book reviews by Althea

San Juan Noir – Mayra Santos-Febres, ed.

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San Juan Noir
San Juan Noir by Mayra Santos-Febres

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I saved this one up to read in San Juan…
Not all the stories are really what one would strictly categorize as ‘noir’ but the common thread linking these pieces that the editors seemed to be looking for is murder. Therefore, the glimpse this anthology by all-Puerto Rican authors as a whole gives into Puerto Rican culture is by necessity not quite as broad as it could be, and focuses on the negatives. But I enjoy darker fiction, so….

Janette Becerra – Death on the Scaffold.
When a person has fallen into a reclusive lifestyle, even small encounters can gain a magnitude of importance. This high-rise condo dweller encounters a window washer… and it will lead to finally admitting a terrible truth.

Manolo Núñez Negrón – Fish Food.
Memoir-ish. Two boys, best friends, take different paths in life.

Tere Dávila – The Infamy of Chin Fernandez
The ‘Barrio Obrero ‘ panty snatcher has finally been caught!

Ana María Fuster Lavín – Two Deaths for Angela
Woman accidentally pushes date into traffic and things get weirdly surreal.

Mayra Santos-Febres – Matchmaking
A hit man doubts whether he can go through with his latest assignment: a beautiful cartel boss. Turns out, that’s not what he needs to worry about.

Luis Negrón – Dog Killer
When a gang member is ordered to kill his partner’s brother, he has to obey orders. But the dog is a complication.

Wilfredo J. Burgos Matos – St. Michael’s Sword
A tough guy prostitute tries to find out who shot him… and also to find his missing lover.

Manuel A. Meléndez – A Killer Among Us
Very authentic-feeling, almost like a memoir. A boy gets his revenge on his abusive father.

Alejandro Álvarez Nieves – Sweet Feline
All the hotel workers want to wait on a guest who’s throwing around money like there’s no tomorrow. But one will get screwed over.

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro – Things Told While Falling
A man glimpses a crime scene from a landing plane and is bizarrely drawn to investigate the murder, inappropriately inserting himself into the situation.

Ernesto Quiñonez – Turistas
After his mother’s death, a man goes to San Juan seeking the father he never knew.

José Rabelo – Y
High school teacher goes looking for his missing star student… with submerged and conflicting motivations.

Edmaris Carazo – Inside and Outside
Incomplete feeling. A woman accompanies her boyfriend as they attend a party, he completes a drug deal… and then there’s an accident.

Charlie Vázquez – Death Angel of Santurce
A prostitute is stood up by her ‘date’…. what happens after that doesn’t end well, but it’s left up to the reader to decide what really did happen. A touch of the supernatural? You can decide. This was my favorite entry.

Many thanks to Library Thing and Akashic Books for the copy of this books. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

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