cover image Zagreb Noir

Zagreb Noir

Edited by Ivan Srsen. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-308-4

Zagreb, Croatia—its culture and its touchstones—will be terra incognita for many U.S. readers, along with the 14 contributors to this average Akashic noir anthology. Darko Macan gets the volume off to a promising start with “A Girl in the Garage,” in which a rumor started by a drunken tenant provides another resident with unexpected, and unsettling, adventures. In Mima Simic’s “Horse Killer,” a young woman exacts terrible, but fitting, revenge on a man whose brutality took the lives of her friends. Several stories revolve around the conflict between Serbs and Croats during the Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995). One of them, Pero Kvesic’s “Night Vision,” a tale of courage and hope, contains the memorable line “War is a bad thing because it creates many more wicked people than it destroys.” Also notable is Nora Verde’s “She-Warrior,” in which a young woman’s carefully planned anarchist activities are smacked down by a triple helping of reality, but too many other selections are routine efforts. (Nov.)