Booklist Reviews 2016 August #1
Editor Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, 2010) tells us in his introduction to the latest in Akashic's voluminous Noir series that Mississippi boasts a notably corrupt state government and the highest rate of poverty in the country. No wonder, then, that area writers have found some pretty nasty stories to tell, several of which are included here: stories about a girl who murders her mother's live-in boyfriend; a drug dealer who goes to extreme lengths to repay his source; a jilted lover who kills her ex-lover's wife; college students who are having their fingers removed. And, of course, stories about sex and rage and white trash. Some of the 16 contributors are appearing in print for the first time, and some big names—Megan Abbott and Ace Atkins, for example—offer fine stories. Sadly, though, there are plenty of Mississippi-connected notables who are absent from the table of contents: John Grisham, Greg Iles, Richard Ford, and Donna Tartt, among them. A solid anthology, but it's a shame Mississippi's remarkable list of writers wasn't better utilized. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2016 June #2
Mississippi, as Franklin notes in his introduction, has the most corrupt government, the highest rate of various preventable ills, and the highest poverty rate in the country. In short, the state is a natural backdrop for noir fiction. The 16 stories in this uneven Akashic anthology emerge from a cauldron of sex, race, ignorance, poverty, bigotry, misunderstanding, and sheer misfortune, though few of them take advantage of the possibilities of such a mix. Most tales are variants on the theme of two people having sex and then something bad happening to one or both of them—which is a limited exploration of this fairly complex genre, dealing as it does with the spectrum of human nature's dark side. Still, readers will enjoy those entries that do stand out for their originality: Mary Miller's "Uphill," about a man's effort to take a picture; Jimmy Cajoleas's "Lord of Madison County," which follows a drug deal gone strange; and Andrew Paul's tale of innocent evil, "Moonface." (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC