A book like City of Hate might not have normally caught my eye, but author Timothy Miller offered to send me a copy. I’m glad I jumped on the offer. City of Hate is “city noir” that imports much of what I love about country noir. The setting and the backdrop are inspired, even if the execution wasn’t perfectly to my liking.
I lived in Houston during my swing through Texas. One of Houston’s nicknames is the “Big Heart,” earned by the open arms its residents met Hurricane Katrina victims. You could still see “I ♥ Houston” bumper stickers around New Orleans when I was traveling there on a regular basis for work. Dallas has a nickname of its own that highlights the inevitability of comparisons between the cities and their relative merits: City of Hate. The moniker is inextricably tied to JFK’s Dallas assassination. Which might seem a little unfair. Lee Harvey Oswald only lived in Dallas for a year. And, whatever conspiracy you might embrace, the bulk of the city certainly didn’t participate in the assassination. But the stage was already set for the moniker to stick, not by the dull statistic that Nixon won Dallas by a bigger margin than any other city (as remarkable as the existence of such a stat is today) but by a made-for-TV moment where vicious, pearled Dallas society women frothed (read: spit) at Lyndon and Ladybird John in front of a national audience.