Santa Cruz Noir was released earlier this month, another stellar installment in the marvelous Akashic Noir series of anthologies that take readers around the world, the noir world. This time we are visiting sunny, sun-soaked, surfer-town Santa Cruz with the vibrant Susie Bright, the sex-positive feminist author and activist. It’s a generous anthology with twenty stories in four sections.
This book is full of wonderful short stories including “Monarchs and Maidens”, an eerie ghost story of sorts with butterflies and annoying child that I loved. There’s plenty of murders, “Buck Low” is chilling. “Mischa and the Seal” is a strange and wonderful fairy tale. “Whatever Happened to Skinny Jane” will leave you wondering who killed whom. “Treasure Island” is a brilliant sendup of NextDoor and particularly, those Nextdoor members who post when a car has circled the block twice or whenever a person of a darker complexion walk on the streets that belong to us all. Like many great stories, it leaves us wondering.
I loved Santa Cruz Noir. Susie Bright has a brilliant sense of humor and it shows in her story selection. She is also a feminist and that shows in her story selection, too, with many stories focusing on relationships. There are stories of drug dealers, immigrants, surfers, and those on the downside of life. In these stories, you will find struggle and cruelty, madness and kindness, and everything human. I recommend it highly.
I received an e-book of Santa Cruz Noir from the publisher through Edelweiss.