The Last Time I Died


Joe Nelms - 2013
    He camps out at bars to pick fights, finding that getting his ass kicked allows him his only meditative moments, something he explores with sardonic zeal.Nine years of his childhood are entirely repressed, a consequence of his father killing his mother when Christian was eight. But as Christian is beaten to death in a bar brawl, his life flashes before his eyes and a long repressed memory resurfaces: the stoop of his childhood home, his father in the back of a cop car, and his mother being wheeled away on a gurney. Christian is resuscitated and comes alive with driving purpose. He must know more. What follows is Christian’s increasingly desperate attempts to kill himself, be revived, and slowly piece together snapshots from his childhood to understand this rediscovered self-knowledge and find how it can help him rebuild his life and marriage. Alternating between calculated suicide attempts and heartbreaking memories of a happier time, Christian revels in the underbelly of New York City in a spectacular downward spiral.

The Hackman Blues


Ken Bruen - 1997
    Find a white girl in Brixton. Piece of cake. What I should have done is doubled my medication and lit a candle to St Jude - maybe a lot of candles. Add in a lethal ex-con, an Irish builder obsessed with Gene Hackman, the biggest funeral Brixton has ever seen, and what you get is the Blues like they've never been sung before.

In a Small Motel


John D. MacDonald - 2017
    She owns a small motor-inn motel on a major highway in South Georgia. The summer heat is still strong in the waning days of October, and she is tired from a long summer season. As the evening progresses, Ginny’s motel begins to fill-up. There is Johnny Benton, a strange motel guest who insists on parking his car behind the motel, a would-be suitor named Don Ferris, a guest that is the catalyst for a long and frightening night, and then there is the dead husband whose long shadow is cast across Ginny’s life like a long heavy rain...

Private Heat


Robert E. Bailey - 2002
    So when the senior partner of one of the premier legal firms in Grand Rapids approaches Hardin about a job protecting his niece from her soon-to-be ex-husband for a couple of days, Hardin isn't exactly eager to take on the job. However, Hardin finds that the fee offered to too great to pass up. After a hatchet attack, a house burnt down, and a few violent encounters with some crooked cops, Hardin can hardly wait for the case to be over. But when the husband is found murdered, the niece attempts suicide, and Hardin is brought in on a trumped-up warrant for the crime, it is no longer a case that he is willing to walk away from -- even if he could.

Providence Noir


Ann HoodTaylor M. Polites - 2015
    Each tale in this anthology edited by Ann Hood is set in a different part of the city. Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout's story takes place at Trinity Repertory Company. Thomas Cobb, whose novel Crazy Heart was made into a movie with Jeff Bridges, tees up at Triggs Memorial Golf Course, and Dumb and Dumber co-writer and co-director Peter Farrelly, a graduate of Providence College, sets his story in the Elmhurst neighborhood, near his old college stomping grounds."-- Boston Globe "Providence, of course, has a history of crime, the mob, corruption and other goodies. In this collection of 15 stories...we are given a darkly hued tour of the city in all its nooks and crannies by such excellent writers as Hood herself, John Searles, Bruce DeSilva, Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Strout, Hester Kaplan and others, each with their own style, tone and sly approach that will keep you reading, waiting for the sudden murder, the end of troubled relationships, the discovery of bones....[A] wonderful collection."-- Providence Journal Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.Featuring brand-new stories by: John Searles, Elizabeth Strout, Taylor M. Polites, Hester Kaplan, Robert Leuci, Amity Gaige, Peter Farrelly, Pablo Rodriguez, Bruce DeSilva, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Luanne Rice, Dawn Raffel, Thomas Cobb, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, and Ann Hood.Anyone who has spent time in Providence, Rhode Island, knows that lurking in the shadows are many sinister noir elements and characters. The city is ripe for this volume, and Akashic is proud to have recruited the amazing Ann Hood as editor. The impressive contributor list conveys the caliber of Providence Noir, which joins Cape Cod Noir, Boston Noir, and Boston Noir 2: The Classics in sketching a dark and alternative portrait of these New England locales.From the introduction by Ann Hood:"Providence was founded in 1636 by a rogue named Roger Williams. Williams escaped here when Massachusetts was ready to deport him back to England. In the almost four hundred years since, we've become infamous for all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors, including serving as home base for the Patriarca crime family for decades. My very own Uncle Eddie--I can hear Mama Rose screaming at me: 'He wasn't a blood relative! He was related through marriage!'--was gunned down in the Silver Lake section of town in 1964, just a year after he drove me in his white Cadillac convertible in a parade as the newly crowned Little Miss Natick. The writer Geoffrey Wolff told me that once he went to a barber in Princeton, New Jersey and the barber asked him where he was from. 'Providence,' Wolff told him. The barber put down his scissors, raised his hands in the air, and said, 'Providence? Don't shoot!'"I've asked fourteen of my favorite writers to contribute short stories to Providence Noir. We have stories to make you shiver, stories to make you think, stories that will show you my beautiful, noirish city in a way it’s never been highlighted before."

New Jersey Noir


Joyce Carol OatesBarry N. Malzberg - 2011
    . . Poems by C.K. Williams, Paul Muldoon, and others--plus photos by Gerald Slota--enhance this distinguished entry."-- Publishers Weekly "It was inevitable that this fine noir series would reach New Jersey. It took longer than some readers might have wanted, but, oh boy, was it worth the wait . . . More than most of the entries in the series, this volume is about mood and atmosphere more than it is about plot and character . . . It should go without saying that regular readers of the noir series will seek this one out, but beyond that, the book also serves as a very good introduction to what is a popular but often misunderstood term and style of writing."-- Booklist , Starred Review"A lovingly collected assortment of tales and poems that range from the disturbing to the darkly humorous."-- Shelf Awareness Featuring brand-new stories (and a few poems) by: Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Safran Foer, Robert Pinsky, Edmund White & Michael Carroll, Richard Burgin, Paul Muldoon, Sheila Kohler, C.K. Williams, Gerald Stern, Lou Manfredo, S.A. Solomon, Bradford Morrow, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffrey Ford, S.J. Rozan, Barry N. Malzberg & Bill Pronzini, Hirsh Sawhney, and Robert Arellano.From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates:". . . The most civilized and 'decent' among us find that we are complicit with the most brutal murderers. We enter into literally unspeakable alliances--of which we dare not speak except through the obliquities and indirections of fiction, poetry, and visual art of the sort gathered here in New Jersey Noir."

Miami Noir


Les StandifordJeffrey Wehr - 2006
    Hall, Barbara Parker, John Dufresne, Paul Levine, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Tom Corcoran, Christine Kling, George Tucker, Kevin Allen, Anthony Dale Gagliano, David Beaty, Vicki Hendricks, John Bond, Preston Allen, Lynne Barrett, and Jeffrey Wehr. From the introduction by Les Standiford: The truth is that Miami, though naturally lovely, is a frontier town, perched on the border between the known and the rarely before experienced . . . We are not only on the edge of the continent, we are to this country what New York was in Ellis Island's heyday, what the West Coast was in the middle of the 20th century. This is where the new arrivals debark these days, and it is no mistake that during the last decade of the last century, commentators as diverse as Joan Didion, David Rieff, and T.D. Allman devoted entire volumes to Miami's role as the harbinger for America's future . . . But for now, the novel of crime and punishment is the perfect vehicle to convey the spirit and the timbre of this brawling place to a wider world.CONTENTS Ride along / James W. Hall --Dead storage / Christine Kling --Silence of the stone age / George Tucker --Sawyers / Kevin Allen --Blown away / Anthony Dale Gagliano --One man's ceiling / Tom Corcoran --Solomon & Lord Drop Anchor / Paul Levine --The last of Lord Jitters / David Beaty --The timing of unfelt smiles / John Dufresne --Boozanne, lemme be / Vicki Hendricks --The recipe / Carolina Garcia-Aguilera --T-bird / John Bond --Swap out / Preston Allen --The noir boudoir / Lynne Barrett --Machete / Barbara Parker --The swimmers / Jeffrey Wehr.

Stray Dogs


John Ridley - 1997
    I don't know what it is, but it works that way for man and animal alike. I've seen some peculiar things on a hot day too. I've seen a scorpion sting itself to death. It just keeps drivin' its tail into its body again and again. A little killer killing itself. And what a man'll do on a hot day. A man could get his self killed just for rubbing shoulders with another. . . ."A loner, a drifter, a gambler--John Stewart asks little of life. But when his '64 Mustang busts a radiator hose in the middle of the empty Nevada desert, he prays to God, Buddha, L. Ron. And rolls into the tiny town of Sierra. Where he finds . . . nothing. A gas station whose former owner is lying low in the cemetery. A strip of barren, dust-blown store fronts. A truck stop cafe with more flies than customers.Stewart wants out. Sucker-punched in a rigged poker game, he's got to get to Vegas to settle a debt. Or else.Then in walks Grace, a seductive knockout who can read fortunes in faces. In the next twenty-four hours, Stewart becomes ensnared in a web of dirty double-crosses, cold propositions, and desperate souls--deadly ground where murder is just one gasp away.A stunning, fast-paced novel, Stray Dogs unfolds with unrelenting tension, memorable characters, and shocking twists of plot. John Ridley has created a hypnotic story that is pure noir, from its first page until its shattering climax.From the Hardcover edition.

D.C. Noir


George PelecanosDavid Slater - 2006
    This is not an anthology of ill-conceived and inauthentic political thrillers. Instead, in D.C. Noir, pimps, whores, gangsters, and con-men run rampant in zones of this city that most never hear about.

Killing Suki Flood


Robert Leininger - 1991
    The moment Frank Limosin sees gorgeous eighteen-year-old Suki Flood sitting on the rear deck of the red Trans Am in the hot empty desert, he feels trouble in the air. The Trans Am has a flat tire. They're over ten miles from the nearest highway. And Suki, dressed in short shorts and a tiny halter top, doesn't know how to change a tire. Against Suki's will, Frank gives her a lesson in tire changing, then he thinks that's it, he'll never see her again. How wrong can one man be? Because Suki turns out to be fifty times more trouble than Frank ever dreamed possible. He saved her once. Now he has to save her again and again and again . . .

Trinidad Noir


Lisa Allen-Agostini - 2008
    Trinidad Noir reveals the Caribbean island’s darkness and its appeal with an unexpected and gratifying result.Features brand-new stories by Robert Antoni, Elizabeth Nunez, Lawrence Scott, Ramabai Espinet, Shani Mootoo, Kevin Baldeosingh, Vahni Capildeo, Willi Chen, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Keith Jardim, Reena Andrea Manickchand, Tiphanie Yanique, and more.

Wreckage


Niall Griffiths - 2005
    In the foreground is a caper story; in the background, a poetically expressed, apocalyptic history of Liverpool." —The Daily TelegraphThat woman with the grey hair and the specs and the kind face and the accent all like his grandmother, his nain in hospital and when she can talk that is what she sounds like. Don'thitmepleasedon'thitme. These women falling, sliding off this earth and not just from violence but the one commonality that turns life to a wreck—age.After their botched and brutal mission to punish a one-armed man in a small Welsh village, Darren and Alastair head back to Liverpool to report to their mob boss. On the way home, Darren robs a rural postal office in Wales that serves as a bank and needlessly cracks the skull of a little old postal lady. Darren's eyes are full of fire. "We're rich, Alastair!" But Alastair sees his own nain in this elderly woman and falls victim to his conscience. Darren has finally gone too far.As Alastair and Darren weave their way through the lowlife milieu of Liverpool, we hear many voices: the alky, the crack addict, the busman, the whores, the gangsters, and Darren's many victims. But we also hear the voices of their ancestors going back generations of unthinkable grief and poverty.A fascinating sequel to Niall Griffiths' Stump, which Irvine Welsh calls "a magnificent novel of loss and obsession . . . [by] a major talent."

The Imaginary Blonde


Ross Macdonald - 1953
    He had just lost the man he was trailing and then got into a crazy highway chase with a Cadillac. Now he just wanted to get some sleep. But his thoughts of sleep ended when a screaming brunette woke him with her screams and a hand covered in blood. It looked like a murder, but where was the victim? And Lew Archer only had one suspect―an imaginary blonde that nobody seems to have seen.

Lee Child Collection: Killing Floor, Die Trying, Tripwire


Lee Child - 2002
    I was in a booth, at a window, reading somebody's abandoned newspaper. Outside, the rain had stopped but the glass was still pebbled with bright drops. I saw the police cruisers pull into the gravel lot. They were moving fast and crunched to a stop. Light bars flashing and popping. Doors burst open, policemen jumped out. Two from each car, weapons ready. Two revolvers, two shotguns. This was heavy stuff. One revolver and one shotgun ran to the back. One of each rushed the door. I just sat and watched them. I knew who was in the diner. A cook in back. Two waitresses. Two old men. And me. This operation was for me. I had been in town less than half an hour." - From the opening of this searing tale of honor and revenge where Jack Reacher, a former military cop, hunts down his brother's killers.DIE TRYING (Director: Michael Page) - In a Chicago suburb, a dentist is met in his office parking lot by three men and ordered into the trunk of his Lexus. On a downtown sidewalk, Jack Reacher and an unknown woman are abducted in broad daylight by two men - practiced and confident - who stop them at gunpoint and hustle them into the same sedan. Then Reacher and the woman are switched into a second vehicle and hauled away, leaving the dentist bound and gagged inside his car with the woman's abandoned possessions, two gallons of gasoline�and a burning match.TRIPWIRE (Director: Laura Grafton, Engineer: Jeremy Spanos) - Jack Reacher is settling into lazy Key West when his life is interrupted by a stranger who comes looking for him. When the stranger turns up beaten to death in the Old Town cemetery - fingertips removed - Reacher knows whomever the man was working for is not a friend. Reacher follows the trail to New York.

New Haven Noir


Amy BloomJohn Crowley - 2017
    Carter, John Crowley, Amy Bloom, Alice Mattison, Chris Knopf, Jonathan Stone, Sarah Pemberton Strong, Karen E. Olson, Jessica Speart, Chandra Prasad, David Rich, and Hirsh Sawhney.New Haven may be best known for Yale University, but its criminal dimensions run as deep as anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard. Whether the setting is a college campus, the waterfront, East Rock, The Hill, or Wooster Square, the stories in this volume bring the full city to life—and death.From editor Amy Bloom:New Haven in not a tourist kind of town. Yes, if you want to see the Cushing brain collection of 400 brains-in-jars (with another 150 planned for display), including artifacts like the piece of steak signed (if that’s the word)—using an electrosurgical knife—by Ivan Pavlov, and plenty of infant skulls. Also, more transcendently, you can visit beautiful Beinecke Library, a six-story tower of translucent marble, instead of mere glass, protecting the rare books, including my favorite, the Voynich manuscript, written centuries ago in what seems to be a fictional language with drawings of plants that don’t exist. Also, for the picnickers, the tomb of Midnight Mary in the eighty-five-acre Evergreen Cemetery, right off Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. On her gravestone, it reads: The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away.It’s a noir kind of town.I love New Haven. I asked other writers who have the same odd, deep affection for the city that I do to tell me their stories. Michael Cunningham, Roxana Robinson, Stephen L. Carter, Alice Mattison, John Crowley. And more. We’ve got the darkly funny, the darker, the ineffable, and the deeply brooding. What we’ve got for you, right here . . . is New Haven.