn’t having any of this. Elvis marches Emily into the back room as his cohorts hold down the fort in the chapel. Then to Emily’s shock, Elvis removes his mask!
Pepose has another hit on his hands. A first issue is monumental in capturing the reader and where some writers prefer to make their intro a slow burn — Pepose dives right into the developing the characters and gets you choosing sides on who you want to root for. I am for whatever side the grandmother is on! She is easily my favorite secondary character so far. I want more Grandma!
The thieves have a clear goal: get the Heart of Dresden! But by the end of the book, there might be another goal that will reveal itself in the next issue. Pepose does a great job in building up the suspense. By the time I got to the end of the book I was mad because it was over. Going to the Chapel is indeed a page turner.
The artwork is as impeccable as the story. Gavin Guidry is at the helm in the art department while Liz Kramer on colors. The pair make a formidable team that make the characters leap off the page with such exuberance. Guidry details the characters’ personality that fits Pepose’s script with such precision. Kramer’s vibrant colors complement Guidry’s artwork, and makes it feel more like a cinematic experience.
Going to the Chapel has it all. The story is gripping, the artwork is visually stimulating, and the narrative just oozes with style. I can see where some might want to compare this to a Tarantino story. I can see that, but Pepose puts his own stamp on it so that you really can’t compare the styles. Going to the Chapel has the charm and personality to stand on its own and I cannot wait to see where the story twists and turns from here.
Want to know more about Going to the Chapel? You can read my interview with David Pepose HERE!
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