book: trese, murder on balete drive

"trese" by budjette tanTRESE: MURDER ON BALETE DRIVE is the second book off the filipino horror pile.

fantaghiro23 said: “I don’t know if you’ve read it, but I highly recommend the Trese series, 1, 2, and 3. They’re graphic novels incorporating traditional Filipino myths and creatures. Fantastic story telling, too.

which was sort-of seconded by kwesifriends, saying: “Trese [is] a graphic novel retelling traditional monsters (can’t find the right term).

and i would like to thank both of you for recommending this series.

i actually haven’t gone to the next book yet, preferring to write my thoughts per volume. so what i’m about to write are my thoughts pertaining to the first volume only. here goes:

TRESE: MURDER ON BALETE DRIVE deals with filipino folklore, and has the elements of horror–but i have a problem with its lack of narrative.

with this first volume, we get four separate stories wherein the creatures from filipino folklore are integrated into modern times. but, these stories are not so much stories as they are glimpses from the life that main character alexandra trese leads. these are scenes, chapters–they don’t tell the whole story.

on the plus side, the stories are easy enough to follow. they’re short and intriguing, and will have you begging for more.

but, the first volume only manages to raise questions–it never gives much in terms of answers.

first of all: who is alexandra trese and why does the a police officer call her in whenever the supernatural is involved? why does this particular police officer believe in the supernatural to begin with? anton trese, alexandra’s father, is mentioned in the first story–and it feels as if there’s some weight when she says “i am nothing like my father.” but that doesn’t get a follow up.

there’s a clue as to how alexandra learned the world of the supernatural, and she mentions the role her grandfather played in the things she now knows. but that doesn’t get followed up either.

i guess what i’m saying is there’s not a lot of background when it comes to alexandra trese. so you have to wonder why she’s doing what she’s doing? what’s in it for her? reading the afterword, the author promises connections, et al. but for a first volume to not be able to lay down the basics of alexandra trese’s world? that doesn’t bode well for the series.

good thing the stories are intriguing enough to get me excited to read the next volume.