cover image Santa Fe Noir

Santa Fe Noir

Edited by Ariel Gore. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-722-8

As noted in the introduction to this solid Akashic noir anthology, Santa Fe, N.Mex., and environs is less the Land of Enchantment, per the tourism slogan, than the “Land of Entrapment,” where characters are inexorably tied to or haunted by the area’s long history and uneasy mix of cultures. One highlight is Hida Viloria’s “SOS Sex,” a traditional crime story in which a property appraiser stumbles onto a sex trafficking racket that ties to a long-ago family tragedy of his own. In a more off-beat vein, Cornelia Reed’s scathing “The Cask of Los Alamos” retells Poe’s revenge tale “The Cask of Amontillado,” but this time set at the 1945 test of the first atomic bomb. For many of the selections, however, crime is secondary or even nonexistent, as in Jimmy Santiago Baca’s unsettling “Close Quarters,” in which a Chicano writer is visited by the ghosts of his ancestors. The quality of the 17 entries varies widely, but the book’s diverse group of writers will provide readers with unexpected perspectives on this centuries-old city and its people. (Mar.)