Hard Boiled Love

by Kerry Ed.; Sellers Peter Schooley
ISBN: 1894663454

Post Your Opinion
A Review of: Hard Boiled Love: An Anthology of Noir Love
by Ibi Kaslik

Hard-Boiled Love: An anthology of noir love, is rather successful at explaining the pathology of the perverse, deviant and criminal cravings present in us all. The cover, a slightly blurred photo of a Bardot-like woman smoking, is a captivating precursor to the twisted tales of love gone wrong, vendetta, and high stakes. This collection revels in the power that a literary genre can possess, and most of these tales subvert notions of Canada as a safe and pleasant place. As editors Kerry J. Schooley and Peter Sellers note: "The darkness of the isolated soul has always been a part of our literary heritage." Nodding to the urban, Susanna Moodie's hardships and other "famous footsteps," the editors place us on a journey to answer the questions: "Does true love run smooth? Does true love even exist?"
Men and women are conquered by love in these stories and left to fight for their lives, in various dark rooms, hotels and seedy dives. In Peter Sellers's "Trophy Hunter", a detective is trapped in the mansion of his lover's usurper. In Stan Rogal's "Lie to Me Baby" a dramatic killing is juxtaposed with Hollywood's glamour as a woman lays her lover down for the last time. In William Bankier's story "Only the Beginning" a faded Paul Auster-like detective becomes obsessed with a young waitress and in "Baby Blues" a lawyer flees her stalking ex to have her baby in the Ontario woods.
Two of the most riveting stories in this collection seem, in some ways, to lack overt noir aesthetics or components of mystery, yet they offset some of the crusty hardboiled tone which sometimes threatens to overtake Hardboiled Love. "Loss" by Jean Rae Baxter, for example, is a painful meditation on the mental troubles of a woman who has had a mastectomy. Only after she destroys everything around her, does her mastectomy scar "no longer trouble her." In "Ron and Don" by Mike Barnes, a Polanski-like character sees his ambitions crash around him as he works in a hospital kitchen in Hamilton. A quirky and strangely tender story, "Ron and Don" is a stylistically seamless read, and dependent on the internal darkness of the individual rather than the external darkness of the world.
Worthy of mention too is Linda Helson's fable-like story "Spinnaker Man". Set in a small Greek village, "Spinnaker Man" tells the tale of human parasites and the power of the evil eye. Last but not least is the bucolic "One's A Heifer", by Sinclair Ross where cabalistic Poe-like mysteries alluded to in barns are enough to scare the wits out of a city-dwelling reader.
In film, pornography and noir are captured by way of darkened rooms and the smouldering sensuality of beautiful actors. Genre writing must depend on different elements, namely the creation of solid inner voices which reflect the idiosyncrasies of a character. Faces and stabbings have to be imagined, rather than seen and so artfulness in the literary genre depends on the genre's constraints, as well as on the craft's details.
For fans, the leap from mystery to noir is a short one and this book is highly recommended for those interested in British and American mysteries. Hardboiled Love succeeds at terrorizing and entertaining the reader, indulging our voyeuristic curiosity about dark, torrid affairs of the heart, and demystifying the stereotype of Canada's polite exterior, as it convincingly portrays the underbelly of love and death in northern towns.

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us