Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

The short story collection Seattle Noir begins and ends with the same crime: poisoning.

The crimes and stories here cut through numerous socioeconomic classes and eras, but people being dragged, willingly or not, into crime is a running theme through this compelling book. Each writer has a particular neighborhood their stories are set in but the Seattle locale is one of the few common threads that appears in each story.

The collection was published by Akashic Books, who have made Noir a series, with editions also published of Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Washington DC.

Although the stories are of varying theme, era, crime and quality, it still feels remarkably consistent, with editor Curt Colbert choosing a great collection of stories that are sometimes funny or tense, but flow into one another.

At Bumbershoot Colbert and three other writers with stories in Seattle Noir read from the book. The other authors are Bharti Kirchner, Skye Moody and Simon Wood.

Colbert’s story is one of the better ones and it takes place in my neighborhood (Belltown). It involves a married couple who each hire the same private investigator. It probably fits the noir ideal with hard-drinking PIs, gorgeous women, betrayal and murder.

Still, I was especially pleased when I saw that Simon Wood would be reading at Bumbershoot, because his story is my favorite in the book; it’s called “The Taskmasters”. It’s a story of a low-life thug being drawn into a shadowy organization and given a shot at redemption. There are no real winners or losers here regardless of how righteous they tell you your assignment is. It’s the most tense story here and the fastest read. It’s also very well-written, so I was anxious to read it again.

I also enjoyed Skye Moody’s story about a dwarf cast in a production with the very real problem of growing. It was one where it takes the most time to build, but the payoff was worth it in the end. Bharti Kirchner’s is one of the longer short stories but is a good read about a socialite who goes missing.

Seattle Noir is at Bumbershoot on Monday, September 7 at 5:45pm at the Literary Arts Stage.