Cathi Unsworth: London Noir

And here s another installment of Akashic s NOIR city anthology series knocked down This time out it s ood old London spent about 2 days there eons ago but who doesn t know London eh I skipped the introduction this time around after it started City Girl in Training getting thick into the symbolic languageNo out and out stinkers this time but as usual the definition of noir is vague enough to encompass everything here On the weak side we have Backgammon by Desmond Barry to unfortunately open the book with a screenwriter accidentally meeting up with an old friend who disappeared into the drug dealing life 25 years ago Essentially as it s all well done mind you authentic type character history and city setting retroactive past and passive memories the actual lack of anything resembling a plot believe me nowhere fast is an understatement makes it all seem like weak Lit or a bit of a wasted opportunity Sylvie Simmons s I Hate His Fingers has a bitter divorced semi ventrilouistic you d have to read it psychiatrist treating and becoming enad of a beautiful young woman who thinksher bass playing husband is up to noood Which the psychiatrist sets out to prove This story kind of promised than it delivered what with the oddly lurid set up and uick turn into sub Tales From The Crypt body horror Again on the not really a story tip we have a detailed character sketch of an unbalanced stalker moving through a public park in Park Rites And Dan Bennett certainly succeeds in making you feel something is Mystery at Kittiwake Bay going to happen but sadly it will occur after the story endsOn theood but a little flawed docket are roughly half the stories here Ken Bruen s breezy Loaded features a sharp small time operator who keeps under the radar until he Dangerous Waters (Cold Case Files gets a crush on an unlikelyirl A solid voice moves this crime story along at a fast clip Trouble Is A Lonely Town by the editor has a sneak thief turned corrupt PI fall under the The Husband (Smytheshire, Massachusetts, glamor of a RussianSomali beauty with whom to his regret he plans a snatch andrab sorry to say the noir cliche of the femme fatale is overplayed a bit in this collection Familiar but solid London during the punk rock explosion is the setting for Max D charn s Chelsea Three Scotland Yard Nil and while this provides for some invigorating scene setting and historical moment detail to the story of random murder and film journalism the plot itself struck me as a bit thin In a similar vein Sic Transit Gloria Mundi set in the 80s follows a rising young band from the Hinterlands as they hit the big time and the big city only to discover the eternal truth of the cost behind young dreams and the tawdry underbelly Not bad work by Joolz Denby but again didn t function as a plotted story so much as the sketch of an idea delivered as a monologue Jerry Sykes Penguin Island meanwhile is the sad tale of an aging mild mannered pensioner who befriends a teenager only to find his apartment taken over by a young thugs More on the Lit side of things as the ending never specifically resolves but a ood read Meanwhile the ritualistic mutilation deaths of children and their connection to Yoruban magical beliefs are investigated by a detective who s highly susceptible to suggestion in She ll Ride A White Horse by Mark Pilkington This was okay but it struck me that it needed to be a little longer and deeper in character work to pull off the ending Joe McNally s South is an odd one in execution following a young author and self described psychogeographer into the London Underground on a mission of inspiration Not bad but the story doesn t end so much as stop again that Lit conceit and the tone is weird overly self conscious to the point of deprecating yet not afraid to sling pretension around Who Do You Know In Heaven is a stream of consciousness narrative from an IRA man sent to London to kill a politician but who ets caught up in his troubled memories and drugs. Brand new stories by Desmond Barry Ken Bruen Stewart Home Barry Adamson Michael Ward Sylvie Simmons Daniel Bennett Cathi Unsworth Max Décharné Martyn Waites Joolz Denby John Williams Jerry Sykes Mark Pilkington Joe McNally Patrick McCabe and Ken HollingsCathi Unsworth moved to Ladbroke Grove in 1987 and has stayed there ever since She began a caree.

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Ded Ken Bruen These stories are An Italian Education gritty violent and thoroughly noir But these stories are completely modern as well No double crossin dames whoet taken down with a harsh word or a look from Mike Hammer The characters in these stories are 20th century crooks and punks taking advantage of every opportunity to Protecting the Colton Bride Coltons Cowboy Code get theirs Aood read but keep the lights on and the doors locked Whew Scary Stories in this series are supposed to evoke the spirit of a city while showing its Look-Alike Lawman (Texas Twins, gritty noir underbelly Almost without exception the stories in this particular collection make London sound like Hell s Kitchen in NYC in the days when the Westies were running wild and cutting off people s fingers for the fun of it It s a really violent sadistic read If Iot paid a uarter for everytime I read the words fk and ct i could take myself out for a nice dinner One reason you may be interested in London Noir is because I have a piece entitled Rigor Mortis in here but there s far to the book than just that Sylvie Simmons s contribution will instantly appeal to those who like my novels because it features a ventrilouist dummy that seems to come to life a trope I used in 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess and feeders who Daddy Wanted get off sexually on fattening up women a kink also addressed in my novel Come Before Christ Murder Love This Simmon s piece is probably my favourite among the many extremely strong contributions to the anthology aside from my own of course There s some punk riffsoing off here try Max Decharne and John Williams both friends of mine but I m not biased I know a Forbidden Stranger good story when I read it regardless of who wrote it Desmond Barry and Ken Bruen have the drugs angle covered Michael Ward Jerry Sykes and editor Cathi Unsworth do the sex industry from various angles Barry Adamsonoes for priests Dan Bennett sexual abuseMark Pilkington and Joe McNally provide the most obviously occult and psychogeographical contributitions Patrick McCabe and Ken Hollings both do paranoid terrorists extremely well And that covers pretty much all the book and certainly everything worth mentioning except for the Martyn Wates story Love This last features a neo Nazi homophobe who discovers he s Snowy River Man gay in this instance in the arms of a black drug dealer Tales featuring this twist have been popular in the UK since at least the time neo Nazi pin up boy Nicky Crane came out asay and renounced fascism A song from the mid eighties by The Apostles called Fucking ueer is the earliest use of this particular trope I can think of right now But Wates adds a twist by taking inspiration from current British headlines All the stories in this book as well as all others in the Noir series published by Akashic Books have different writers contribute new and original stories that deal with different parts of a city And it isn t chance that leads Wates to set his tale in Dagenham the neighbourhood abutting Barking These stories contain a side of London that the Olympics don t want you to see This is the third book I ve read in the series and the joy is discovering the demographics of each neighborhood while still being entertained by the story Being an American I had to research many of the terms because it s British slang That slowed me down and became a distraction in some of the stories A few of them actually ventured into sci fi I d say which really isn t my Night Moves (Harlequin Blaze genre But I did enjoy it as I m enjoying the whole series I am hooked on this series by Akashic Press These stories are edited well and focus alot on the London of Camden Town the punk movement and the darkrimy bedsits and clubs where petty crime drugs disappointment and the disaffected youth collide Recognized several of the writers and am exploring some of the others there are some Les brumes d'avalon : roman great stories in here and some lessreat but a really Malakai (Wicked Games, good collection and a chance to sample some writers I meant toe. E Simmons Park rites Dan Bennett Trouble is an lonesome town Cathi Unsworth Chelsea three Scotland Yard nil Max Décharné Love Martin Waites Sic Transit Gloria Mundi Joolz Denby New rose John Williams Penguin Island Jerry Sykes She'll ride a white horse Mark Pilkington South Joe McNally Who do you know in heaven Patrick McCabe Betamax Ken Hollings.

Or mental illness that cloud the whole endeavorA short clutch of solidly Good stories are also to be found A talented pickpocket and part time magician stumbles into the perfect blackmail opportunity in Michael Ward s I Fought The Lawyer unfortunately he s over his head in dealing with the powerful In New Rose by John Williams a minicab driver is offered a fat paycheck to track down his dissolute alcoholic bandmate for a reunion The Carpenters Wife and Heart of Stone gig but finding the man forces him to face his own personal failure and success This is aood example of a perfectly fine story that doesn t really fit in this collection as it s not really noir and even any crime is incidental Betamax offers another oddity this anthology series often dabbles in as it s a hybrid Celtic Fire (Rogue Angel, genre story here a crimesf piece a mashup of JG Ballard and someestures towards William S Burroughs where an off world assassin is sent into the cold mechanical world of high finance London in order to settle an intergalactic debt Neat work by Ken HollingsThree stories here were really top notch Rigor Mortis by Stewart Home is a dark monologue a textbook example of how corrupt authority figures here a police coroner self justify their way through life creating a hideous class system where the the death of a junkie prostitute is nothing worth The Family Plan getting bothered over Similarly Martyn Waites Love is the familiar tale sadly coming soon to your neighborhood any moment now of how under employed disaffected youth are turned to Nazi sympathies and racist hatred by conniving local politicians out to further their own ends Self hatred is only the cherry on the top I considered possibly picking this up for the PSEUDOPOD fiction podcast but eventually decided thatrim sad and prescient as it is I couldn t really justify it as horrorFinally I ve long been a fan of musician Barry Adamson ex member of Nick Cave s BAD SEEDS whose noir tinged jazz and dark rock think of a black English Tom Waits has informed many albums for example listen to his poetic character sketch of a schizophrenic A Family Practice gangster Split or the brutal narrative anthem of identity Still I Rise So I was very happy to find here a fiction piece by him Maida Hell which offers a panoramic slice of sualor while it tracks a figure making his way through the dregs of the big city rubbing elbows with the filth I ve long planned a Noir Showcase for the PSEUDOPOD podcast and this tale may just be the final pieceeven better if I couldet him to record it himself We shall see I ll return with a link if things work out There s something to the idea that certain disctinctive A Doctor in Her Stocking (From Here to Maternity genres can only legitimately be created in their own era Hard bop Jazz from the 40s50s for example really doesn t sound right when it comes from earnest practitioners in the eighties or for that matter in 2010 Nothing against playing the standards of other eras in whatever medium otherwise how could we hear Mozart witness Shakespeare But writing a new enlightenment era Concerto di Camera in this millenium say is of a student s excerci London Noir Capital Crime Fiction bejesusMon June 012009 070847AMEdited by Cathi UnsworthThis collection of short stories is edited by Cathi Unsworth and features many writers that I either already read or who I have seen live and bought records by which made this a pretty sure betThe fact that many of the stories feel like opening chapters or in some cases middle chapters of longer works is to be expected but worthetting for Rigor Mortis by Stuart Home and Maida Hill by Barry Adamson alone the latter of which is a ood description of an area not Really patchy selection and two or three are not crime stories at all Two or three I found boring uite liked Penguin Island Jerry Sykes Park Rites Daniel Bennett I Fought the Lawyer Michael Ward Barry Adamson s impressionistic Maida Hell Rigor Mortis Stewart Home was believably bleak and Loa. R in rock writing with Sounds and Melody Maker before co editing the arts journal Purr and then Bizarre magazine Her first novel The Not Knowing was published by Serpent’s Tail in August 2005CONTENTS Backgammon Desmond Barry Loaded Ken Bruen Rigor Mortis Stewart Home Maida Hell Barry Adamson I fought the lawyer Michael Ward I hate his fingers Sylvi.

Cathi Unsworth Ü 2 Characters

Cathi Unsworth moved to Ladbroke Grove in 1987 and has stayed there ever since She began a career in rock writing with Sounds and Melody Maker before co editing the arts journal Purr and then Bizarre magazine Her first novel The Not Knowing was published by Serpent's Tail in August 2005