Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow (Short Stories): Review

Do you like those old movies where the down on his luck detective meets the dame with the legs? Do you also like ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night? Yes? Then Supernatural Noir is the collection for you.

The collection is a variety of supernatural stories with a dark twist. The characters in some of the stories aren't the kind of people you'd usually root for- gangsters, drug dealers- people on the seedy side of life. Some are just people who've hit rock bottom. Obviously the stories are quite dark.

Not all the stories are set in the past, in a smoky office with a rotary phone. Some are set in modern times, in strip clubs, on the road, in hotels. There is quite a variety and like all short story collections if you don't like one there's always the next one.

And...I liked some stories but not others. Some were uncomfortable to read. Some were quite literary. Some were even a bit funny. My favorite actually did have a down on his luck detective and a dame with legs. In Dead Sister by Joe R Lansdale, a detective helps a woman track down a ghoul who has been taking advantage of her dead sister. I liked this one mostly because of the voice. The detective was a Texan and I could practically hear the twang as he narrated the story. He also had a dark sense of humour which balanced out the horror aspect.

Besides the ghoul in Dead Sister, you'll find homicidal garden gnomes, a haunted carousel, fairies, shape shifters, witches and wizards in the collection. A real grab bag of the supernatural world. It was interesting to see each author's take on supernatural noir.

By the time I finished Supernatural Noir, I had discovered a couple of new-to-me authors who I'd like to read more from. Be warned: this is an adult collection (not for the kiddies), lots of sex and violence are between the covers. So if that bothers you, you might want to steer clear of this one.





  1. I finished this book a couple of days ago but am a little behind on the review. I have to admit, there were a couple of stories that actually SPOOKED me. Like, I read them before bed and they haunted my dreams. Like you, I especially liked Dead Sister. And overall, I think, there were three out of the twenty that I didn't like. Not too bad for a collection.

  2. I love quite a lot of anthologies Ellen Datlow has edited. Will definitely look out for this and maybe save for RIP challenge later in the year.

  3. I love anthologies, because you are bond to find atleast one story you like and you can discover new authors to follow and new work to read.

  4. Ooh! a new collection by her! I have Inferno and Darkness sitting here on my TBR shelf, and am longing to pick up Haunted Legends by her, as well as her year's best horror vol 1 & this is going on my list too! thanks for the good review, Chris.


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