Snap Flash Hustle

Snap Flash Hustle
Snap Flash Hustle review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Black Mask - 978-1-628752-33-5
  • Release date: 2019
  • UPC: 9781628752335
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

Haley is in debt up to her eyeballs, and she’s concealed the extent from her husband, so the prospect of a naked photoshoot has an attraction it might not under other circumstances. It’s not as straightforward as that, though, as entirely by accident Hayley has stumbled into something very dangerous.

Pat Shand’s premise is that a model agency producing genuine online services is also a front for major league movement of drugs and cash, explained as the principle of hiding in plain sight. It seems far-fetched, but in black and white so do the plots of many successful crime stories, and the success is all down to the treatment. Shand has Haley’s involvement coincide with problems for the organisation, and her purpose is to be the scared innocent outsider, which works well enough.

Given the subject matter, coyness about the art would be a definite drawback, and while Emily Pearson presents naked illustrations of Hayley and others, they’re strangely un-alluring, as if to downplay the content. Pearson takes a very illustrative approach, which to some extent reflects the nature of the photographic theme, but it means while moments of people posed and talking work fine, there’s a stiffness to any scene requiring movement.

Shand briefly explores the lives of other models, but it’s lip service to the main story of head honcho Coral’s ambitions and Haley being scared, yet seduced by the money. Beyond those two characters everyone else is sketchy, even Haley’s home arrangements living with her husband and another woman. It transmits as set up to be sensational, and there’s not enough solid bolstering of why they’re a threesome. However, making readers care about Haley and some imaginative threats ensures there’s a continual build up of tension to the finale where the question becomes whether or not Haley is already in too deep, or what she might be prepared to sacrifice in the name of ambition.

Snap Flash Hustle is a crime story that eventually reads well enough, but needed a greater injection of dynamism and credibility. File under ‘promising’ for both creators.