- File Size: 643 KB
- Print Length: 209 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Darkhouse Books (October 20, 2014)
- Publication Date: October 20, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00OQXADAY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,234 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.95|
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The Anthology of Cozy-Noir:: Mystery stories with an edge Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Thirteen authors, Robert Lopresti, Judy Brownsword, Magdalena Jones, Herschel Cozine, L.E. Schwaller, Percy Spurlark Parker, Michael Guillebeau, Kate McCorkle, David Himmel, Lynn Kinnaman, Wenda Morrone, John Haas and myself contributed stories that run the gamut from dark and murderous to light and tongue-in-cheek.
The stories were set in small towns and large cities and in diverse locations---from the Ozark hills, New York City in the 1940s, a Chicago penthouse, a Canal Street bar, a pizza joint, a Texas honky tonk, a county fair, a masquerade charity ball, diners where you just might run into the wrong dame, a small town where jukeboxes play sad country songs to a home where a bedroom game turns deadly.
There are stories of lust, murder, deceit, mayhem, revenge—with a smattering of knitting and a few servings of pie.
Cowboys, mobsters, private dicks, lawyers, bodyguards, devious dames and your average Joes star in each of these stories of cozy-noir. Editor Andrew MacRae did an admirable job of selecting a diverse overview of characters, locations and story types.
Disclaimer: Although I do have a story in the book, I purchased a paperback copy from which my review was written.
The Anthology of Cozy-Noir from Darkhouse Books is just the ticket if you’re looking for a mystery fix, but don’t have time for an entire novel. Editor Andrew MacRae defines Cozy-Noir as a new sub-genre combining elements of cozy “whodunit” motifs with moody, noir style, while keeping overly descriptive violence off the page.
The nice thing about an anthology is that you don’t have to start at the beginning. Descriptive intros by MacRae give you the freedom to select stories that fit your reading mood. The thirteen suspenseful page-turners offered in this volume will appeal to a wide range of mystery readers. Many of the writers are longtime practitioners in the genre and some are newcomers; all have closely followed its rules when crafting their stories.
Robert Lopresti’s “The Roseville Way” takes place in a small town where East Coast mafia members are surprised by homespun resistance to their strong-arm tactics.
Percy Spurlark Parker’s “The Ferry Tail Murder” is a classic “whodunit” set at a masquerade ball on a ferryboat. It has many twists and turns; weed out the red herrings and piece together the clues correctly to solve the mystery.
Magdalena Jones’s “Sweet Murder” takes place at a county fair where a pie-judging contest serves up a clever murder and a very clever murderer.
Herschel Cozine’s “The Photograph” takes his PI on a quest for a compromising photo stolen from an attorney’s office. Travel along with the intrepid PI as he gathers evidence to nail the culprit.
Bobbi A. Chukran’s “Dead Dames Don’t Wear Diamonds” conjures up memories of the riveting stories that made the pulp magazines sizzle. Drop in and watch the fireworks.
Eight more excellent stories are contained in this volume. So, whether you enter the mean streets or the clean streets, park your daily tensions behind a Stop sign, curl up in an easy chair with your favorite liquid, and match wits with the authors to solve their perplexing puzzles.
The first story I really like was The Pact. Although I didn't quite buy the protag going along with her friends' murderous impulses or caving to them simply because one of them become a pain when he "gets a bee in his bonnet." Too convenient and easy a conflict, but nonetheless, I liked the story for its easy tone and fun ending which I saw coming despite the author's blink-and-you-miss-it hints. Yay me!
Sweet Murder I liked for its writing, not necessarily for the actual crime which didn't seem motivated enough. But the author's down-home colloquialisms and the way in which she described the small town feud between the two bakers was well done and quite charming.
Everybody Knows this is Nowhere had an unexpected twist, which is a compliment since--due to this genre--I was on the lookout for clues, motivations and such in every story. But there wasn't much mystery once the twist--or surprise--happened, but I enjoyed the author's writing style and how he wove the narrative of the protag's backstory into the story and contrasted it to that of Sam. Well done.
I liked the voice and hard-boiled language in Noir is Dead. This line was especially good: "Mindy's customers were under some mind control. Wires coming from their ears, staring at something in their hands no bigger than a deck of cards." One of many excellent turns of phrase though I can't say the plot itself was as strong. A pity, since the protag was so appealing.
Bravisimo had the makings of a great story but again, the murder/twist was entirely too convenient. I liked the narrator too much to believe he was dumb enough not to spot the murderer sooner instead of waiting so long he got pegged for the crime. I remark on the story here, because the writing was strong in every other capacity. The descriptions of both scenery and the lifestyles of the wealthy donors--not to mention the best ways in which to loosen them up--was excellently drawn and I wished the murder/denouement had been just as solid.
Dead Dames Don't Wear Diamonds was solid writing, even if the set-up was visible from a mile away. But I think in this case, we're supposed to see the set-up and watch the protag fall in because staying out of jail is not finally the point. The lusty adoration of the woman was cute and so the end, while not exactly shocking, was satisfying.
Little J's Sweet Potato Pie was a complex, masterfully woven tale that had so many excellent shots of dialogue and perfectly spare turns of phrase, there are too many to quote. "Like he didn't have an idea. Like that wasn't why he was wriggling." Without context, that example might not mean much, but in the course of the narrative, it was nigh-perfect. Not so perfect was Little J's street lingo. I'm not a reader that fusses too much over accents--I usually don't mind so long as they don't overwhelm. But here, it wasn't always accurate. "Finish they sandwich." "They" in the street sense means "their" or "they're" Not "your". A few missteps like this threw me out but not too much. Should the author tighten the voice of her VERY appealing protag, I'd have nothing to complain about. The street world in which Little J and Gideon lived and struggled in was beautifully realized. Overall a strong story by an author to watch.
The last story was my favorite in every aspect. The murder was a true surprise and not at all convenient or contrived. The writing was strong and the relationships well-described despite the fact there were many of them. The motivation--on BOTH ends; both murderer and plotters--was founded, another problem in some mysteries where the killers are eager to kill, the selfish are soullessly evil. Not so here, in which the cast of characters was each rounded out and the last lines? Perfection. Highly satisfying.