Various – London Noir (Edited by Cathi Unsworth)

Books Reviews Cathi Unsworth
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Various – London Noir (Edited by Cathi Unsworth)

The world’s a dark place—get with it

Noir is in the marrow of our soul. We’re tough. We’re cynical. We’re bleak. No matter how much we might pretend otherwise. And lest we ever forget, the good folk at Akashic come to remind us, with a split lip for every lapse in our character.

London Noir is the latest in an ever-lengthening line of short-storied lashings. Tough? You betcha. Cynical? Without question. And very, very bleak.

Desmond Barry begins the bruising with “Backgammon,” a West End wild that bares every scar that regret’s ever left behind. Ken Bruen’s “Loaded” makes a sappy player man-up to a task at hand. Sylvie Simmons’ “I Hate His Fingers” is diabolical, and Cathi Unsworth’s “Trouble is a Lonesome Town” is pure femme fatale, with a healthy dose of revenge for backstory. Another standout tale is Martyn Waites’ “Love.” Set in a Dagenham Estate, it’s like English History X as written by Irvine Welsh—or Dennis Cooper.

There’s more ’core of course—much more. Likely as much as you can take and then some. It’s that then some that’ll get you every time.