cover image Accra Noir

Accra Noir

Edited by Nana-Ama Danquah. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61775-889-8

This welcome volume in the Akashic noir series, set in Ghana, hits plenty of the expected bleak notes and classical noirish phrasings. Gbontwi Anyetei’s gripping “Tabilo Wuɔfɔ ” contains such memorable lines as “Anybody could burn down a church” while also serving as an almost casual introduction to the nuances of Ghanaian culture (“the barely literates who still insisted on using English”). That doesn’t mean there aren’t traditional noir tales, notably Adjoa Twum’s cocaine-smuggling and murder-filled “Shape-Shifters.” Danquah’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” opens with the fantastic line, “Every day for the past five days, Kwame had woken up next to a corpse,” and delivers a wonderful variant on a spousal murder plot. Anne Sackey’s “Intentional Consequences” takes the scorned-woman revenge story in a surprising and witty direction. Though there are a few weak stories among the 13 selections, this stands as one of the better recent Akashic anthologies. (Dec.)