cover image Manhattan Noir

Manhattan Noir

, . . Akashic, $14.95 (257pp) ISBN 978-1-888451-95-5

A pleasing variety of Manhattan neighborhoods come to life in Block's solid anthology, the latest entry in Akashic's city-themed noir series (Brooklyn Noir , etc.). "Building" by S.J. Rozan, for example, brings the reader a strong sense of Harlem, while "The Most Beautiful Apartment in New York" by Justin Scott perfectly presents the Chelsea landscape. Purists may balk at a tale like Liz Martínez's "Freddie Prinze Is My Guardian Angel," which is offbeat and funny but not really noir. Charles Ardai's "The Good Samaritan," on the other hand, offers bad weather, night and even cigarettes. Thomas H. Cook's "Rain" is nothing if not bleak, though it's really just an elaborate sketch. The most satisfying story, Jeffery Deaver's "A Nice Place to Visit," is long enough to develop a full plot, and it's got a hell of a twist at the end. Block contributes a respectable entry, "If You Can't Stand the Heat," but it certainly doesn't rival his best writing. Though not all the story lines are uniformly compelling, the writing is of a high order and a nice mix of styles. (Apr.)