I’ve mentioned before the excellent website run by Paul D Brazill. It’s a mine of information about all things Noir and features interesting interviews with writers of the genre as well as book reviews and other articles. I’ve been meaning to read one of Paul’s books for a while and over the Christmas period I discovered an anthology of stories around the theme of being an ‘outsider.’ Brazill has edited the collection which also includes one of his own stories. It turned out to be a selection of very good noir tales.
Short stories are, however, notoriously difficult to review. You can either précis each one but this is likely to prove boring for readers of the review. Instead, I’d like to select my favourite stories in the collection, all of whom were by writers new to me.
Firstly, my absolute favourite was KA Laity’s Eating the Dream. It’s a modern day fable that was so powerful that I dreamt about the protagonist afterwards. The power of excellent writing. Also very good was Brazill’s story, The Weather Prophet. We get a view of a meeting in a hotel bar that really could be anywhere and the depressing consequences of a man who has virtually given up on life. Other favourites from this collection were Nick Sweeney’s The Place of the Dead a short bittersweet tale of infidelity whilst travelling and Dead Man Walking by Tess Makovesky, another tale of betrayal.
Collecting the stories around an overarching theme was an excellent idea for this book. It gave the collection a homogenous feel but allowed the writers to express their individual styles within the narratives. The stories are fairly short but many are powerful. And it’s allowed me to discover new writers I can’t wait to read more of.