Introduction to the second Criminal Elements Pocket Anthology
In the three excerpts making up this issue’s Pocket Anthology, the settings come through so completely as to verge on becoming main characters in themselves.
Detective Henry Garvin stands on Belle Isle, a nature sanctuary near the mouth of the Detroit river between motor city and Windsor, Canada. Garvin, who has conflicted views on the Prohibition he must enforce, ruefully takes in the site of a liquor transfer gone wrong and a gangster’s murder on the black sand of the shore.
Next up is the ‘love hotel’ in a back alley in Seoul, where the spy Yongin is hiding out now that he has returned from the North but does not know who he can trust. The sounds, smells, and lack of sexual restraint of just such an establishment grate on Yongin’s nerves because above all else, the freedom of sex itself is kept under wraps in the North.
And then there’s the seemingly picturesque town of Chalchihuitan in the Mexican state of Chiapas—a town outside the control of the Mexican Army where the principles of thuggery and murder transcend any allegiance to either the capitalist ideology of the government or the Marxist tenants of the Zapatistas. Only the perfect combination of tears, fatalistic apathy, and intense bargaining will get you out alive.
All three pieces vibrate with the tension between the place and the people involved, as these same people are sucked in and spit out.