OAKLAND NOIR

Thompson and Muller have taken such pains to choose stories highlighting Oakland’s diversity and history that the result is...

San Francisco’s grittier next-door neighbor gets her day in the sun in 16 new stories in this tightly curated entry in Akashic’s Noir series.

The hardscrabble streets of Oakland offer crime aplenty. There’s booze and drugs, as Katie Gilmartin’s “White Horse” and Phil Canalin’s “The Three Stooges” demonstrate. There’s prostitution, as Carolyn Alexander shows in “Bulletproof.” And there’s always red-meat murder, the kind Harry Louis Williams II depicts in “The Streets Don’t Love Nobody.” But Thompson and Muller also take pains to reveal the blue-collar heart of the city. Nick Petrulakis’ “The Bridge Tender,” Judy Juanita’s “Cabbie,” Dorothy Lazard’s “A Town Made of Hustle,” and Tom McElravey’s “Black and Borax” all show the fates of working stiffs who can’t seem to catch a break. Contributors tip their hats to Oakland’s political action pedigree in Kim Addonizio’s “The Wishing Well,” Mahmud Rahman’s “Prophets and Spies,” and Keenan Norris’ “A Murder of Saviors,” which treats the thorny issue of public vs. charter schools. And Nayomi Munaweera in “Survivors of Heartache” and co-editor Muller in “The Handyman” suggest that Oakland may just provide an alternative to the skyrocketing cost of housing across the bay—for the right people, of course, and at a price not calculated in dollars and cents.

Thompson and Muller have taken such pains to choose stories highlighting Oakland’s diversity and history that the result is a volume rich in local culture as well as crime.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61775-530-9

Page Count: 278

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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THE A LIST

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

A KILLER EDITION

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Too much free time leads a New Hampshire bookseller into yet another case of murder.

Now that Tricia Miles has Pixie Poe and Mr. Everett practically running her bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, she finds herself at loose ends. Her wealthy sister, Angelica, who in the guise of Nigela Ricita has invested heavily in making Stoneham a bookish tourist attraction, is entering the amateur competition for the Great Booktown Bake-Off. So Tricia, who’s recently taken up baking as a hobby, decides to join her and spends a lot of time looking for the perfect cupcake recipe. A visit to another bookstore leaves Tricia witnessing a nasty argument between owner Joyce Widman and next-door neighbor Vera Olson over the trimming of tree branches that hang over Joyce’s yard—also overheard by new town police officer Cindy Pearson. After Tricia accepts Joyce’s offer of some produce from her garden, they find Vera skewered by a pitchfork, and when Police Chief Grant Baker arrives, Joyce is his obvious suspect. Ever since Tricia moved to Stoneham, the homicide rate has skyrocketed (Poisoned Pages, 2018, etc.), and her history with Baker is fraught. She’s also become suspicious about the activities at Pets-A-Plenty, the animal shelter where Vera was a dedicated volunteer. Tricia’s offered her expertise to the board, but president Toby Kingston has been less than welcoming. With nothing but baking on her calendar, Tricia has plenty of time to investigate both the murder and her vague suspicions about the shelter. Plenty of small-town friendships and rivalries emerge in her quest for the truth.

An anodyne visit with Tricia and her friends and enemies hung on a thin mystery.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0272-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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