(Reviewed by JD Jung)
“He played his trumpet for her, blew it soft so it rolled around her curves, pushed all that suede the wrong way and then smoothed it over again. And she sang for him, hummed at first before it became words so he could get a foothold and climb aboard.” – from “The Panama Limited” by Richard J. Alley
That entry is only one of the fifteen riveting short stories taking place in Memphis Noir, where jealousy, lust and murder are common themes.
Maybe my favorite story is Jamey Hatley’s erotic “Through Valleys” where a kinda-librarian surprises us all; or maybe it’s “Heartbreak at Graceland” centering around a woman’s obsession with Elvis’ place of death—his bathroom.
Then there’s the graphic novella “The Never, Never is Forever”. How about “Nightflight” where the sun ceases to shine in Memphis? In “Mother”, we sympathize with a young woman who has felt neglected by her own privileged mother. But is that the whole story?
Oh, I don’t know my favorite. Let’s just say that there’s not a bad one in the bunch. The authors never compromise character for plot and that is unusual for this abbreviated style of fiction.
From life among the underbelly of society to the wealthy country club set, most stories are contemporary but some historical like another favorite, “Green-Eye’d Blues”, which takes place in the 1940’s with Cab Calloway belting out the story of Minnie the Moocher.
Memphis Noir is the first book that I have read in the Akashic Noir series. Well I’ve never been to [Memphis], but I kinda [really] like the music...is the main reason I chose this latest installment. However I’m looking forward to reading others in the series, especially those taking place in cities that I find alluring and intriguing.