People Still Live in Cashtown Corners by Tony Burgess is miscast by Chizine and some of the blurbers as a horror novel because it’s really a psycho-noir. Now granted, these two story types are closely related, and Cashtown is certainly horrific, but reading it as a psycho-noir provides a better filter for the story intentions.
Structurally Burgess brings something original and fresh to the psycho-noir tradition. **Spoiler** In the middle of the book there are black and white photographs of the characters and the crime scene much as you would find in a non-ffiction book.**end spoiler**. This does two things. First it let’s the reader know the outcome of some of the story arcs ahead of time. Second, it places a seed of doubt in the readers mind that what is being read actually happened. It’s a powerful technique that heightens the realism and tension of the events as well as submerges the reader in the world.
With books like Waste, Bloody Women, The Disassembled Man and short stories like Hold You, Pillow Talk and Carpaccio it looks like the psycho-noir is experience a bit of a renaissance for those readers willing to seek them out and People Still Live at Cashtown Corners is a worthy addition.