The Mysterious Bookshop

Lopez, Adriana V., & Ospina, Carmen, Barcelona Noir

Publishers Weekly
The 14 stories in Akashic's Barcelona volume hew closely to the bleak spirit of the noir genre, whether reaching back to the 1920s, as Andreu Martín does in the chilling "The Law of Escape," or chronicling chaotic immigrant-infused present-day Barcelona, as Raúl Argemí does in "The Slender Charm of Chinese Women." Standouts include Eric Taylor-Aragón's "Epiphany," with its shocking ending; David Barba's ghoulish "Sweet Croquette"; Teresa Solana's "The Offering," with its echoes of Edgar Allan Poe (and one of two stories originally written in Catalan); and Jordi Sierra i Fabra's "A High-End Neighborhood," in which a Filipino servant suffers the whims of a wealthy couple and their spoiled children. Francisco González Ledesma's brief "The Police Inspector Who Loved Books," about an old man with more books than he can read who's going blind and doesn't want to live if he can't read anymore, provides a bittersweet ending.