Edited by Gary Phillips
ISBN 978-1-84467-161-8, released April 7, 2008
Reviewed by Jen Cardwell for Reader Views 05/08
The Dark Side of Politics
“Politics is a blood sport the public follows 24/7,” Gary Phillips states in the introduction of “Politics Noir”. During an election season such as this one, politics can be dirty, disgusting, and frustrating. While he could not possibly have predicted the drawn-out nature of the Democratic Primary, Phillips picked a perfect year to solicit stories about the darker side of politics.
There are a wide variety of stories contained in “Politics Noir”. In his introduction, Phillips maintains that he gave the other authors no direction other than the title of the book, and they all knew where to go from there. The stories are primarily focuses in the United States, or around U.S. politics, with a single story representing ‘politics noir’ in Ireland. The stories run the gamut from presidential scandals and presidential races to small town elections and the politics of race on a very local level.
My appreciation of the stories varied somewhat, more due to my interest in some themes over others than to any deficiency in the writing. Perhaps my favorite story was “Collateral Damage” by Robert Greer. This was the story of two presidential candidates, locked in a race for their party’s nomination. The candidates are Hannah Rossmore Stenton, wife of a deceased Senator who had been corrupt and womanizing in life, and Broderick Losomma, son of a white father and black mother. Clearly, this is a blatant retooling of the 2008 Democratic nomination race, which I found interesting since the current race is still going on, as of the writing of this review. I also quite enjoyed the story-telling style of Michele Martinez in her story, “Ambition.”
By and large, the stories in “Politics Noir,” in addition to simply chronicling corruption and vice, do so in a traditional ‘noir’ style, reminiscent of early 20th century crime fiction. Like so much pulp literature, there was a good deal of sex, violence, and foul language of which readers should be aware before picking this book up. Overall, I think those that will be most interested in this book are those who are fans of noir literature and those who are very interested in, but cynical about, politics.
Buy This Book on Amazon – Politics Noir: Dark Tales from the Corridors of Power