cover image New Orleans Noir: The Classics

New Orleans Noir: The Classics

Edited by Julie Smith. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-161775-384-8

The 18 stories in this irresistible sequel to Smith’s New Orleans Noir run chronologically from Armand Lanusse’s “A Marriage of Conscience” (1843), about an unusual social custom of the day, to Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s “Pie Man” (2012), a powerful examination of ethnic tensions in post-Katrina New Orleans. Famous bylines punctuate the book, but even the lesser-known authors hold their own. Former New Orleans police office O’Neil De Noux’s “The Man with Moon Hands” has particular relevance in view of recent controversial police shootings. Ace Atkins’s “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” mixes New Orleans’s traditions of music and crime. There’s one outright ghost story, Poppy Z. Brite’s “Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz,” a surrealistic swirl of time travel and assassination. Anyone who knows New Orleans even slightly will relish revisiting the city in story after story. For anyone who has never been to New Orleans, this is a great introduction to its neighborhoods and history. [em](Mar.) [/em]