cover image Paris Noir: The Suburbs

Paris Noir: The Suburbs

Edited by Hervé Delouche. Akashic, $16.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-61775-755-6

Paris’s suburbs—a mix of slums, posh neighborhoods, fading industrial centers, and the city’s notorious housing projects that lie out of the sight of most tourists—provide the setting for the 13 tales in this uneven noir anthology. Highlights include Chloé Mehdi’s angry “I Am Not Paris,” in which relentless anti-Muslim prejudice drives a once peaceful Muslim woman to resort to political violence, and Marc Villard’s bleak “Beneath the Périphérique,” in which a 15-year-old runaway living on the street makes a desperate but doomed attempt to escape her life after witnessing a police murder. Marc Fernandez’s whimsical “The Baroness” shows how when an elderly dowager, infatuated with a charming younger Colombian drug lord, is arrested for drug smuggling, things may turn out to not be what they seem. In Jean-Pierre Rumeau’s memorable “The Donkey Cemetery,” a young couple’s plans to spend a romantic night in a moonlit forest turn into a survivalist’s nightmare that provides each with unexpected insights into the other. Unfortunately, some stories, because of their brevity and lack of development, are forgettable. This entry in this acclaimed series is only average at best. (Feb.)