Some book covers are layered and highly detailed. This one is very simple but that is the beauty of it. Bold and clear with just a hint of weirdness. It sets up the rest of the book perfectly. The first part of this book is the introduction by the editor. K.A.Laity is a really interesting lady with a wide range of interesting credits. It doesn’t surprise me that she was involved in this project. The first part of the introduction was really interesting and discussed the sub-genre of weird noir and even linked to a great flow chart by Stephen Graham Jones. Using the chart gives you a nice feel for what is and isn’t weird noir. Unfortunately for me the second half of the introduction is taken up with something that I don’t find particularly useful. It is a quick summary of each individual story. I know it sounds petty but I don’t like to read about a story just before I plan to read it. Other people of course will no doubt find this part really interesting.
The first couple of stories took me a lot longer to read than I expected. I found myself reading a page and thinking WTF? It was not a negative reflection on the writing but rather a sign of just how different parts of these stories were from my usual reading habits. Once my brain got the hang of it these stories started to fly by. There are some really interesting stories in this book and more importantly for me there are none that I didn’t enjoy. Every story is weird, but more than that they are all weird in different ways. Some of them read almost like a traditional noir stories but with a single detail that jars against what my brain expected. Others were just plain weird in ways that I find hard to describe. Be it Kraken or brain worm poo this book has plenty of stories that will surprise as well and entertain. My personal favourite was the final story by W.P. Johnson and I went straight back and read it again. It was that enjoyable.
I do like extras in my book and this one finishes with a single paragraph biography on each author. It is interesting and gives the reader an opportunity to find more about the authors they enjoyed.
This anthology is well worth a read and I’m considering a paper copy just because I love the cover.