Judge Dredd: Year One – City Fathers – a novel by Matthew Smith (spoilers)

A novel published by Solaris Books, a division of Rebellion

Written by Matthew Smith

Cover by (sorry it doesn’t say in my copy…)

Judge Dredd was created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra

This edition is currently only available as a download.

Matt Smith, in this case the Editor of 2000AD and not the actor famous for portraying Doctor Who (you think he’s never heard that before???) writes his second Dredd novel.

This was the first in the Year One novels but I kept putting it off, for no reason other than I was already reading something else, until I read the second novel, Cold Light of Day by Michael Carroll. I thought that now I’d read the second one I needed to read the first one.

This year we’ve had a take on Year One by Matt Smith in the IDW Mini Series Judge Dredd: Year One, That one is set in the IDW Dredd universe, a different one to that of the 2000AD & Megazine Dredd universe. This book series however I believe is set in the 2000AD universe.

We start with a simple crime, a murder. But how straight forward will this crime turn out to be?

A registered Peeper, someone who holds a license to spy on his neighbours and report everything to the Justice Department. Obviously many would want him dead but was it the gang whose symbol was drawn on the apartment wall in the victims blood?

The peeper had been watching a known drug dealer, someone knew he was watching. Aliens, Robots, Psykers? Whoever it was how they knew about the murder victim watching them through a telescope was surely a clue that would blow the case wide.

We have a young Dredd but a writer who knows the character well. Matt gives us a Dredd that is at times questioning his own judgement, constantly concerned he might let down his bloodline. We see Rico… well we know where that will lead at some point.

We also get a look into the dark side of the city with drug dealers, drug addicts, murders, From the rich in their lofty towers to the down and outs in squatting in empty blocks. We see the city.

This is a very good example of Dredd investigating a crime and the pieces just fitting together to show some of his hunches were closer to the truth than at some point they seemed. It isn’t predictable and it isn’t puzzling. What we get is a well structured story with a flawed Dredd, something interesting to see.

A very enjoyable read.

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