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St. Louis Noir by Scott Phillips
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St. Louis Noir

by Scott Phillips (Editor)

Other authors: Jedidiah Ayres (Contributor), Chris Barsanti (Contributor), Laura Benedict (Contributor), Michael Castro (Contributor), S.L. Coney (Contributor)9 more, Umar Lee (Contributor), John Lutz (Contributor), Jason Makansi (Contributor), Paul D. Marks (Contributor), Colleen J. McElroy (Contributor), Scott Phillips (Contributor), L.J. Smith (Contributor), LaVelle Wilkins-Chinn (Contributor), Calvin Wilson (Contributor)

Series: Akashic Books Noir Series

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3214512,212 (3.84)3

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This is the latest installment of Akashic Noir’s Midwest series, following Chicago, the Twin Cities and Kansas City. In total, the Akashic Noir Series has about 75 titles, set around the world.

This particular collection has 14 entries, 13 dark, short stories and one poetic interlude. I recognized six of the authors for a variety of reasons. John Lutz and Scott Phillips are nationally recognized for their work: Lutz for “Single White Female” and Phillips for “The Ice Harvest.” Poet Michael Castro is the City of St. Louis’ Poet Laureate and locally famous before he was awarded the position. Jedidiah Ayres I’ve heard of from writer Joe Schwartz, and L. J. Smith I know from the local writing scene. Calvin Wilson is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

It was fun reading stories that take is familiar landmarks. The book is broken into four section, much like the metropolitan area itself: the City, the County, and Across the River (Illinois). The poetic interlude speaks to the large network of creative talent that call St. Louis home.

Phillips did a bang-up job with his Introduction: “High and Low Culture.” That describes St. Louis to a tee, past and present.

The collection gets off to strong start with the first story, “Abandoned Places” by S. L. Coney. In this story, after Ian’s father disappears, most assume he’s dead. But Ian isn’t so sure. He follows his stepmother one night and discovers that his father is held prisoner. There is some wonderfully vivid imagery especially involving the slitting of a throat. Without giving anything away (I hope), that one sentence that stood out among the rest was: “The skin gaped on either side, of that opening, giving (deleted to prevent a spoiler detail) a second smile.” This always gives me the shivers.

While “Abandoned Places” was my favorite, my least favorite was “Deserted Cities of the Heart,” by Paul D. Marks. It was rather existential, really didn’t have a plot and mostly seemed to center around loner Daniel Hayden lying under the Gateway Arch.

The rest of the authors cover the bases; it’s all here: a 1950s story about racism that also has no plot, a mentally unstable African-American man after a tour in Vietnam, slackers, femme fatales, divorces, death, missing children, skinheads, ending with a twist, convicts and drugs and drug dealers.

All in all, except for the first story, I felt that all the others were just okay. St. Louis Noir receives 3 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world. ( )
  juliecracchiolo | Feb 27, 2018 |
I grew up in St. Louis, where my mother was a probation officer (more than one story took place on a block I knew). I'm also a big fan of mysteries, and have liked some of the other titles in this series. I thought all the stories were well-written and gripping, and nearly all of them had gripping noir styles, with some great surprise endings. The underside of The Lou is captured in so many of the stories, and I'm glad there were black and white authors in a city where black and white stories are not often told together. Highly recommended, although locals may appreciate it more than those who don't know the place. ( )
  belgrade18 | Dec 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've read a few others in this series, most recently Chicago Noir, and thought that this one did not compare favorably to the others. I tried 3 times but could not make myself get through all of these. Somehow, the stories here felt different than others in the series. I think that I'll skip this series in the future, sad to say. ( )
  lindapanzo | Nov 17, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This collection of stories was not at all what a waste expecting. A fan of Hammett and Chandler and classic noir stories, I was expecting atmospheric mystery if not classic detective. Instead there is just a collection of dark tales. Most with no mystery element at all. ( )
  command3r | Sep 25, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, and when I saw that it was one of many such collections set in different cities I was a little hesitant. I wasn't expecting much, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The authors have connections to St Louis, and it mostly shows in the stories. Only in two cases did I feel like the local details were intrusive rather than a natural part of the story. As a St Louis transplant myself, it was amusing to picture the stories happening in their actual places, and as a fan of noir there were some really good stories in here. I would definitely consider picking up another volume. ( )
  duchessjlh | Aug 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Phillips, ScottEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ayres, JedidiahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barsanti, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benedict, LauraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Castro, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coney, S.L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, UmarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lutz, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Makansi, JasonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marks, Paul D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McElroy, Colleen J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Phillips, ScottContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, L.J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilkins-Chinn, LaVelleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, CalvinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Presents a collection of short stories featuring noir and crime fiction about St. Louis by such authors as Colleen J. McElroy, Laura Benedict, and Chris Barsanti.

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