cover image Columbus Noir

Columbus Noir

Edited by Andrew Welsh-Huggins. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-6177-5765-5

This superior Akashic noir anthology gathers 14 dark snapshots of Ohio’s capital, a very dangerous place indeed, with heavy drug use and murder touching down everywhere, from the German Village neighborhood to the statehouse. One highlight is Craig McDonald’s “Curb Appeal,” one of several invoking the homicidal search for housing. In the editor’s effective “Going Places,” a security man who covers up affairs for the governor gets pulled into a murder plot. In Mercedes King’s memorable “An Agreeable Wife for a Suitable Husband,” an abused wife who grew up “on a farm in Kentucky, slaughtering hogs” decides she’s had enough. Another strong entry is Laura Bickle’s “The Dead and the Quiet,” in which a young woman tries to score drugs, even “some Percs, not as good as Oxys, but she was desperate at this point.” The five tales in “Buckeye Betrayals,” the the third and final section, might lack the hard edge of the rest of the book, but, overall, noir fans should be well satisfied. (Mar.)