Dashed with Little Rumors and Secrets | Manila Noir

Manila Noir edited by Jessica Hagedorn
Manila Noir edited by Jessica Hagedorn

Dear Jessica Hagedorn,

Because of spot.ph, I came to know this book.

Yet, if it wasn’t for the Manila International Book Fair, I would not have bought it. And your signature was also a plus! I don’t have that many books that have been signed by the authors or editors. I never tried so I can’t say if I have the patience to line up and wait or not.

While this is not my first anthology, I knew that—with every anthology—it will be a mix of hits and misses. For the record, I love the collection. The dark and mysterious air coming from it is tempting; even if I’m half asleep on the train, I power through reading it. And this is when I begin loving a story: when it keeps me awake. Who wants to sleep when there’s a good story to be read?

And what stories did I love?

  • Aviary by Lysley Tenorio for using a meme I remember, as well as going through shops that I passed by
  • A Human Right by Rosario Cruz-Lucero for making me envious of touring the unseen parts of The Walled City, which I have been a sort of resident for the last six years
  • Satan Has Already Bought U by Lourd de Veyra for violence, gore, and cuss words that worked well together
  • Trese: Thirteen Stations by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo for an unexpected refreshing break in an anthology
  • Comforter of the Afflicted by F.H. Batacan for sounding like an episode of CSI, which I loved—especially with the original team
  • The Professor’s Wife by Jose Dalisay for making it look like it was taken from a movie that I couldn’t remember
  • Cariño Brutal by R. Zamora for having the most vivid imagery in the lot

Most of the stories are dashed with little rumors and secrets of the locale, making them more intriguing and interesting. It made me wonder if any of them were true, if such places—like the precinct and its police staff—exists. Or existed.

Possibly, this may be my first noir book. And it did not disappoint, unlike a great number of horror and thriller books that failed to capture my fear. Of course, this isn’t a horror or thriller book but it delivered what it promised. And that is what counts to me.

Thank you for headlining this endeavor. I hope there will be more.


Mati Serraño


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