Montana noir

Book - 2017

Grady and Graff, both Montana natives, masterfully curate this collection of hard-edged Western tales.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 813.0872/Montana Checked In
Mystery fiction
Noir fiction
Short stories
Western fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Brooklyn, New York : Akashic Books [2017]
Other Authors
James Grady, 1949- (editor of compilation), Keir Graff, 1969-
Physical Description
277 pages : map ; 21 cm
  • Part 1: Copper power. Red, white, and blue / David Abrams
  • Constellations / Caroline Patterson
  • Ace in the hole / Eric Heidle
  • Part II: The hi-line. Fireweed / Janet Skesien Charles
  • Dark monument / Sidner Larson
  • All the damn stars in the sky / Yvonne Seng
  • The road you take / James Grady
  • Part III: Custer country. The dive / Jamie Ford
  • Bad blood / Carrie La Seur
  • Oasis / Walter Kirn
  • Motherlode / Thomas McGuane
  • Part IV: Rivers run. Trailer trash / Gwen Florio
  • Custer's last stand / Debra Magpie Earling
  • Red skies of Montana / Keir Graff.
Review by Booklist Review

Marlowe was dead and that was fine by me. Now that is a terrific first line for the first story in a noir anthology. What follows in David Abrams' Red, White, and Butte is pretty terrific, too, and it demonstrates why Montana Noir is one of the high points in Akashic's long-running (nearly 85 entries) and justly celebrated series. It's not as easy as it sounds to organize a crime anthology around a place because not every story set in a place truly uses that place to support its mood or theme. Editors Grady and Graff's selections, however, are all sharply attuned to their settings and to the ways those varying landscapes reflect the darkness within the people who walk the streets or drive the country roads. The collection is effectively organized by region, circling the state and identifying the specific town where the stories take place. Contributors include the editors, both Montana natives, as well as Thomas McGuane, Walter Kirn, and Debra Magpie Earling.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Thirteen original stories plus a reprint by Thomas McGuane ("Motherlode") cover the Big Sky State in this thoroughly entertaining Akashic anthology, from desperate writing students in Missoula (Gwen Florio's "Trailer Trash") to a van of itinerant strippers working the Hi-Line paralleling the Canadian border (Grady's "The Road You Take"). Other stories touch on the history of the Gros Ventre tribe and the Flathead Nation (Debra Magpie Earling's "Custer's Last Stand" and Sidner Larson's "Dark Monument"). In Keir Graff's timely "Red Skies of Montana," an immigrant from Mumbai is babysitting the site of a ski lodge when arsonists arrive to burn it to the ground. Most of the tales have stronger starts than finishes, and the appearance of a Private Chandler Marlowe (from the Iraq conflict) in David Abrams's "Red, White, and Butte" is cute enough to be distracting. Yvonne Seng's "All the Damn Stars in the Sky" probably isn't true noir, but provides the most fun, with ex-circus performers, abandoned missile silos, and a chopper from Fox News in the mix. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

This latest addition to the publisher's "Noir" series features 14 stories set in Big Sky Country. Much like a travel map that divides Montana into regions, this volume is partitioned into four sections that reflect the geography of the state: Copper Power, The Hi-Line, Custer Country, and Rivers Run. The tales are typical of the noir genre with crime, guilt, punishment, abandonment, and the social and economic pressures that plague the modern-day characters portrayed in these pages. Many of the book's contributors, such as coeditors Grady and Graff, were born in Montana, and others live in the state; all the authors have strong emotional ties to the area's particular lifestyle. The editors tout this book as the first-ever anthology of Montana-set noir short stories. Verdict Fans of the genre and regional fiction will be intrigued.-Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Coll., Mt. Carmel © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Long shadows over Big Sky country.What could be a more unlikely breeding ground for noir fiction than Montana, whose wide-open landscapes seem the polar opposite of the mean streets of Los Angeles? Yet certain noir standbys prove both malleable and fertile in these 14 new stories. Among the most successful: Thomas McGuane's cattle inseminator seizes a criminal opportunity his carjacker offers him. Carrie La Seur's rising attorney is offered a chance to make her mark by uncovering some long-lost land applications by homesteading families. Walter Kirn's brutish hero takes condign revenge when his virtual romance goes awry. Gwen Florio traces the intertwined yet hopelessly divergent paths of two old friends when one is accepted and the other rejected by the University of Montana's graduate writing program. In the shortest tale, and perhaps the best, Jamie Ford's female boxer returns home years after she ran away only to discover that her dying mother has left the family spread to the stepfather who first drove off the heroine. The co-editors' two contributions follow an ill-assorted road crew to an inevitable payoff and pit a ski resort manager imported from Mumbai against a pair of firebugs, and David Abrams, Sidner Larson, Yvonne Seng, and Eric Heidle show that some noir setups, like the unwilling return of a native son or daughter who never quite seemed at home in the first place, are likely to flourish wherever they're planted. Caroline Patterson, Janet Skeslien Charles, and Debra Magpie Earling round out a surprisingly distinct and distinctive set of evocations of different Montana localities that make this collection, like a successful package tour, greater than the sum of its parts. If Montana has a dark side, is anywhere safe from noir? Not Accra, Buenos Aires, or Santa Cruz, among the 17 spots next up for this prodigious series. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.