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Phoenix Noir (Akashic Noir) Paperback – November 1, 2009
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Millikin's selection of stories seems to suggest that Phoenix herself is the ultimate noir metaphor -- the perfect femme fatale -- her sultry, beautiful surface giving way to a back story that is often flawed, complex and dangerous. Running through each of the narratives is the omnipresent notion that in the Valley of the Sun, no one is completely safe and that morality often takes a back seat to more immediate and baser indulgences.
But those who take in the superficial -- palatial estates, five-star resorts, the tanned and perfect East Valley soccer moms -- and write Phoenix off as the dumb blonde of the southwest tend to miss the point. Phoenix Noir digs a little deeper.
Diana Gabeldon's wicked tale of murder, sex and suburban social climbing; Don Winslow's poignant reflection on the city's notorious Van Buren strip; Stella Pope Duarte's lament for the lost and Millikin's gritty sojourn into the early 80's punk scene are just a few of the tales that bear witness to those consumed by the city and her dirty little secrets - secrets Phoenicians prefer not to put in travel brochures.
Readers who are new to the Valley of the Sun will love the depth and diversity of this collection of well crafted stories.Read more ›
Now, nearly fifty years later, Patrick Millikin's "Phoenix Noir" captures perfectly that same sense of dread, suggesting that something may be terribly wrong at the core of this city. Millikin has recruited an impressive array of crime fiction writers who have contributed stories to this book, including Lee Child, Don Winslow, Jon Talton and James Sallis. The stories are uniformly good and cut a broad swath through the Valley of the Sun, both in time and in space, showing readers a side of Phoenix that the Convention and Visitors Bureau would never dare feature in its glossy brochures. The stories are gritty, sexy and violent, revealing the sordid underbelly of a city much better known these days for its sunshine and superficiality.
Millikin's own story, "Devil Doll," is among the best in the book, and the editor more than holds his own in the company of the better-known writers. Fans of noir fiction anywhere, but especially those who know the Phoenix area, will enjoy this collection immensely.
As a resident of this nutty City for many years, I've lived through a lot of the crazy events that have occurred here, and have been to many of the landmarks that are noted in the stories. Many of the stories have done a terrific job of placing their fictional tale directly into Phoenix history, bringing new life to stories of the past. Writers Sallis, Talton, Kelly, Gabaldon and Millikin himself are all residents or ex-residents of Phoenix, and the details that swim within their stories are wonderful. I found myself falling into a nostalgic haze at times. In addition, there are some powerhouse crime, mystery and thriller writers in this collection, such as Lee Child, Megan Abbott, Gary Phillips and crazy Don Winslow, who all knock their stories out of the park. This is one collection that I will gladly recommend to friends in the months to come.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nicely curated collection of stories. Got finished with this book and went searching for others in it's family. Recommended for a good summer read.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
lovely collection of short stories about Phoenix. Worth reading. Save it for vacation, or distraction reading.Published 19 months ago by Maye Vanarsdel
Great collection of good stories by talented writers. I purchased it because it included on by Diana Gabaldon, my favorite author. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by Amazon Customer
An excellent addition to the Akashic series. Millikin's choice of authors and stories fully limn the diversity found in the "valley of the Sun". Read morePublished on August 23, 2010 by steve shadow schwartz