Belfast Noir

Akashic. Nov. 2014. 256p. ed. by Adrian McKinty & . ISBN 9781617752919. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781617753237. F
OrangeReviewStarEdited by two award-winning crime fiction writers from Northern Ireland, this anthology is long overdue, since Belfast is the most noir-imbued city in Western Europe after decades of poverty, bigotry, demagoguery, sectarianism, and murder. The natural backdrop of mist, rain, and dark cloud cover also helps—as does black humor, which is a strong motif here. All the stories are compelling and well executed. Ruth Dudley's "Taking It Serious" comes seriously close to truly portraying fanaticism within the city's complicated tribal landscape. Eoin McNamee employs the juxtaposition of video cams and narrative to extenuate the sense of anomie in the striking story "Corpse Flowers." Alex Barclay's "The Reveller" is a deep psychological bear trap of a story. Gerard Brennan's " Ligature" makes for compelling and uncomfortable reading.
VERDICT Great writing for fans of noir and short stories, with some tales close to perfection. It made this reviewer nostalgic and hopeful for his beautiful, brash, beastly Belfast.

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