2010 Texas Book Festival
Lone Star Noir
'Lone Star Noir'
What makes Texas noir different from any other noir? Is it just that the gumshoes wear cowboy boots? After launching its state-by-state anthology series with Brooklyn Noir in 2004, Akashic Books finally turns its attention to the biggest state in the Lower 48, but all that land just means more places to bury the bodies. As father-son editing partnership Bobby and Johnny Byrd observe in their introduction, this isn't J.R. Ewing's Lone Star State. This is the Texas of chicken shit bingo, Enron scamsters, and a feeling that what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. Breaking the state down by region (Gulf Coast, back roads, and big cities), the collection kicks off with a traditional slice of detective fiction from Lisa Sandlin in "Phelan's First Case." However, for the most part, the book deals with killers and victims, like the violation of childhood in Claudia Smith's disturbing "Catgirl" and the terse, blood-drenched family drama that stabs through James Crumley's "Luck." The Texas mafia and leg-breaking good ol' boys muscle their way in, and so for every deal gone bad, there's a vendetta repaid. In Nacogdoches, the king of East Texas gothic Joe Lansdale unleashes the bounty hunters in "Six-Finger Jack," while Jesse Sublett follows the money trail to Austin, where he finds a Dashiell Hammett-style mix of power and blood under the Capitol dome in "Moral Hazard." So what defines Texas noir? Who knows, but you better pray that blood doesn't stain your belt buckle.
Lone Star NoirWith Bobby Byrd, Sarah Cortez, and Tim Tingle
Saturday, Oct. 16, noon-1pm, Capitol Extension, Rm. E2.014