Staff Picks

Philadelphia Noir (book)

November 2, 2012

For fans of: Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, and Lee Child.

The 15 stories in this Akashic noir anthology mostly support Romano's thesis in his introduction: Philadelphia noir is different from the mood, the sensibility, the dimensions, of noir encountered in more glamorous American cities such as New York or L.A., because it is ordinary noir--the humble killings, robberies, collars, cold cases that confront people largely occupied with getting by. 

Dennis Tafoya, one of the better known contributors, exemplifies Romano's point with Above the Imperial,  about a petty thief with a crush on a woman who works in the Chinese restaurant below his apartment. In contrast, a home invasion at the start of Solomon Jones's well-written Scarred  turns out to be anything but ordinary. Halimah Marcus's Swimming and Laura Spagnoli's A Cut Above  don't break any new ground, but their accounts of violent obsession and table-turning grip. Unsurprisingly, the book as a whole is comparable to Detroit Noir, another volume set in a less glamorous metropolis.