Shepherded by Lambda Literary Award winner Gore, 17 contributors offer peeks at the dark side of a city known for clean living with an arty edge.
Editor Gore quotes Christine Gledhill’s description of film noir as “a struggle between different voices for control over the telling of the story.” But the stories in this installment of Akashic’s project to paint the world black complement rather than compete with each other. There are straight-up crime stories, like Hida Viloria’s “SOS Sex” and Candace Walsh’s “The Sandbox Story.” There are spooky ghost tales, like Jimmy Santiago Baca’s “Close Quarters,” Ana Castillo’s “Divina: In Which Is Related a Goddess Made Flesh,” and Israel Francisco Haros Lopez’s graphic short story “La Llorona.” Family drama has its turn in “I Boycott Santa Fe” by Tomas Moniz and “Behind the Tortilla Curtain” by Barbara Robidoux. So does love gone wrong, as in Byron F. Aspaas’s “Táchii’nii: Red Running Into the Water.” But perhaps the most poignant stories are the ones that turn Santa Fe’s promises of physical beauty and spiritual healing against it. In Elizabeth Lee’s “Waterfall,” a spa where clients flock in hopes of rejuvenation becomes the scene of a grisly crime. A pristine Aspen forest turns into a deadly trap in Katie Johnson’s “All Eyes.” And an organic farm hides a terrible secret in Gore’s own “Nightshade.” Danger lurks even in the water, as Ana June’s “The Night of the Flood” proves.
Readers will never look at hand-thrown pottery, heirloom tomatoes, or spectacular sunsets the same way again.