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Supernatural Noir Paperback – July 5, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ellen Datlow is one of horror s most acclaimed editors. Datlow was the fiction editor of OMNI for nearly twenty years and also edited the magazines Event Horizon and Sci Fiction. Her many bestselling anthologies include The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series; Snow White, Blood Red; Lovecraft's Monsters; Naked City, and Darkness. She has won multiple Hugo, Locus, and Shirley Jackson awards and has received several lifetime achievement awards, including the Bram Stoker. Datlow lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse; First Edition edition (June 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595825460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595825469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm not very fond of the fusion of genres. Every time I read a story that has strange mixtures, I end up just disappointed. For example, swords and laser guns are not easily combined correctly into the same story.

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.
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Format: Paperback
My late father read a lot of mystery and detective stories, but I've never been much interested in them. I read Sue Grafton because the character of Kinsey Millhone amuses me, but otherwise I'm unlikely to pick up a piece of crime fiction. Nonetheless, I admire the noir sensibility, which in the hands of the right writer can explore urban grimness and psychological dysfunction in a way that no other fiction can. Ellen Datlow's new anthology takes that sensibility and adds a dark twist. The protagonists of these sixteen stories must face not only human infirmities but deeper, more inexplicable terrors. Mobsters and monsters, gunmen and ghouls: the world of Supernatural Noir is indeed an unpleasant one.

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.
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Format: Paperback
The ARC of this anthology came at the perfect time, as my reading tastes this spring and summer have been tuned to the noir and dark fantasy genres. So, to see a slew of authors each offer up short stories with a blending of elements from both genres, with Ellen Datlow expertly compiling the stories together, well ... let's just say this might have been the perfect summer read for me this year.

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.
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