“A collection enhanced by an unerring sense of place, with no clinkers . . . that will please the most discriminating lovers of the dark side.” —Kirkus Reviews
From its posh Main Line to its blue-collar enclaves, Philadelphia is a city of contrasts. History has shown that brotherly love and murderous intentions can exist, if not side-by-side, then at least on the same block. Its this dichotomy that gives local writers their inspiration in this gritty collection of stories from Meredith Anthony, Diane Ayres, Cordelia Frances Biddle, Keith Gilman, Cary Holladay, Solomon Jones, Gerald Kolpan, Aimee LaBrie, Halimah Marcus, Carlin Romano, Asali Solomon, Laura Spagnoli, Duane Swierczynski, Dennis Tafoya, and Jim Zervanos.
“It took long enough for Akashic’s noir series to get to Philly. Now that it has, compiled under the shadowy auspices of Inquirer literary critic/West Philly native Carlin Romano, the fun begins.” —Philadelphia City Paper
“One of the US’s oldest, and darkest cities has a collection of its own . . . Overall, this collection was excellent, but left me wanting more.” —MostlyFiction Book Reviews
The 15 stories in this Akashic noir anthology mostly support Romano's thesis in his introduction: "Philadelphia noir is different from the mood, the sensibility, the dimensions, of noir encountered in more glamorous American cities" such as New York or L.A., because it is "ordinary noir the humble killings, robberies, collars, cold cases that confront people largely occupied with getting by." Dennis Tafoya, one of the better known contributors, exemplifies Romano's point with "Above the Imperial," about a petty thief with a crush on a woman who works in the Chinese restaurant below his apartment. In contrast, a home invasion at the start of Solomon Jones's well-written "Scarred" turns out to be anything but ordinary. Halimah Marcus's "Swimming" and Laura Spagnoli's "A Cut Above" don't break any new ground, but their accounts of violent obsession and table-turning grip. Unsurprisingly, the book as a whole is comparable to Detroit Noir, another volume set in a less glamorous metropolis.