Montreal Noir is a collection of fifteen short stories centered on or around Montreal. Montreal is the center for Francophone Canada and this collection reflects that with a mix of stories written in English and French, It is one of the latest in the outstanding Akashic Noir Series of short story anthologies that takes readers to the cities of the world on a noir world tour.
Editors in these series sometimes go out of their way to include stories that are outside the conventional idea of noir, stretching the boundaries of noir as far as they possibly can. Editors Jacques Filippi and John McFetridge did not. Their stories are faithful to the noir tradition filled with murder, mayhem, and mystery.
There are some stories that will break your heart. The Suitcase Man, The Crap Magnet, and Milk Teeth. There were a couple of stories that were a bit too easy to figure out and Milk Teeth was one, even though it was heartbreaking. There were a couple that attempted misdirection but were too obvious. Other People’s Secrets, for example, is pretty obvious and the reveal was not that revealing. Poppa, too, was not surprising, but I still liked the story.
Montreal Noir is a great collection of short stories. There was not one story that I disliked, though some were grim and disturbing. Noir should be grim and disturbing. What made me most happy about this collection was the sure confidence of the editors. Some Akashic Noir editors make an effort to include non-mystery stories. I suppose they want us to understand noir is an aesthetic, a mood, not a genre. But sometimes it feels as though they think genre fiction is lesser fiction and that is wrong. There is nothing lesser about genre fiction so long as the writers of genre fiction write with honesty and integrity, and why would they not?
I received an e-galley of Montreal Noir from the publisher through Edelweiss