The 16 stories in this stellar volume in Akashic's noir series paint a vivid portrait of the underside of Phoenix, where the gulf between rich and poor ensures “[c]rime, and lots of it,” as Millikin observes in his introduction. The writers make superb use of locale so that the sprawl, desert, history and especially the heat become “characters” in their fiction. Among the standouts are Robert Anglen's “Growing Back,” an unforgettable journey through a prisoner's consciousness, from the hell of his crimes and incarceration to the incestuous bed he shared with his mother; Luis Alberto Urrea's “Amapola,” in which a teenage lothario makes the possibly fatal mistake of falling for a drug lord's daughter; and Laura Tohe's “Tom Snag,” an updated version of the Native American shape-shifter myth as visited upon a hammered, horny barfly. Other contributors include Gary Phillips, Don Winslow, Lee Child, James Sallis and Megan Abbott. This book is an absolute must-read for noir fans.