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Supernatural Noir Paperback – July 5, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Supernatural Noir is a welcome exception. A collection of 16 short stories which blend the supernatural with the underworld of detectives in dimly lit offices and tough guys in abandoned factories that populate the noir genre.
To me, the best part of anthologies has always been that they allow the reader to discover new authors. It is difficult to keep up with any genre and a good selection of names gets you closer to writers that were beyond your knowledge.
In this anthology there are many great writers, but in addition to that, the choice of tales is not casual or capricious, since the works cover the entire spectrum between the two genres: from the story that is very close to the detective and has only a few strokes of dark fantasy to the story that could almost be described as supernatural, with all the different degrees of "darkness" between.
The quality of the stories is very good and (strangely) there have been none that have disappointed me. Interestingly, I prefer the tales of lesser-known authors ("Ditch Witch"by Lucius Shepard, for example) instead of the stars of the collection (Joe R. Lansdale and his "Dead Sister" and Brian Evenson and "The Absent Eye").
In some stories - the best stories - you enter a complex web and get hooked from beginning to end. When you finish them, you start looking for information about the author, checking if you have more stories and novels set in the same universe and shopping for them.
I think that extension of the anthology beyond the stories that compose it, that discovery of new authors and worlds is the best gift you can give to a reader.
And Supernatural Noir contains a few of those gifts.
The protagonists and scenarios and the anthology are often familiar from non-supernatural noir: a relative seeking revenge for a murdered innocent, criminals who find themselves unable to escape the acts they've left behind, private detectives caught up in events beyond their understanding. In a few of the lesser stories, the authors can't quite enliven these tropes, and the attempt at a hard-bitten voice with insight into the sorrows of life falls flat, feels almost maudlin. In the main, though, there's enough craft and imagination to give the stories bite.
In Paul G. Tremblay's "The Getaway," four criminals who think they've escaped a robbery discover that somehow, impossibly, they haven't. The mysterious and sudden nature of the fate that finds them makes this story eerier than a more straightforward menace would have, and the narrator's understatedly sad family background contributes to the tragic atmosphere.Read more ›
Now, being an anthology, this book offers up a mixed bag, even if does seem like the theme narrows the borders in which the authors can play. The truth is that noir fiction can be pretty damned diverse, and throwing in a supernatural bent only offers more freedom. It boils down to tone, I suppose. In any case, an anthologist like Ellen Datlow is about as reliable as they get when it comes to getting the best from the best.
Right off the bat I was charmed by a gritty heist story by Paul Tremblay called "The Getaway." A getaway driver speeds his cohorts out of town after a botched robbery, only to find the leader of the pack isn't in the car anymore. He's just disappeared, and the rest start to wonder just what the guy they robbed might have had to do with it. This was had a good deal of tension and a cool bit of paranoia.
A great little tale of the wayward soul seeking redemption came from Jeffrey Ford's "The Last Triangle." A washed-out addict winds up at the end of his rope and going through a rough bit of rehab in an old woman's house. But she doesn't throw him out, and instead recruits him into helping her investigate a mystery involving some rune-like symbols graffitied around town. The dichotomy of the two characters felt familiar, but the magical flavoring and Ford's way of moving the story along made it feel unique. Quite liked this one.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent way to find new favorite authors. The stories are varied and surprising, I loved a few and liked the rest. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Melisa
The stories here are by award-winning authors and more weird stories than anything else. "Supernatural noir" is certainly a weird bending of genres. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Paula Cappa Reviews
First let me say this was a very good read, possibly one of Datlow's best anthologies. The stories are very engaging: hard to put down, keeping you wanting to get all the way to... Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by merrimacga
I really enjoyed this collection of supernatural "noir" stories. A little something for everyone here...detective stories, and others (some hard to classify). Read morePublished on January 8, 2013 by K. Alexandrakis
I'm not really a horror fan personally, though I generally read some horror around Halloween every year, just to keep up. This was a welcome addition to my reading this year. Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Cissa
This one really disappointed me. The noir was really weak and the horror bordered on silly at times. Read morePublished on October 14, 2012 by Spence
I've got a short line-up of anthologies lately. First and foremost, the formatting on this digital galley was absolutely atrocious. Read morePublished on March 30, 2012 by Donna C
"Supernatural" and "Noir." Not two genres you would normally put together--especially since one deals with witches and magic and the other deals almost exclusively with the... Read morePublished on October 10, 2011 by Liz W.
I enjoy detective noir, I like dark fantasy, but I dislike horror. I bought this anthology believing it would be riffs on classic noir with fantasy elements. Read morePublished on July 15, 2011 by A. J Terry