Palm Springs Noir is the most recent of the Akashic Noir series. Set in the legendary resort city about a hundred miles from Los Angeles. In any resort area, there is always an innate tension between those who visit and those who live there. Usually, the visitors have conspicuous wealth while the townspeople are often living hardscrabble lives in low-paying service jobs that cater to the wealthy who make their homes unaffordable. Palm Springs is no different and that tension infuses several of the short stories in this fabulous new issue in the series.
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, who edited Palm Springs Noir contributed one of her own stories, a diabolical case of sibling rivalry and the attentions of one of those service workers, the one who cleans the pool. She also wrote one of the shortest introductions ever and I am so grateful. She manages to define noir and how it has changed over time as well as give us a capsule history of Palm Springs and its society all in five pages. Well done!
There are fourteen stories and not a stinker among them. I thought “The Salt Calls You Back” to be particularly chilling. “The Expendables” is a perfect fit for our Qonspiracist era despite being set in 1981. “VIP Check-In” is another perfect little story .
Palm Springs Noir is an outstanding collection of noir short stories. I cannot tell you how much I love it when editors focus their innovations on finding more diverse voices and characters rather than trying to redefine noir. I love it when editors show they understand the noir aesthetic is already deep and wide and does not need to be elevated. This is an excellent collection and I came away feeling like I understood Palm Springs better than I could if there were a “Real Housewives of Palm Springs” series.
I received a copy of Palm Springs Noir from the publisher through LibraryThing.