cover image Buenos Aires Noir

Buenos Aires Noir

Edited by Ernesto Mallo, trans. from the Spanish by John Washington and M. Cristina Lambert. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-522-4

Crimes of passion, politics, and perversity pervade the 14 selections in Akashic’s noir volume devoted to Buenos Aires, where the grim past of the dirty war and present tumult provide a rich backdrop. From the mannered, gothic homage to Edgar Allan Poe in Inés Fernández Moreno’s “Crochet” to the hyperkinetic prose of a coked-up bomb maker in Gabriela Cabezón Cámara’s “The Golden Eleventh,” the styles are as varied as the Argentine capital’s neighborhoods. Alejandro Soifer’s gritty “Chameleon and the Lions” stands out as a model of hardboiled detective work, with a couple of grim twists. Alejandro Parisi’s taut, unsettling “Fury of the Worm” describes the grim doings of the city’s sordid, vicious criminal gangs. Leandro Ávalos Blancha’s “The Excluded,” which ends in the famed Recoleta cemetery, touches on the complex, uneasy mingling of social classes, races, and professional castes. Literary visitors may want to seek out longer looks after these brief exposures to the city’s many layers. (Nov.)