Another Review at MyShelf.Com

houston noir
Akashic Noir
Edited by Gwendolyn Zepeda

Akashic Books
May 2019/ ISBN 1617757063
Mystery / Anthology

Reviewed by  Nicole Merritt

First, let me tell you what the definition of “noir” is: a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity. It is the French word for black. So, black fiction.

But, you say, it is all true! Everything you hear about the stories in this anthology is true. The dirt, the deaths, the murders, and the crime, it is in this book, told by a literary sect who has lived there.
How can fiction be true? Well, sometimes fact is even stranger than fiction and in the case of houston noir, it is.

Having grown up in Houston, I can attest to the fact that what you will read in Gwendolyn’s book about Houston is not so strange. The Houston Halloween pixy stix poisoning caused me to stay home from subsequent trick or treating for years. The River Oaks murders of prominent rich wives, doctors, and philanthropists were the talk of the town. Brothels, and gangs before they were popular, are just some of the artifacts of “good ole boys” Bayou City. And, let us not forget the dirty politics.

Gwendolyn has put together a very diverse and interesting look at the nation’s fourth largest and most eclectic cultural city in this noir series.

Adrienne Perry’s One in the Family… “Summer in Houston is like the dead of winter in Easthampton, Massachusetts, only hot instead of cold. In both places, weather traps the lucky people inside. I tried to explain this to our dad, but he’s from Mississippi so he already knew.” Or, Anton DiSclafani’s Tangled, “She opened the door out of some sort of maternal instinct, her other hand clutching the square of pictures. Lance looked at her first…… “Mama,” a voice said from underneath Lance…..Victoria had not called her Mama in so long.

If you are a noir fan, you are gonna love this new edition. It does have its pitfalls. The stories flip flop and not every one is as intriguing as the last, some ramble, but I give it a B+ as a task well tackled for interest and fun.

Reviewed 2019