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Walk Away by Chris Hyatt
A career criminal, a complicated family. A wife with a past that comes back to haunt in dramatic style. Violence, bloody violence. Redemption at great personal cost. This one has all the classic elements of noir. What a way to close out the collection.
It may have a lot of classic elements to it, but that doesn’t make it predictable or even worse, cliché instead managing to feel modern and contemporary throughout. Hitting those notes, without falling into the traps is quite a talent, and Chris Hyatt manages it in fine style here. The story has two elements to it, which almost feels designed to reflect the double life that Tom, our narrative voice and career criminal, leads. These come crashing together in the final climactic scenes as a planned robbery doesn’t play out quite the way it was intended. Another tale here with a not entirely clear ending, that’s a deliberate and considered move as Chris prefers to leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of mini-reviews. Compiling them has been a highlight of #Fahrenbruary for me. The collection has it all in noir terms, so many different tropes covered. So many classic elements with a fresh twist. Some real thought-provoking stories that stay with you, almost haunting in their simplicity. Some good old-fashioned crime romps too. A serial killer concept that really could be the start of a fantastic novel. I’ve not often read short story collections, preferring longer forms where I get to spend more time with a character. The mastery of the short story though is when a writer is able to get under your skin with a character that you care about, build up that relationship with the reader and to do it all in just a few thousand words. Noirville shows that skills off in its authors, and in spades. A phenomenal collection of stories, new talent and more established writers combined to give a fantastic anthology showing off what modern noir is all about.