A review by bract4813mypacksnet
Long Island Noir, by Jules Feiffer, Sarah Weinman, Charles Salzberg, Reed Farrel Coleman, Matthew McGevna, J.Z. Holden, Tim McLoughlin, Nick Mamatas, Richie Narvaez, K.J.A. Wishnia, Qanta Ahmed, Jane Ciabattari, Amani Scipio, Steven Wishnia, Sheila Kohler, Kaylie Jones, Tim Tomlinson


Akashic Books, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, is dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors ignored by the mainstream. Akashic has an excellent reputation and when they release a new book, the quality is guaranteed to be superb. and put out some really good books. Long Island Noir, an anthology of dark fiction set on Long Island, has been in my to-be-read pile for far too long, and now I’m sorry I let it linger there. Most of the stories are quite good, rather unconventional, and present a gritty twist on the "American Dream.” Though not every story is true noir, that off-shoot of pulp fiction epitomized by Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, these stories focus on Long Island’s seedy with its loan sharks, hustlers, small- and large-scale mobsters, corrupt actions and pastimes of the wealthy. Kaylie Jones, the editor of this collection, makes the point that the Great Gatsby is really the first Long Island noir story.

Some of these stories are excellent, particularly “The Shiny Car in the Night” by Nick Mamatas. It was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. Another favorite was Anjali's America. In it, a young Pakistani doctor treats another Pakistani woman whose fate she might have shared, had she not escaped from arranged marriage and completed her medical education. The story rang particularly true to me as, when I lived in Pakistan, I was friends with a woman with a Ph.D. in botany married to an intellectually-challenged rug salesman. In Gateway to the Stars, a young man is prevented from finding his younger, drug-addicted brother by a surly copy who, despite being raised in the same town as the young man, has adopted Long Island attitude.

Long Island Noir is definitely a book to savor, despite the page-turner quality of the stories.