cover image Berlin Noir

Berlin Noir

Edited by Thomas Wörtche, trans. from the German by Lucy Jones. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-61775-632-0

The 13 stories in this welcome entry in Akashic’s noir series, all set in 21st-century Berlin, are less about traditional crime and more likely to involve gentrification, immigrants, or Airbnb. Contemporary social themes are present, such as in Max Annas’s “Local Train,” in which a clumsy attempt by a group of immigrants to take revenge on a neo-Nazi thug comes to an unexpected conclusion, or Katja Bohnet’s “Fashion Week,” in which a woman retaliates against an abusive lover less for his personal violence than for his exploitation of foreign workers. Dark comedy is found in Susanne Saygin’s “The Beauty of Kenilworth Ivy,” which features a Dexter-like serial killer with a botanical bent, and in Robert Rescue’s “One of These Days,” a romp through the challenges of dealing with a suicide’s inconvenient corpse. Rob Alef’s “Dog Tag Afternoon” is one of the few stories to make use of the city’s dramatic history, linking a contemporary homicide to the Berlin Airlift. Though the selections contain little actual noir, there’s more than enough variety to entertain most readers. (May)