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Seattle Noir (Akashic Noir) Paperback – June 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If the 14 entries in Akashic's rainy city noir volume were school compositions, a teacher would likely assign mostly As and Bs and nothing below a C. Colbert has assembled stories that reflect Seattle's ethnic diversity (Native American, East Indian, Chinese, Latino, etc.) as well as tales from its rough past to its glory days of Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft. Notable selections include Colbert's Till Death Do Us..., featuring 1940s PI Jake Rossiter, and G.M. Ford's wry Food for Thought, but two of the best come from nonmystery writers, Bharti Kirchner's disturbing Promised Tulips and Kathleen Alcalá's stark Blue Sunday. Brian Thornton's Paper Son provides a seamy look at corruption and vice in Seattle's Chinatown in the late 1800s. Patricia Harrington's What Price Retribution? demonstrates that people may be homeless, but they aren't necessarily helpless. Other contributors include Robert Lopresti, Skye Moody, Simon Wood and R. Barri Flowers. (June)
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From Booklist

Is Seattle too “nice” for noir? It is home to the original Skid Road, the Green River Killer, and the second most popular suicide bridge in the nation and yet perhaps too laid-back and politically correct to embrace the genre’s viciousness and depravity. Of the many varied shades of local color on display in this mixed but worthwhile collection, only a few have the inky chiaroscuro found in Akashic noir entries from Brooklyn or Detroit, among them Stephan Magcosta’s nightmarish tale of a bad encounter between an Iraqi war widow and a cabdriver and Lou Kemp’s twisted, gothic Sherlockian pastiche. Other standouts include Simon Wood’s taut tale of a bar brawler recruited into a life-changing club, Robert Lopresti’s demented dialogue between homeless murder witnesses, Curt Colbert’s clipped Jake Rossiter detective yarn (crossing O. Henry with Hammett), and Skye Moody’s memorable funhouse tale of embittered showbiz dwarfs and hothouse flowers that could be Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust as told by Tom Robbins. Fourteen original stories that may well be of interest beyond the Northwest. --David Wright
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Product Details

  • Series: Akashic Noir
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian Thornton's most recent fiction project was editing "West Coast Crime Wave" an anthology of crime fiction, all set on the American West Coast, which is now available as a Kindle e-book, published by BSTSLLER, Inc. His fiction has appeared in such venues as "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine", the late, lamented "Bullet UK" and the Akashic Books anthology "Seattle Noir". He is the author of several works of non-fiction, including a piece on Ross MacDonald that appeared in the anthology "A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir", books such as "Honest Abe: 101 Little-Known Truths about Abraham Lincoln" (Adams Media 2010), "The Book of Bastards: 101 Scoundrels and Scandals from the World of Politics and Power" (Adams Media 2010) and his most recent nonfiction work, "The Book of Ancient Bastards: 101 of the Worst Miscreants and Misdeeds from Ancient Sumer to the Enlightenment" (Adams Media, 2011). A native Washingtonian, he lives in Seattle with his wife, the writer Robyn Thornton.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
These fourteen Noir entries that focus on Seattle are all well written with most being super. The stories can be divided between historical and recent/current as the city has dramatically changed from a kick butt blue collar port city to a white collar ethnic diverse urban center which is home to giant corporations. For instance, before coffee was king, rum was king. The comparison between the fourteen contributions clearly captures that seemingly radical turn around, but in fact the short stories show the slower pace of change starting with Boeing in the 1950s. Mr. Colbert breaks the book into four segments. "Gone South" contains four tales that look deep into ethnicity. "What Comes Around" includes three entries that focus on modern day moral issues? "Love Is a Four Letter Word" has three tales pf how love can go wrong even in a perfect setting. Finally the last chapter includes four shorts that take the audience "To the Limits" that not everything is kosher. My favorites are the historical entries such as "Paper Son" by Brian Thornton who looks deep at late nineteenth century corruption and the retribution tales of the last section as we all at times want to see someone else get what is coming to them. All of the tales are fun as the city proves a perfect location as the "Center of the Universe" (by Robert Lopresti) for a Noir collection as affirmed by these consistently strong but differing contributions.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Knox on July 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
These short stories are a fun read for anyone who lives in or loves Seattle. The stories span multiple locations in the city and time periods. While these stories may not be as much interest to readers outside of Seattle, each story is well crafted and should delight mystery fans.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Toon on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a big noir fan about to move to Seattle, I was excited to soak up some local flavor from this collection. Denied! Few of the contributors have any background in crime fiction (one is known primarily as a cookbook author). Even fewer have any idea how to build suspense, portray distinctive characters, or craft involving plots that turn on high-stakes moral dilemmas. And if you can't do any of that, you have no business messing with noir.

I can see the thought process now: "Ooh, somebody's looking for submissions for a Seattle crime fiction book? Perfect time to dust off my old manuscript about a sassy yet warm intergenerational group of Native American women! I'll just drop a .45 into the last scene and bingo, it's 'noir'!" Saints preserve us from "literary" wanna-bes "slumming it" with crime fiction.
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