Long Island Noir – book review

Long Island Noir – Akashic Books

Akashic Books have a novel approach to their ‘Noir’ series books; they are anthologies that all pertain to a certain city or area delegated by the title. This one contains stories from Long Island, NY – edited by Kaylie Jones. While a few of these stories could have taken place anywhere, most are ideas and aspects one would only know about if you had lived on Long Island. They are written by local authors to capture the authenticity of their tales. Ideas touched upon in this anthology include the socio-political border between Mastic Beach and the Hamptons, Political climates in LI religious sects, and the perfect Garden City Homes – facades that often hide less than perfect lives.

These stories are admittedly not traditional noir, no hard-boiled detectives, gangster stories or petty thieves trying to gain notoriety in the seedy life of the underworld. These stories convey the darker side of real citizens – our friends and neighbors. Long Island’s underbelly will reveal, divorce, cheating spouses, out-of-control gamblers, rampant drug use, and people cheating the system and each other in order to ‘one-up’ their neighbors – middle aged and middle-class people in a desperate battle to seem successful in a judgmental environment.

While I originally purchased this book for the casual read and its treatment of familiar territories, most stories mirrored people I know or knew from growing up and living on Long Island. They conveyed a real sense of the area, climate and struggles of Long Islanders. I intend to purchase more of the ‘Noir’ series to absorb the real feel of the other cities and regions that they have covered to date, which include; Miami, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Boston, the Twin Cities, Kansas City, Seattle, Dublin, London, Toronto and Copenhagen, to name a few. Chances are, if you live near a city, you can find a collection in this series. Just put the word ‘Noir’ after your city name and look it up.