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Philadelphia Noir
Cover of Philadelphia Noir
Philadelphia Noir
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"A collection enhanced by an unerring sense of place, with no clinkers . . . that will please the most discriminating lovers of the dark side." —Kirkus Reviews

From its posh Main Line to its blue-collar enclaves, Philadelphia is a city of contrasts. History has shown that brotherly love and murderous intentions can exist, if not side-by-side, then at least on the same block. Its this dichotomy that gives local writers their inspiration in this gritty collection of stories from Meredith Anthony, Diane Ayres, Cordelia Frances Biddle, Keith Gilman, Cary Holladay, Solomon Jones, Gerald Kolpan, Aimee LaBrie, Halimah Marcus, Carlin Romano, Asali Solomon, Laura Spagnoli, Duane Swierczynski, Dennis Tafoya, and Jim Zervanos.

"It took long enough for Akashic's noir series to get to Philly. Now that it has, compiled under the shadowy auspices of Inquirer literary critic/West Philly native Carlin Romano, the fun begins." —Philadelphia City Paper

"One of the US's oldest, and darkest cities has a collection of its own . . . Overall, this collection was excellent, but left me wanting more." —MostlyFiction Book Reviews
"A collection enhanced by an unerring sense of place, with no clinkers . . . that will please the most discriminating lovers of the dark side." —Kirkus Reviews

From its posh Main Line to its blue-collar enclaves, Philadelphia is a city of contrasts. History has shown that brotherly love and murderous intentions can exist, if not side-by-side, then at least on the same block. Its this dichotomy that gives local writers their inspiration in this gritty collection of stories from Meredith Anthony, Diane Ayres, Cordelia Frances Biddle, Keith Gilman, Cary Holladay, Solomon Jones, Gerald Kolpan, Aimee LaBrie, Halimah Marcus, Carlin Romano, Asali Solomon, Laura Spagnoli, Duane Swierczynski, Dennis Tafoya, and Jim Zervanos.

"It took long enough for Akashic's noir series to get to Philly. Now that it has, compiled under the shadowy auspices of Inquirer literary critic/West Philly native Carlin Romano, the fun begins." —Philadelphia City Paper

"One of the US's oldest, and darkest cities has a collection of its own . . . Overall, this collection was excellent, but left me wanting more." —MostlyFiction Book Reviews
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About the Author-
  • Carlin Romano, critic-at-large of The Chronicle of Higher Education and literary critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, teaches philosophy and media theory at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, cited by the Pulitzer Board for "bringing new vitality to the classic essay across a formidable array of topics." He lives in University City, Philadelphia, in the only house on his block.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 16, 2010
    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.

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2010

    Seventeen unsettling new stories in a dark-side collection that will brighten your day.

    Philly writers, Philly locales. But how is Philly noir different than all other noir? In his introduction to this collection of previously unpublished stories, editor Romano, longtime literary critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, argues that Philly is blue collar, as is its brand of creepiness: "In Philadelphia we do ordinary noir—the humble killings, robberies, collars, cold cases that confront people largely occupied with getting by." His own shuddery story helps makes the case. In "Cannot Easy Normal Die," the issue is as everyday as house-hunting, except who really knows what's buried in a certain backyard? In Aimee LaBrie's "Princess," a humble pug dog gets to foil a homicidal maniac. "Swimming," Halimah Marcus's chiller, centers on the bitter aftermath of an adulterous relationship, and what's more commonplace than that? In Meredith Anthony's "Fishtown Odyssey," rampant self-interest outlasts run-of-the-mill decency, which, unhappily, is often enough the way it goes. And so on. It's a collection enhanced by an unerring sense of place, with no clinkers, and at least half-dozen entries that will please the most discriminating lovers of the dark side.

    Following Lone Star Noir, Twin Cities Noir, Wall Street Noir and 40 more, another excellent entry in Akashic's long-running noir-by-neighborhood series.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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Carlin Romano
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