Sunday, September 7, 2014

Belfast Noir Is Here, So It Is

I received my copies of Belfast Noir this week from our publisher Akashic Books and I have to say that the volume looks absolutely gorgeous. That deep focus shot on the cover is fantastic and its the usual excellent print job from Akashic. I think the stories inside are all first rate but of course I'm biased because Stuart Neville and I edited the book, but fortunately we also got the first review of the collection by Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders this week too. Peter is famous in the international crime writing community for knowing his crime fiction onions. This is what he said about Belfast Noir: 
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...Belfast Noir, out in November from Akashic Books, looks like one of the strongest, possibly the best entry in Akashic's "City Noir" series, and I don't say that just because the book's two editors plus one of its contributors will be part of a panel I'll moderate at Bouchercon 2014 in November.

Quite apart from the quality of the stories the pieces are well-chosen and the volume intelligently planned. Its four sections recognize not just Belfast's violent recent past, but the realities of its quotidian present. Most of the stories depict no violence directly, but violence, and the possibility or memory thereof, loom always. That's a lot more effective than whipping out a kneecapping or rolling down the balaclavas whenever the action lags.

I especially like Brian McGilloway's "The Undertaking," which opens the collection with hair-raising humor and suspense.  Akashic's Dublin Noir also opens with a comic story (by Eoin Colfer), and that story was the highlight of the volume for me. I don't know if it's an Irish thing, but  comedy is a wonderful against-type way to open a collection of crime stories. Oh, and I'll also want to read more from Lucy Caldwell...
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Belfast Noir is the first volume of its kind collecting crime fiction from the north of Ireland in the post Troubles era. It shows you how far we've come since The Good Friday Agreement that this book was even possible. Just to remind you we were delighted to get stories from Glenn Patterson, Eoin McNamee, Garbhan Downey, Lee Child, Alex Barclay, Brian McGilloway, Ian McDonald, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Claire McGowan, Arlene Hunt, Steve Cavanagh, Lucy Caldwell, Sam Millar and Gerard Brennan. A pretty impressive list I think you'll agree.