cover image Dark Crimes

Dark Crimes

. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $21.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-699-7

Evoking the dark underside of life, this oddly diverse collection of two novellas and 19 short stories in the noir tradition ranges from examples of the highly praised Gold Medal softcovers published by Fawcett in the '50s to contemporary offbeat genre offerings. Gil Brewer's novella The Red Scarf skillfully conveys the despair of a man with a lifelong dream after he succumbs to the temptation provided by a mob fortune. In the second novella, Anatomy of a Killer , Peter Rabe demonstrates how a contract killer's emerging humanity leads to his destruction. The short stories are a mixed lot, with some perhaps more appropriate to a fantasy or horror collection. ``While She Was Out'' by Edward Bryant follows a dissatisfied housewife as she outwits four joyriding killers who tail her out of a shopping mall. Loren D. Estleman's ``The Crooked Way'' features a Detroit PI who foils a headline-happy Texas lawman. Lawrence Block's ``Hot Eyes, Cold Eyes'' tells of a woman who fears being watched by men (and what she does about it), while Thomas Monteleone's ``Taking the Night Train'' finds myth and prehistory in the New York subway system. Author profiles provide a historical perspective. Gorman is editor of Mystery Scene magazine. (Sept.)