Sunday, December 30, 2012
Mastermind, by Reed Farrel Coleman
Dear Akashic Press;
Merely being depressing is not enough to make a story noir. Please tell your editors.
Having gotten that out of the way lets move on to a story by Reed Farrel Coleman, who understands noir very well.
Jeff Ziegfeld was always the exception to the rule: the dumb Jew, the blue-collar Jew, the tough Jew. No matter the Zen of the ethnic group the wheel of fortune got you born into, dumb and poor was the unversal formula for tough.
So Jeff is muscle working for an Israeli-American loan shark who constantly puts him down. But Jeff isn't always dumb. He comes up with a big dream: a brilliant scheme for committing a robbery. It is a plan without a flaw.
Except that this is a noir story, and noir means (remember this, oh editors), that the big dreamer gets flattened.
Another fine story in this collection is Kenneth Wishnia's "Blood Drive." Tim Tomlinson's "Snow Job" had a great set-up and a disappointing ending.