by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Inhuman Acts; A Collection of Noir, edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (316 pages), Kindle $9.95.
According to the publisher, this is a horror anthology. “Explore thirteen anthropomorphic noir stories about betrayal, corruption and deceit from award-winning authors and up-and-coming writers. Pour your favourite whiskey and light up a cigarette as Stanley Rivets, PI shares with you his collection of case files from dim to dark to downright ugly.” (blurb)
Stanley Rivets, the stereotypical sable P.I. who tells these stories — “A sable in a long beige trench coat sits behind the desk, dark ears perking at the entrance of the newcomer. The wide brim of his fedora raises to see what visitor would stop by this late at night.” –p. vii. He wears his trench coat and fedora while sitting in his office? Well, maybe he’s just returned, exhausted, from a case — appears only in the very brief Foreword and Afterword. Too bad. It would have been nice to get a full story with him.
Rivets tells 13 stories; not cases of his own, but 13 that he’s heard of. Ocean Tigrox has started out with one of the best here; “Muskrat Blues” by Ianus Wolf. It’s specifically a pastiche of The Maltese Falcon, with Mike Harrison, a pig P.I., investigating the murder of his best friend, another P.I. – a muskrat; two prey animals in a grim & gritty city where the prey animals are usually at the bottom of the anthro-animal social pole. But Alex Richards didn’t take any guff, and neither does Harrison. Wolf packs a neat summary of Hammett’s novel (or Warner Bros.’s movie; take your pick) into a taut 25 pages of noir, with enough originality that even if you’re a fan of The Maltese Falcon, you’re not likely to guess whodunit. And enough presence of predator & prey animal traits to make this a satisfying furry story, too.