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Book Reviews
'Miami Noir: The Classics'
By: Les Standiford (Editor) - Akashic Books, $16.95

Description: 'Miami Noir: The Classics' is the long-awaited sequel to 2006’s best-selling 'Miami Noir' and highlights an outstanding tradition of legendary writers exploring the dark side of paradise.

Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each volume comprises stories set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Verdict: Highly anticipated and now readily available, the 19 selections in this reprint anthology in Akashic’s noir series enshrine the dark side of Miami oh-so perfectly!

The earliest entries, from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas (“Pineland”), Zora Neal Hurston (an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God), and Damon Runyon (“A Job for the Macarone”), evoke a backwater on the verge of becoming a metropolis.

These early stories command the most interest as they reach into history and pull out long-lost regional speech patterns.

Late 20th-century classics are well represented, including “Saturday Night Special,” a spare, tough piece from Miami crime-writing godfather Charles Willeford, and the wry “The Odyssey” from Elmore Leonard, whose ear for a hustler’s speech is as sharply tuned in South Florida as it is in Detroit.

David Beaty’s chilling “Ghost” shows how dreamers, scammers, and violent criminals exist side-by-side in Miami, separated by the thinnest of lines.

Carolina Garcia Aguilera’s observant “Washington Avenue,” a detective procedural, tracks the city’s evolution as it becomes an international tourist destination and the impact of that change on the locals.

In short, all these stories embedded within this historical survey, make a fine case for Miami as a timeless setting for great crime fiction.

Table of Contents:
Part I: Original Gangsters
“Pineland” by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Goulds, 1925)
“Luck” by Lester Dent (City Yacht Basin, 1936)
“Their Eyes Were Watching God (excerpt)” by Zora Neale Hurston (Belle Glade, 1937)
“A Job for the Macarone” by Damon Runyon (Miami River, 1937)
“A Taste for Cognac” by Brett Halliday (Homestead, 1944)

Part II: Perilous Streets, Lethal Causeways
“Street 8 (excerpt)” by Douglas Fairbairn (Little Havana, 1977)
“Saturday Night Special” by Charles Willeford (Kendall, 1988)
“The Works” by T.J. MacGregor (South Beach, 1990)
“Small Times” by James Carlos Blake (Flagler Dog Track, 1991)
“The Odyssey” by Elmore Leonard (Miami Beach, 1995)

Part III: Miami’s Vices
“To Go” by Lynne Barrett (Hialeah, 1996)
“Lemonade and Paris Buns” by John Dufresne (Aventura, 1996)
“The Red Shoes” by Edna Buchanan (Downtown, 1999)
“Tahiti Junk Shop” by Les Standiford (North Miami Beach, 1999)
“Ghosts” by David Beaty (South Miami, 1999)

Part IV: Gators & Ghouls
“Gators” by Vicki Hendricks (The Everglades, 2000)
“Washington Avenue” by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera (Washington Avenue, 2001)
“Superheroes” by Preston L. Allen (Opa-Locka, 2006)
“The Monkey’s Fist” by Christine Kling (Straits of Florida, 2006)

Les Standiford, who edited 2006's Miami Noir, is the author of twenty-four books and novels, including the award-winning John Deal thriller series.

His nonfiction publications include Last Train to Paradise, the One Read choice of a dozen public library systems, and Bringing Adam Home, a Wall Street Journal number one true crime best seller.

He is director of the MFA program in creative writing at Florida International University in Miami.

Official Book Purchase Link