cover image Miami Noir: The Classics

Miami Noir: The Classics

Edited by Les Standiford. Akashic, $16.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-61775-806-5

The 19 selections in this welcome reprint anthology in Akashic’s noir series enshrine the dark side of Miami. The earliest entries, from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas (“Pineland”), Zora Neal Hurston (an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God), and Damon Runyon (“A Job for the Macarone”), evoke a backwater on the verge of becoming a metropolis. These early stories command the most interest as they reach into history and pull out long-lost regional speech patterns. Late 20th-century classics are well represented, including “Saturday Night Special,” a spare, tough piece from Miami crime-writing godfather Charles Willeford, and the wry “The Odyssey” from Elmore Leonard, whose ear for a hustler’s speech is as sharply tuned in South Florida as it is in Detroit. David Beaty’s chilling “Ghost” shows how dreamers, scammers, and violent criminals exist side-by-side in Miami, separated by the thinnest of lines. Carolina Garcia Aguilera’s observant “Washington Avenue,” a detective procedural, tracks the city’s evolution as it becomes an international tourist destination and the impact of that change on the locals. This historical survey makes a fine case for Miami as a timeless setting for great crime fiction. (Nov.)