Sydney Noir

Sydney Noir

I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Sydney Noir from Akashic Books through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. As a long-time fan of film noir and a lover of classic, gritty crime novels such as Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain, I was positively giddy when I received the notice that I’d been selected, but this review reflects the merits of authors in this collection.

This collection of short stories, all based in Sydney, Australia, officially publishes on January 1, ,2019, so I’ve just managed to finish it prior to its book birthday. This is my second Akashic Noir collection and it is very different from Montana Noir, but equally as good. In fact, I think there may have only been one short story that I really didn’t care for, while the others were heart-breaking or horrifying, but ultimately satisfying.

Probably my favorite thing about this collection is its diversity, even within the noir theme. The authors are male and female, and include LGBTQ+ and indigenous people. Triggers abound in this collection, but I think if you’re reading a noir collection, you should already be prepared to encounter tales of drugs, murder, suicide, and all kinds of abuse, including sexual. This is in no way a “feel good” collection. In fact, it feels almost wrong to say I enjoyed it, but the writing is fantastic across the board. It’s evocative and engaging. I’m so impressed by how these authors are able to cram so much detail, and create such a complete story, in so few pages.

To be really thorough with this review and single out some of the best stories, I need to note that Eleanor Limprecht’s story “In The Dunes” is absolutely devastating. It was probably the hardest to read, subject-matter wise. Mandy Sayer’s “The Birthday Present”  and Mark Dapin’s “In the Court of the Lion King” both had incredible twists that I did not anticipate. “The Patternmaker” by Julie Koh, was probably my favorite tale in the entire collection, and it was one that left me speechless. “Slow Burn” by Gabrielle Lord was incredible, too.

The Akashic Noir series is definitely going to be bad for my TBR, as I want to search out the back list of many of these authors. If you have any interest in noir, crime novels, or just excellent writing, you can’t go wrong with this collection.

~ by Rachel on January 1, 2019.

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