Edited by Janine Armin and Nathaniel G. Moore
Akashic, the indie press to thank for Hairstyles of the Damned (Joe Meno, 2004), Of Grunge and Government (Krist Novoselic, 2004), Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary (Lydia Lunch, 2007 edition), and The Swing Voter of Staten Island (Arthur Nersesian, 2007), brings its Noir series north of the border with Toronto Noir.
These are intrinsically Canadian stories and I found myself lost more than a few times in unknown cities, on unfamiliar streets, but the characters — sick bastards, perverts, actors, and fornicators — are easy to follow and even identify with.
Like your subversion black and twisted? Yeah, me, too. Stories that get down and dirty: the mad-science of Ibi Kaslik’s “Lab Rats”; “Numbskulls,” George Elliott Clark’s batshit story of the most fucked up guys you’d never want to meet in a morgue basement; Michael Redhill’s not quite so shady, but definitely shifty “A Bout of Regret”; and my favorite, Kim Moritsugu’s “A Taste of Honey,” which has a bit of a hidden-evil Jawbreaker flavor to it. Delicious.
Sure, you might take a pass on some selections that are just not as scintillating as others (“The King of Charles Street West” is downright dumb, with its pathetic twit of a female protagonist, though at least Gail Bowen made a sweet reference to Barenaked Ladies), but Toronto Noir delivers a plentiful ration of sludge to satisfy your black tooth.