cover image Amsterdam Noir

Amsterdam Noir

Edited by René Appel and Josh Pachter. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61775-614-6

As in other volumes in Akashic’s noir series, this anthology of 15 short crime stories features superior writing from authors largely unknown to an American audience, but many entries could easily have been set in other cities. For example, Michael Berg’s “Welcome to Amsterdam,” spends much of its time either at JFK Airport or on a flight bound for Europe, aboard which the lead happens to see a fellow passenger whom he recognizes from the Syrian civil war; had the denouement taken place at an airport other than Amsterdam’s Schiphol, nothing significant would have changed. The same is also true for a number of other contributions. Hanna Bervoets’s “The Tower,” set in one of Amsterdam’s most prominent landmarks, is the most successful at linking its unsettling story—of a single mother with an ill child who meets the wrong woman—to its locale. The end result is that few entries capitalize on the city’s vast potential as a setting. (Jan.)