Noir Nation is the only mystery magazine in the world that joins international crime fiction and tattoos. Its content is often dark, hard-boiled, sometimes creepy, but because it embraces crime fiction in all its forms, readers can also enjoy the occasional humorous story and cozy mystery.
In celebration of Canada, Noir Nation No. 4 showcases several stories by Canadian writers, including Mary Agnes Fleming, as well as stories set in Canada by non-Canadian writers. In keeping with the journal’s international flavor, there are also stories from other parts of the globe. The issue is dedicated to Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor, who was murdered during the terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
Collected by Las Vegas writer and managing editor Jonathan Sturak, this issue contains entries from some of the very best and emerging hardboiled and literary crime fiction writers on the international scene, among them Lauren Cahn, Marina Perezagua, Richard Godwin, Melodie Campbell, Bianca Bellová, Joseph Lepis, Neliza Drew, Rob Brunet, Nik Morton, George Beck, Chloe Evans, Bruce H. Markuson, Jeffery Hess, Tony Haynes, Mike O’Reilly, Gerald Seagren, Edward McDermott, Ryan Priest, Peter Anderson, Al Cerda, and J.B. Christopher. The issue also offers an interview with Joseph Trigoboff, author of the best-selling novel The Bone Orchard and the recent memoir, Rumble in Brooklyn.
Editorial by Jonathan Sturak
Canada is known for its many wonders, mostly associated with the cold, ice fishing, skiing, dog sledding and being the ice hockey capital of the World. But Canada and Crime Fiction have more in common than just starting with the letter C. Organizations such as the Crime Writers of Canada have fostered some of the top contributions to the genre. Canadian authors Gail Bowen, Catherine Astolfo, and Ted Wood have graced us with characters who sift through the shadows inside the borders of Canada. Before them came May Agnes Fleming, one of Canada’s first popular novelists, whose “Death of Esther” is included in the Classic Noir section of this issue.
Growing up in the snowy mountains of Pennsylvania, I know a thing or two about the cold and what it does to a person. It keeps you alert, bundled up and hidden away. It becomes the villain in your story, where you do everything in your power to protect yourself from its frigidness. Several years ago, I escaped the cold and moved out West to the dry desert in Las Vegas, Nevada. I remember one time sitting on a bench inside the busy Fashion Show Mall on the Vegas Strip. Thousands of people were perusing the store windows, sharing laughs on the benches, and listening to the pitches from the kiosk workers. It seemed as if everyone was completely unaware of me; however, I was aware of them. A woman wearing a black miniskirt snaked through the crowd. She was tall with jet-black hair and milky white skin that surely was kept hidden from the villainous cold. She was alone, holding a little handbag, and browsing the store windows. Shoppers of all walks of life seemed to clear a path for her, whether she knew it or not, but I think she knew the power she had, and I think she craved it. She was the femme fatale in the mall that day and she could’ve had a pistol in that little handbag, and I’m sure most people would have let her shoot them. As she neared me, I noticed that she had something tattooed on her shoulder. A butterfly? A yin yang? A heart? No, it was a maple leaf.
This anecdote about Las Vegas stuck with me, and when Eddie Vega asked me to be the managing editor for this Canadian issue, I jumped at the chance.
We received hundreds of submissions from talented writers around the world. Our goal for this issue was to celebrate Canada, while continuing our mission of advancing the cause of international noir by publishing a selection reflective of the kind of writing being done around the world. Hit men to hit women, loner to lonely, child hero to childless hero, personal conflict to family conflict, all of the stories had powerful themes that spoke loudly, and sometimes disturbingly, about what ails the human condition. It was an absolute honor for these writers to entrust us with their words, which we now entrust to you.
I welcome you to read these stories, embrace them, think of that cold place up north when you read them, and don’t forget that the cold is not the only villain. See if you can find that woman with the maple leaf tattoo, but be careful–she’s real and inside waiting for you.
Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction No. 4