Edited by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett
293 pages Noir
I was at loose ends on Monday after a busy holiday prep weekend. I picked up Palm Springs Noir, knowing that I would be entertained and enlightened about a city that I had been to several years ago. What I remembered best about the Palm Springs experience were the fields of wind turbines in the valley. Those wind turbines show up frequently in the short stories in the book, but apparently I didn’t have the same kind of Palm Springs experience that the characters in these stories had. I may have to go back.
In her introduction, DeMarco-Barret defines noir thus: “In noir, the main characters might want their lives to improve and may have high aspirations and goals, but they keep making bad choices and things go from bad to worse.” She goes on: “In noir, characters follow the highway to doom and destruction. They are haunted by the past, and the line between black and white, right and wrong, dissolves like sugar in water. The hero rationalizes why it’s ok to do whatever dark thing they are about to do.”
There are fourteen stories by several well-known Southern California authors. They are pure naughtiness happening in one of America’s most beautiful places. As steamy as the air. A great review in the NY Journal of Books.
I have written extensively over the years about the Akashic series of more than 100 noir books in settings all over the world. You might also like to read my description of noir and neo-noir literature. You can find it here. Stay tuned for the February arrival of Paris Noir: The Suburbs, which I will review the next time I have a day of loose ends.