cover image Chicago Noir: The Classics

Chicago Noir: The Classics

Edited by Joe Meno. Akashic, $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-294-0

In this superior entry in Akashic’s noir series, Meno (Office Girl) offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction, starting with Harry Stephen Keeler’s sprightly “30 Seconds of Darkness,” originally published in 1916. Hugh Holton’s “The Thirteenth Amendment,” one of the newer stories out of the 15 included, is a work of satirical science fiction set in the future America of President Newt Gingrich. Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, but all turn in impressive performances. If one selection rises above the anthology’s consistently high level, it would be Kaminsky’s “Blue Note,” a high-tension tale that merges a love for the blues with the psychology of high-stakes poker, a character study, and a surprising ending. [em](Sept.) [/em]