jennybach's review

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dark fast-paced
  • Loveable characters? No


Most of the stories were just grim and had no style, which good noir really needs. 

misses_london's review against another edition

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A fairly recent Portland transplant, I bought this book as a gift for a guest and read it before the book left with them. Admittedly I'm not a regular reader of short stories -- in fact, this might have been the first compilation of short stories I've ever read. Noir is also not a genre I normally read. In other words I didn't have expectations.

I enjoyed the stories by Luciana Lopez, Floyd Skloot, Dan DeWeese, and Kimberly Warner-Cohen the most. Overall the stories that make up the compilation paint a dark but humorous portrait of the city of Portland's inhabitants.

Front to cover I should think that not every single story will appeal to any individual reader, but, if you're happy to skip over the bits you don't like, many Portlanders will find enough within to be sufficiently entertained, especially for those with a fondness for short stories. However, I'm not sure I'd recommend the book to anyone unfamiliar with Portland and its quirkiness.

f7owens's review against another edition

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Enjoyed reading a handful of these stories while I was in Portland! However, don't think I will pick up this series often, except perhaps the Chicago series. Of the five or so stories I read in the Portland volume, all were more concerned with unique characters rather than place. That is a good strategy for a short story, but in this case, I felt neighborhoods were just name-dropped, were just quick reminders that this story was set in Portland. I wished the stories more of a sense of place, gave me a sense of Portland from the various perspectives of these local authors.

nicka's review

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I interviewed Monica Drake for a zine I worked on. I didn't really know what I was doing, but she was good humored and gracious. Haven't run across anything by her since Clown Girl.

Loved it. No surprise, there is something particularly sexy about Monica Drake's lushy characters. They nurse red beers and always keep at arm's length. The rest: classic noir with distinctive Northwest attributes. Raymond Chandler's dark alleys and long shadows have streams of water coming down from the spouts. The dark, burnt coffe is a frothy latte. The blue grey tobacco smoke is smoke of high grade marijuana, sweet and earthy and musty, sucked from glass pipes. The body floating in the river is a lesbian artist. The hard boiled, hard drinking detective must catch a band of anarchists running amok. Makes me crave a hand rolled cigarette and a shot of bourbon.

erraticeldandil's review

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Short Form Review:
Dissapointing. While it had some gems, most of the stories felt like they were edgy for the sake of edgy and had a strangely disproportionate number of men murdering their wives.

otterno11's review

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After having visited Portland, Oregon a few times, it is definitely true that the city of roses has a personality all its own. From the twee humor of the modern gentrified Portlandia to the seedy history of Old Town and its shanghai tunnels, this entry in the Akashic Noir series reflect the conflicting and quirky nature of the Pacific Northwest city. I have enjoyed this series’ explorations of world cities, and this is a good example of taking full advantage of an idiosyncratic place and exploring its shadows.

Like others in the series, this collection has some stories that work better than others, but for the most part this is an effective collection linked strongly to the Portland setting, and from a variety of noir styles and approaches. The Red Room, set in Powell’s City of Books, is a good example, along with Hummingbird, and Shanghaied. One interesting aspect of Portland Noir, unlike the others I have read in the series, is that all of the stories contained inside have contemporary settings; while a few delve into the mysteries and horrors of the past, none are period pieces. While I do enjoy stories set in the past, in this case it almost gives the stories a more coherent, unified feeling. All in all, a satisfying collection that captures, I feel, the mood of the place.