Palm Springs now joins Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley in California’s Noir Series arena.
"Contrary to popular belief, noir doesn’t require a bleak city street for its setting. Nor water, for that matter. Noir thrives on secrets, lies and lust, all flowing plentifully through the jewel in the Coachella Valley’s fragile crown...For all the playfulness of the genre and the location, the wisecracks and the kidney-shaped pools, there is an unmanageable darkness waiting to seep in, like so much blood in the pool water."
--Los Angeles Times
"Conjure up images of Palm Springs and you’ll probably think of pastel-colored pool floaties, midcentury chic architecture, a gigantic Marilyn Monroe that watches over the city like its guardian angel. But you don’t need to scratch deep to find darkness in the desert--and even Palm Springs, with its endless well of pools, violently colored cocktails, and impossibly green lawns, is no exception."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"An appealing anthology of 14 stories about life and crime in the Mojave Desert's playground to the stars."
"Palm Springs Noir features a collection of short stories set in a cross-section of desert cities and written primarily by authors with Coachella Valley ties."
--Palm Springs Life
"This compilation is a roller coaster ride that's filled with loads of suspense, mystery, and steamy sexiness. Brilliantly conceived, DeMarco-Barrett and the other contributing authors effortlessly transport the reader to the edgy, moody, and sleazier side of one of Southern California's most renowned and iconic locales. A sure thing bestseller and a must-have summer read, Palm Springs Noir unquestionably brings the heat."
--New York Journal of Books
Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book.
Palm Springs Noir features brand-new stories by: T. Jefferson Parker, Janet Fitch, Eric Beetner, Kelly Shire, Tod Goldberg, Michael Craft, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Rob Roberge, J.D. Horn, Eduardo Santiago, Rob Bowman, Chris J. Bahnsen, Ken Layne, and Alex Espinoza.
From the introduction: The best noir writers make us feel the heat of the sun, the touch of a lover. Setting can be gritty but can also be sublime, no longer relegated to urban locales and seedy hotel rooms but also mansions and swimming pools. Hence, Palm Springs, which may seem like an odd setting for a collection of dark short stories--it’s so sunny and bright here. The quality of light is unlike anywhere else, and with an average of three hundred sunny days a year, what could go wrong?...
The stories in this collection come on like the wicked dust storms common to the area. More than half are by writers who live here full-time; all have homes in Southern California. They know this place in ways visitors and outsiders never will. These are not stories you'll read in the glossy coffee-table books that feature Palm Springs's good life. There is indeed a lush life to be found here, but for the characters in these stories, it’s often just out of reach.
PART I: Strangers in the Night
"Sunrise" by Janet Fitch (South Palm Canyon)
"The Guest" by Eric Beetner (Historic Tennis Club)
"A Cold Girl" by Kelly Shire (Cathedral City)
PART II: Little White Lies
"VIP Check-In" by Michael Craft (Little Tuscany)
"The Water Holds You Still" by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett (Twin Palms)
"The Expendables" by Rob Roberge (Wonder Valley)
PART III: Everything Happens to Me
"The Stand-In" by J.D. Horn (Deepwell)
"The Ankle of Anza" by Eduardo Santiago (Anza)
"Everything Drains and Disappears" by Rob Bowman (Bermuda Dunes)
"A Career Spent Disappointing People" by Tod Goldberg (Indio)
PART IV: Ill Wind
"Specters" by T. Jefferson Parker (Anza-Borrego)
"Octagon Girl" by Chris J. Bahnsen (Desert Hot Springs)
"The Loop Trail" by Ken Layne (Joshua Tree)
"The Salt Calls Us Back" by Alex Espinoza (Salton Sea)
About the Contributors
"The latest noir anthology from Akashic Books gathers 14 new stories set in the Coachella Valley. Featuring work by Tod Goldberg, Alex Espinoza, and Kelly Shire, the collection offers a more complicated set of takes on the Southern California desert, revealing its hidden, sinister qualities."
"These mysteries will captivate the imagination and draw the reader into the darkest corners of the human heart, while reflecting the wicked, the saintly, and the everyday elements daily life of Palm Springs. A treasure for connoisseurs of the genre, Palm Springs Noir is packed with hidden surprises and is highly recommended."
--Midwest Book Review
"The anthology is a travelogue, of sorts, although one filled with deadly characters and people who make one bad choice after another. If you enjoy noir, this latest by Akashic Books is a worthwhile read."
--Reviewing the Evidence
"A nice window into a pretty bizarre...place, Palm Springs."
"There's a great deal of writing talent here and no two tales are alike."
--Sunny Harbor Publishing
"All [the stories] are very, very well written...Lovers of crime and people who enjoy good writing will enjoy them no matter what."
--Queer Writers of Crime
"Palm Springs Noir brings together SoCal writers in a dark and dangerous anthology."
--Southern California News Group's Bookish
"This time around all the action takes place in Palm Springs itself or in places like Joshua Tree National Park, the Coachella Valley Preserve, or Desert Hot Springs which are all nearby. And, as usual, the stories will not disappoint fans of the genre."
"As the 14 stories in DeMarco-Barrett’s fine noir anthology set in Palm Springs, Calif., and vicinity show, swimming pools are meant for more than leisurely dips, and Frank Sinatra songs are an ever-present soundtrack to the desert landscape of abandoned dreams and broken hearts...It’s rare to find a group of stories without a bad one, but DeMarco-Barrett has chosen well and there’s not a dud in the bunch."
"Palm Springs Noir features 14 stories by a powerhouse group of writers. Each story has its own unique flavor and voice as reflected by the diversity and talent of the contributing writers...Although Palm Springs serves as the shining centerpiece to the collection, the richness of the surrounding desert is reflected in stories that travel in all directions---west to Anza, east to Indio, north to Joshua Tree, and south to the Salton Sea."
--Stu's News Newport
"As editor DeMarco-Barrett points out, it’s hard to think 'noir' in a landscape that offers 300 days of sunshine a year. But unrelenting heat and light can do funny things to your brain...An engaging mix of the good, the bad, and the off-kilter."
Included in Publishers Weekly's Adult 2021 Announcements (Mysteries & Thrillers)