- Paperback: 257 pages
- Publisher: Akashic Books (1 April 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1888451955
- ISBN-13: 978-1888451955
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,11,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Manhattan Noir (Akashic Noir) Paperback – 1 Apr 2006
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This mystery collection focusing on Manhattan features brand-new stories by Jeffery Deaver, Lawrence Block, Charles Ardai, Carol Lea Benjamin, John Lutz, Liz Martinez, Maan Meyers, Martin Meyers, S.J. Rozan, Justin Scott, and others. Fiction. MANHATTAN NOIR is an anthology featuring brand-new stories by Jeffery Deaver, Lawrence Block, Charles Ardai, Carol Lea Benjamin, Thomas H. Cook, Jim Fusilli, Robert Knightly, John Lutz, Liz Martinez, Maan Myers, Martin Myers, S.J. Rozan, Justin Scott, C.J. Sullivan, and Xu Xi. "Readers of Brooklyn Noir will recall that its contents were labeled by neighborhood and] we have chosen the same principle here... N]oir can be funny, it can stretch to include magic realism, it can be ample or stark, told in the past or present tense, and in the first or third person. I wouldn't presume to define noir--if we could define it, we wouldn't need to use a French word for it--but it seems to me that it's more a way of looking at the world than what one sees."--From the introduction by Lawrence Block.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
On top of Mr Block's own delightful entry, IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT, the book opens with a brilliant tale of justice being unofficially served on a serial killer masquerading as a civilian handing out public duty. The opening paragraph to the opening short (THE GOOD SAMARITAN by Charles Ardai) is worth note, and it raised the hairs on the back of my neck on my first read. I am not surprised this book was placed first on the reader's pecking order, since it is so good that it sets the scene for the entire reading experience. The end is supremely satisfying on several levels.
The second short, by Carol Lea Benjamin, is based on the results of a marriage gone sour. Before the reader learns who did what to whom, you might be asking yourself, "WHY, WHY, WHY". By the end of the tale, however, you may well be asking yourself, "HAVE YOU DONE IT YET?" The modus operandi may not stand up to today's crime solving technologies but it was good enough to be highly entertaining in this context.
Mr Block's own story is just as brilliant as the opening one, if not more so. A young lady finds herself approached in a bar by a strange but charming fellow, and naturally the pair wind up in bed together. Well, that's one way of putting it!
I am just about to start RAIN by Thomas H Cook and even the opening sentence borders on the poetic side of literature:
"A burst of light releases the million eyes of the rain, glimpsing the Gothic towers in dark mist, falling in glittering streams of briefly reflected light, moving inland, toward the blunt point of the island, an outbound ferry as it loads for the midnight run."
One tends to forget the dark nature of the reading material when your eyes are fortunate enough to fall across words of such relatively beauty. But i guess that is a feature of noir. Black is black, white is white, except for when they are not.
The rest of the tales are just as good but equally varied. I have not read them, yet - give me an hour or two of reading time, and i will update this review. As Mr Block says in his introduction, "You're here for the stories, and I trust you'll like them. I know I do." If they are good enough for Mr Block, they are good enough for me!
This book is an awesome purchase and of course hugely recommended by someone who couldn't be any further from Manhattan if he tried. But not by choice!
In A NICE PLACE TO VISIT by Jeffrey Deaver - the longest story in the book - a grifter attempts to ply his trade in the big smoke of New York City, But despite his choice of town, or because of it, the deal falls through. But New York would not be New York if another opportunity failed to present itself, and of course it is not too long before one does. This story is artfully written and at times, is a beautiful depiction of what we love about noir. Taken from page seventy five of the print edition: 'The sunlight came through some clouds over Eighth Avenue and hit Gourdino's beer. It cast a tint on the counter, the yellow of a sick man's eye...'
Beautiful, in so many ways. Just like the structure of the story. And the solution of this short is like the final stroke being applied to one of Michaelangelo's masterpiece artworks. A picture within a picture, within a picture. Genius lives here.
THE NEXT BEST THING by Jim Fusilli
This one is a classic twist on the cross/ double cross scenario. An out of luck musician finds work as a bank's pianist (of all things!) and his wife completes the story with a form of the ultimate multi-layered betrayal. Short, but sweet. And of course, highly entertaining.
In TAKE THE MANS PAY by Robert Knightly, a Japanese businessman being questioned by NY cops is a brilliant example of how not to release the cat out of the bag until dinner time. Mr Hoshi Taiku is questioned by the police in a very intelligent fashion, but we don't learn what for until the very end. With charges pending, questions are still left unanswered in the reader's mind masterfully by the author. Characterisation is first class, with the reader's emotions strongly falling initially with Taiku and of course, swinging like a pendulum toward the cops as you progress. But did he do it? You will have to read the story and make up your own mind.
More updates as i progress through this fantastic purchase.
A couple were stream of consciousness nonsense.
Most of them had odd, sudden endings.
Still, there's a lot of very good writing, here.
If you can get it for a few cents (plus shipping), I'd say go ahead and get it.