For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Noir at the Bar ceremony consists of a tribe of crime fiction aficionados, writers and readers alike, gathering together to partake of booze and listen to sensual and sinister original works read aloud by their creators. It is, from all accounts, an exhilarating and surreal experience one is lucky to escape without a trip to the local hoosegow.
Previously reserved only for those fortunate enough to live nearby, or crazy enough to make the pilgrimage, the demented minds behind the St. Louis chapter of Noir at the Bar have come up with a way for everyone to get a taste of the debauchery. Editors Jedidiah Ayres and Scott Phillips present to you, Noir at the Bar, the anthology.
Featuring stories from eighteen top-notch writers currently working in crime fiction, Noir at the Bar is a hide the women and children collection of some of the most creative and deliciously disturbed short fiction ever rounded up in one volume.
As always it’s like Sophie’s Choice picking only a few to highlight, but here ya go…
“Gunpowder & Aluminum Foil” by Matthew McBride is as beautifully “nasty, brutish, and short” as it gets. And with an opening line that certainly starts the collection off with a bang and sets the tone for what’s to come.
“Thin Mints” by Dan O’Shea is one of my favorite short stories of all-time. Three meth heads looking for a quick score set their sites on a Girl Scout cookie sale, only things don’t go quite as planned. And after you’ve read it, do yourself a huge favor and go listen to Dan read it with that silky smooth voice of his that makes women swoon.
“Deviances” by Frank Bill is a stunning tale of revenge and retribution, and is a perfect example of the type of awesomeness contained in his collection Crimes in Southern Indiana.
“Outside Lou’s” by David Cirillo is the standout of the collection for me. Beginning and ending in an alley behind a jazz club, “Outside Lou’s” is a remarkably sublime unspooling of a murder in slow motion. And just what the hell has the world come to when a saxophonist can’t even smoke in a jazz club?
“Vampires are Pussies” by Chris La Tray is what would happen if you put Blade and The Punisher in a blender. The result? US Idol, vampire hunter. Nasty enough to be the basis for a full-length noir outing, over the top enough to want to see it as a graphic novel, one way or another I definitely want more adventures of US Idol and his crew.
The complete lineup includes Matthew McBride, Cameron Ashley, Scott Phillips, Daniel O’Shea, Kyle Minor, Frank Bill, Pinckney Benedict, Jonathan Woods, Derek Nikita, Laura Benedict, Sean Doolittle, Jedidiah Ayres, Richard Thomas, David Cirillo, Anthony Neil Smith, Malachi Stone, and Chris La Tray. The collection also features cover art by Matt Kindt that kicks twenty-seven kinds of ass.
Still not sold? Well all proceeds from sales of Noir at the Bar go to help save independent bookseller Subterranean Books, a St. Louis fixture and longtime supporter of up-and-coming authors. So not only do you get all that noir goodness, you also help a good cause. What are you waiting for?
Noir at the Bar is available exclusively from Subterranean Books (ISBN: 9780982843666).
Co-editor Scott Phillips is the author of five novels, numerous short stories, a number of screenplays, and an upcoming comic book with Roger Petersen. His first novel, The Ice Harvest, was made into a movie starring John Cusack and Connie Nielsen and directed by Harold Ramis. He lived in Paris and LA before moving to St. Louis with his wife and daughter. To learn more about Scott, visit his website.