Hong Kong Noir...will surely raise the hackles of genre purists much as Hong Kong movies of the 1980s and ’90s initially did with filmgoers abroad ... The bones of this collection range from sturdy to creaking, but the best of its stories have the qualities of Hong Kong’s best films: first, exotic settings that shape and sometimes define the narrative, and second, an ongoing search for territorial identity compounded by its looming loss. On nearly every page is an angst-ridden concern for the future of Hong Kong not told with such focus since the city’s pre-handover cinema ... Hong Kong’s sparks come whenever two or more of its elements rub together. The stories here follow suit, whether in terms of culture...or genre ... Whether or not this is truly a noir volume, as far as the city itself is concerned, this collection represents Hong Kong to its very core.
Ng and Blumberg-Kason defy the fates by presenting a collection of 14 stories—by Chinese tradition, an ominous number—illustrating their city’s dark side. Very few of these stories document actual crimes ... Sadness and desperation, on the other hand, are in ready supply ... Ng and Blumberg-Kason’s Hong Kong is a city on the brink, haunted by its past but facing an uncertain future. Readers can feel lucky to have such a collection.
As Ng and Blumberg-Kason note in their introduction to this so-so addition to Akashic’s noir series, the number 14 is 'about as bad as it gets in Hong Kong.' ... Readers will get a fair picture of Hong Kong’s culture and history, though many will wish the volume focused more on crime and less on the otherworldly.