"With relatively straightforward storytelling and simple, yet effective reveals that often render the murderer the most sympathetic character, Kriek's chapters are perfect realizations of these ballads. A quick but lingering read, In the Pines deserves to be appreciated with its source music echoing hauntingly in the background." — Under the Radar
"What music sometimes gets away with can’t hide on the page, and Erik Kriek’s graphic novel, In the Pines: 5 Murder Ballads, won’t let the grisly stay invisible." — The Geeked Gods
"Kriek’s inky drawings fit the dark tone of these harsh tales of homicides, self-defense killings, and unjust executions. His use of borderless panels and a single atmospheric color adds to the stories’ visual distinctiveness. In no cases do Kriek’s variants displace the song, but they possess their own moody emotional power." — Booklist
The murder ballad holds a rock-solid position in US roots music and the Great American Songbook for decades. Telling the stories of sometimes true and often not-so-true-crimes and other horrific events, they are raw stories full of unrequited love, betrayal, life, and death. The song form stems from the Anglo-Saxon ballad tradition, where stories were orally passed on to a mostly illiterate population. Dutch cartoonist Erik Kriek was inspired by five old and new murder ballads — including songs by modern masters such as Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Gillian Welch — and used them as a launching point for five special and ruthless graphic narratives that dig deep into the darkness of Americana, in which guns and religion maintain an uneasy balance.