11 Jul / Brooklyn Noir edited by Tim McLoughlin
Can’t start without a little backstory: I was recently assigned to review Delhi Noir (link forthcoming if and when the review is published – one never makes absolute assumptions when freelancing!). Delhi is the latest in the “Akashic Noir Series” which offers specific city-based collections filled with pulp fiction written by an eclectic mix of those cities’ locals, and is published by New York’s indie small press Akashic Books. Since the series debuted in 2004 with none other than the book here, Brooklyn Noir, I figured I couldn’t write a fair review of the newest without checking out the oldest … The series, by the way, has since grown to dozens of titles representing major cities/regions around the world including our own Washington, DC, Havana, London, Istanbul, with a dozen-plus titles forthcoming that highlight the low life in places like Copenhagen, Lagos, Mexico City, and Mumbai.
The inaugural story of the inaugural series, Pete Hamill’s evocative “The Book Signing,” remains my favorite: decades after he left as a young man, a famous writer returns to his native Brooklyn for his first hometown book signing and is confronted by a shadowy figure from the past he tried to escape. Other standouts include Arthur Nersesian’s shocking “Hunter/Trapper,” about an email relationship that meets some surprising twists, Kenji Jasper’s trippy “Thursday,” about a cheating lover who will do what’s necessary to upstage his girlfriend’s loser husband’s latest gift to his wife, and Nicole Blackman’s vengeful “Dumped” which should instill a whole new level of fear into abusive men who don’t know how to treat their ladies right.
Definite bit of advice: Don’t read these alone late at night. Trust me … every little bump is going to keep you from getting any zzzzs.