cover image Memphis Noir

Memphis Noir

Edited by Laureen P. Cantwell and Leonard Gill. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-1-61775-311-4

A remarkable picture of contemporary Memphis emerges in this Akashic noir volume. Little of the alleged “new South” is apparent among the 15 tales included, but rather a Memphis still divided culturally, socially, and politically between black and white. One standout, Kaye George’s “Heartbreak at Graceland,” pays the obligatory homage to Memphis’s Elvis Presley heritage, setting a powerful and definitely dark narrative in the late rocker’s home. Also effective is Adam Shaw and Penny Register-Shaw’s “The Never Never Is Forever,” a miniature graphic novel set in the underworld of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Black Memphis and white Memphis collide in Troy L. Wiggins’s “Tell Him What You Want” with unexpected results. As in other Akashic anthologies, the selections often carry more of a mainstream sensitivity than most genre fiction. Not every story will work for every reader, but there will probably be something for everyone. (Nov.)