Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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Berkeley Noir

Edited by: and

Berkeley brings its own unique blend of Bay Area noir, complementing the grit and grime that preceded it in San Francisco Noir and Oakland Noir.

Forthcoming: 5/5/20

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What people are saying…

“My mom went to Berkeley in the 60s (my main tangential claim to hippiedom), so I’m psyched to see her favorite town get the Akashic noir treatment. San Francisco’s hippie silo has long captured the imagination of artists and writers, and I can’t wait to read the many stories in this collection, including new works from cult faves such Barry Gifford, Aya de Leon, Summer Brenner, and more.”
CrimeReads, included in CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Brand-new stories by: Barry Gifford, Jim Nisbet, Lexi Pandell, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Mara Faye Lethem, Thomas Burchfield, Shanthi Sekaran, Nick Mamatas, Kimn Neilson, Jason S. Ridler, Susan Dunlap, J.M. Curet, Summer Brenner, Michael David Lukas, Aya de León, and Owen Hill.

From the introduction by Jerry Thompson and Owen Hill:

A town named after a British philosopher doesn’t exactly evoke visions of Goodis or Highsmith. Grifters? Dames? Cops? In Berkeley? On the surface the alleys don’t seem that dark, until we look a little closer. Possibly the most iconic visual image of Berkeley does involve cops. It’s the film with Mario Savio, atop a police car with a megaphone, declaring, “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part!” Now there’s a statement that sums up the spirit of noir.

Berkeley Noir asks, If not here, where? While deciding which keys were needed to rev its engines, it was clear to us that for every mile, for every author who helped pave the way for this collection, writers like Anthony Boucher, Janet Dawson, Margaret Cuthbert, Ellen Gilchrist, Linda Grant, Jonathan Lethem, and Barry Gifford (included here with a new gem, “Barroom Butterfly”), there would always be a place in the heart of Berkeley where one would feel at home. From legends like Philip K. Dick setting his stories here, or Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni working out marital bliss in her early novels, or Linnea A. Due tackling teenage alcoholism in the 1970s in High and Outside. The search for an authentic and eclectic voice, and the search for home, become the most important ingredients of this journey.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 5/5/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757976
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758133


JERRY THOMPSON is a bookseller, poet, playwright, and musician. His work has appeared in ZYZZYVA and the James White Review. He is the coauthor of Images of America: Black Artists in Oakland. His fiction and prose have appeared in various anthologies including Voices Rising, edited by G. Winston James, and Freedom in this Village: Twenty-Five Years of Black Gay Men’s Writing, edited by E. Lynn Harris. He is the coeditor of both Oakland Noir and the forthcoming Berkeley Noir.

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OWEN HILL is the author of two crime novels, The Chandler Apartments and The Incredible Double, and he coedited The Annotated Big Sleep with Pamela Jackson and Anthony Dean Rizzuto. Until recently he lived in the Chandler Building on the corner of Telegraph and Dwight in Berkeley. He is the coeditor of Berkeley Noir.

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