When terrible things threaten in some ominous neighborhoods, in some tough cities, a reader of a story set in those locales might be forgiven for expecting the worst; but when calamity takes place against the backdrop of paradise, as we have here in Miami, the impact is all the greater.
The 19 stories featured in the superb Miami Noir: The Classics work as both solid entertainment and a thoughtful history about life, crime, and punishment in South Florida. Historian, author, and editor Les Standiford has assembled an intriguing collection of short stories — each of them a reprint — divided into four sections and arranged them by decades to chronicle the region’s development over 90 years. Each story illuminates South Florida’s landscape of immigration, ecology, grifters, betrayal, and fresh starts. Some characters manufacture their own peril while others are just trying to survive.
... this wide-ranging selection includes mystery, revenge, gumshoes, and gunplay. Certain stories experiment with form, others with plot ... The early stories are arguably the most exciting, regionally and artistically ... By structuring the book according to time and place, Standiford invites readers to track the setting as it shifts story-by-story ... Miami Noir: The Classics dares readers to explore a geography that may be both unfamiliar and unsettling. If the prose is not always pristine, the setting nonetheless proves as tangible as if you were there, muggy air rising off every page.