Orange County Noir

What secrets do Orange County’s denizens have to tell…or hide?

“There’s a dark side to most places,” even California’s sunny Orange County, Edgar-winner T. Jefferson Parker observes in his forward to this outstanding entry in Akashic’s noir series, one of the stronger of the all-original anthologies. The crisp, often seductive prose of the 14 contributors is a tribute to the critical judgment of the editor, whose own assured story, “The Performer”, involves a heist at a dog food factory that ends with more than one surprise.

Robert Ward, a writer-producer for such TV shows as Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice, offers some wicked twists in “Black Star Canyon”, in which a fictional alter ego gets bounced from the program he created. Gordon McAlpine uses his narrator’s job as a security officer at Disneyland in “The Happiest Place” as an effective catalyst for a classic noir plot of betrayal. Other notable takes include Susan Straight’s “Bee Canyon” and Dick Lochte’s “The Movie Game”.

— Publishers Weekly starred review