“Thoroughly entertaining . . . from desperate writing students in Missoula to a van of itinerant strippers working the Hi-Line paralleling the Canadian border.” —Publishers Weekly
A Parade Magazine “Books We Love” Pick
The Big Sky State may seem to lack the shadowy urban mazes traditional to the noir genre. But in Montana, darkness is found in the regions of the heart, driving the desperate and deadly to commit the most heinous of crimes. Here, James Grady and Keir Graff, both Montana natives, masterfully curate this collection of hard-edged Western tales.
Montana Noir includes Eric Heidle’s “Ace in the Hole,” an Edgar Award nominee for Best Short Story, and impressive contributions by David Abrams, Caroline Patterson, Thomas McGuane, Janet Skeslien Charles, Sidner Larson, Yvonne Seng, James Grady, Jamie Ford, Carrie La Seur, Walter Kirn, Gwen Florio, Debra Magpie Earling, and Keir Graff.
“Terrific . . . Montana Noir is one of the high points in Akashic’s long-running and justly celebrated Noir series . . . varying landscapes reflect the darkness within the people who walk the streets or drive the country roads.” —Booklist
“Montana may not have the back alleys so common to noir but it has western justice which can be quick, brutal and final and that is as satisfying as anything found in the urban streets that typically attract the dark beauty of the noir genre.” —New York Journal of Books
“Certain noir standbys prove both malleable and fertile in these 14 new stories . . . If Montana has a dark side, is anywhere safe from noir?” —Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen original stories plus a reprint by Thomas McGuane ("Motherlode") cover the Big Sky State in this thoroughly entertaining Akashic anthology, from desperate writing students in Missoula (Gwen Florio's "Trailer Trash") to a van of itinerant strippers working the Hi-Line paralleling the Canadian border (Grady's "The Road You Take"). Other stories touch on the history of the Gros Ventre tribe and the Flathead Nation (Debra Magpie Earling's "Custer's Last Stand" and Sidner Larson's "Dark Monument"). In Keir Graff's timely "Red Skies of Montana," an immigrant from Mumbai is babysitting the site of a ski lodge when arsonists arrive to burn it to the ground. Most of the tales have stronger starts than finishes, and the appearance of a Private Chandler Marlowe (from the Iraq conflict) in David Abrams's "Red, White, and Butte" is cute enough to be distracting. Yvonne Seng's "All the Damn Stars in the Sky" probably isn't true noir, but provides the most fun, with ex-circus performers, abandoned missile silos, and a chopper from Fox News in the mix.