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Orange County Noir (Akashic Noir) Paperback – April 1, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Readers with a serious noir addiction may be able to find something they can appreciate in every tale. Those who don't understand noir are likely to find nothing here that interests, but they woudln't take a run at this book anyway. OC residents will get some quick "Hey, there..." thrills ("Hey, I know that intersection!" or "Hey, I recognize the store he's describing!") but with rare exceptions the geography of these stories is pasted on, not central or integrated into the tale. In good geographical crime writing, the locale becomes another character. I can't say there is a lot of OC character on display here.
Although I wouldn't necessarily classify all of these stories as noir or even neo-noir, I found them all to be highly readable and entertaining.
Stories range from tales about the ghosts that haunt Santa Ana's canyons to the brilliant tale about Diverters in Tustin. Diverters are medical professionals who "divert" drugs from patients to those who pay big bucks for a not so cheap thrill. Hospice workers clearly have the best stuff. There is also a great tale about a movie producer who takes a break in Dana Point and almost misjudges the conniving nature of the locals. Also noteworthy is a tale about "The Happiest Place On Earth" which isn't an absolutely happy tale and reminds you to follow your intuition about who to trust. "On a The Night In Question" by Patricia McFall is also worth a read. It's a yarn about a lonely Garden Grove man and his sweet pen pal in the women's penitentiary.
The moods in all these stories capture a certain angst beneath the surface of the endless beaches and housing tracts of some parts of the OC and the sense of unfairness felt by the havenots in various parts of the county not glamorized on tv shows.