Cape Cod Noir
Edited by David L Ulin
Part of a Series of "Noir" anthologies
Reviewed by Sarah Hilary
presented as "the flip side of the Kennedys" and the Cape after
the summer preppies have gone home, this is a terrific anthology of
unexpected stories, every bit as "nuanced" as the cover blurb
promises, if not always as "profound" (but then profundity isn’t
everyone’s principle requirement when it comes to noir).
by David Ulin, for whom Cape Cod is "a repository of memory
(spanning) forty summers in the same house", the anthology is part
of Akashic Books award-winning series. Unlike some anthologies, this
contains all-new stories by writers including Jedediah Berry (winner
of the Hammett Prize), Dana Cameron (nominated for the Edgar,
Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards), Boston Globe bestseller, Elyssa
East and Adam Mansbach, whose humorous children's book Go
the F*ck to Sleep
was seen flying off UK bookshelves last Christmas.
a splendid map of the hooked arm of the Cape at the front end, the
anthology is divided into three parts: Out of Season, Summer People,
and End of the Line. Not that this dictates how readers choose where
to dive in; like most anthologies, this is best read by opening at
Snapshots of Dennisport by
Paul Tremblay is a story told in photographs, each one revealing a
little more of the plot and the narrator's character. It's a neat
conceit that carries the story smoothly to its expected but
on a Fifty-Pound Bale
by Adam Mansbach tells conflicting accounts of the fate of bale of
wrapped marijuana that comes ashore close to Martha's Vineyard.
It's an ingeniously well-told story that demonstrates the
inventiveness of the genre and has that fine lick of black humour
that's found in the best noir tales.
Night in Hyannisport by Seth
Greenland begins, "I was dead. That was the main thing." (This
reader once passed a night in Hyannisport and wonders if the narrator
didn't have the right idea.) No doubt it's been done before, and
since, but what a great way to start a story.
Regina by Ben Greenman is told almost entirely in single
lines, like a witness statement. You'll have read it before you
realise you've started. Clever.
Scenes for Neglected Guests
by Jedediah Berry combines lyrical prose with humour and hubris,
crazy characters with mad names, and a dog with stubby legs and round
ears. What more could a reader want?
the Sense Creative Award in 2010, and the Fish Criminally Short
Histories Prize in 2008. Her fiction appears in The Fish Anthology,
Smokelong Quarterly, and in the Crime Writers’ Association
anthology, MO: Crimes of Practice. In
2011, she received an Honourable Mention in the Tom-Gallon Trust
Award. In 2012, she launched Flashbang,
a crime writing contest in association with CrimeFest. Sarah
is currently committing a crime novel. Her agent is Jane Gregory
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Authors David L. Ulin, Ben Greenman, Lizzie Skurnick,
Dana Cameron, Jedediah Berry, Paul Tremblay, Seth Greenland, Kaylie
Jones, Adam Mansbach, Elyssa East, Fred G. Leebron, William Hastings,
and Dave Zeltserman.
David L. Ulin is a book critic for the Los Angeles Times. From 2005 to
2010, he was the paper's book editor. He is the author of The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith, and the editor of Another City: Writing from Los Angeles and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a 2002 California Book Award. He teaches in the low residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at the
University of California, Riverside's Palm Desert Graduate Center, and
was a visiting professor in the Literary Journalism program at the
University of California, Irvine in the spring of 2010. His latest book,
The Lost Art of Reading, was published in November 2010.