The Starlings and Other Stories: A Murder Squad and Accomplices Anthology

Edited by Ann Cleeves. Graffeg (IPG, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-909823-74-7
Twelve haunting black-and-white images, taken by photographer David Wilson in the remote Pembrokeshire region of Wales, provide the foundation for this unusual and effective anthology of crime stories from authors both familiar to American readers (Chris Simms, Martin Edwards, Jim Kelly) and less well known. Even seemingly innocuous pictures, such as one of two male surfers simply walking through the tall grass toward the breaking waves, are enough to inspire dark thoughts. Kelly uses that photo for “The Man Who Didn’t Breathe,” about a jealous teenager who has trained himself to hold his breath as long as possible. Noir is not the only subgenre represented. Cleeves provides a Vera Stanhope fair-play whodunit with a personal angle in the title story, which follows a Hitchockian photo of a flock of the birds flying over barren fields separated by an empty road. All the entries make good use of Wilson’s work, though the powerful bleak snapshots of landscapes mostly bereft of human life do demonstrate that a picture is worth a thousand words. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2017
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
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