Seventeen unsettling new stories in a dark-side collection that will brighten your day.
Philly writers, Philly locales. But how is Philly noir different than all other noir? In his introduction to this collection of previously unpublished stories, editor Romano, longtime literary critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, argues that Philly is blue collar, as is its brand of creepiness: “In Philadelphia we do ordinary noir—the humble killings, robberies, collars, cold cases that confront people largely occupied with getting by.” His own shuddery story helps makes the case. In “Cannot Easy Normal Die,” the issue is as everyday as house-hunting, except who really knows what’s buried in a certain backyard? In Aimee LaBrie’s “Princess,” a humble pug dog gets to foil a homicidal maniac. “Swimming,” Halimah Marcus’s chiller, centers on the bitter aftermath of an adulterous relationship, and what’s more commonplace than that? In Meredith Anthony’s “Fishtown Odyssey,” rampant self-interest outlasts run-of-the-mill decency, which, unhappily, is often enough the way it goes. And so on. It’s a collection enhanced by an unerring sense of place, with no clinkers, and at least half-dozen entries that will please the most discriminating lovers of the dark side.
Following Lone Star Noir, Twin Cities Noir, Wall Street Noir and 40 more, another excellent entry in Akashic’s long-running noir-by-neighborhood series.