Bat-Book Review: The Batman Murders

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Last night I finished reading the 1990 novel The Batman Murders by Craig Shaw Gardner. Here’s the synopsis on the back cover of the book:

The Joker Goes Wild

The Batman MurdersA banker, missing for months, finally turns up dead—wearing the unique costume of the Caped Crusader. Three other prominent Gotham City citizens are also missing, and the only clue to their abductor’s plot is a calling card—a joker with a bullet hole through it. It’s only the beginning of the ultimate prankster’s devastating new scheme to destroy the real Batman, even if he’s got to spill the blood of everyone in Gotham City to do it. If the Joker succeeds,  it will be his greatest gag of all time. But only one very twisted and very dangerous man will be laughing…

From Craig Shaw Gardner, Author of the Bestselling Batman Movie Novelization

So I only just noticed this while writing up this review, but that synopsis is wrong! There is no mention of the banker having been missing, and there is no joker card with a bullet hole. Instead, the killers left a paper rose with every body found in a Batman costume. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of The Batman Murders. I did like the fact that it was more of a detective novel, I love stories that bring Batman back to his roots as a detective. But that’s about all I liked about this book. The writing was only so so, and I felt like I was just slogging through the story. Honestly, if I wasn’t reading the book for review on Caped Crusades I would have just put it down and never finished it.

This book takes place just weeks after Jason Todd’s death, and I wonder if Mr. Gardner was one of the fans who was happy with Jason’s death in the comics. Or maybe he just isn’t that good at writing emotion. In any case the scenes where Bruce and Dick are emotional over the loss of Jason, are not very believable. Next month I’ll review The Batman Handbook, The Ultimate Training Manual by Scott Beatty for my Caped Crusades readers!

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Tags: Batman Books Craig Shaw Gardner The Batman Murders

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