Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics

Edited by:

The sequel to Los Angeles Noir, an award-winning Los Angeles Times best-seller, this volume explores the history of the noir literary tradition on its home turf.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:


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 stories by: Raymond Chandler, Paul Cain, James Ellroy, Leigh Brackett, James M. Cain, Chester Himes, Ross MacDonald, Walter Mosley, Naomi Hirahara, Margaret Millar, Joseph Hansen, William Campbell Gault, Jervey Tervalon, Kate Braverman, and Yxta Maya Murray.

From the introduction by Denise Hamilton:

Los Angeles is a young city. As recently as the 1860s, it was still a dusty Spanish pueblo where the Zanjero who regulated the water flow from the L.A. River earned more than the mayor. Unlike the eastern seaboard, whose world of arts and letters predates the American Revolution, Los Angeles literature bloomed late. But our scant history and tradition freed us up to create new myths. We made it up as we went along . . .

Throughout this anthology, characters will swill bootleg liquor, take bribes, get hooked on morphine, work as grifters, taxi-dancers, and hired guns, hang out at speakeasies and soda fountains, and betray their lovers. Nobody dies naturally . . . Inevitably, some of the earlier stories reflect the racism, homophobia, and religious prejudices of their times. But it’s important that crime fiction was the first to liberate language from the parlors of “proper” society. As Raymond Chandler told his publisher in explaining his use of barrroom vernacular: “I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks.

Read Scott Timberg’s interview with Denise Hamilton here.

Table of Contents


Part I: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
“I’ll Be Waiting” by Raymond Chandler (Mid-Wilshire, 1939)
“Murder in Blue” by Paul Cain (Downtown, 1933)
“I Feel Bad Killing You” by Leigh Brackett (Santa Monica, 1944)
“Dead Man” by James M. Cain (San Fernando, 1936)
“The Night’s for Cryin'” by Chester Himes (South Los Angeles, 1937)

Part II: After the War
“Find the Woman” by Ross Macdonald (Beverly Hills, 1946)
“The Chirashi Covenant” by Naomi Hirahara (Terminal Island, 2007)
“High Darktown” by James Ellroy (West Adams, 1986)

Part III: Killer Views
“The People Across the Canyon” by Margaret Millar (L.A. Canyon, 1962)
“Surf” by Joseph Hansen (Venice, 1976)
“The Kerman Kill” by William Campbell Gault (Pacific Palisades, 1987)

Part IV: Modern Classics
“Crimson Shadow” by Walter Mosley (Watts, 1995)
“Rika” by Jervey Tervalon (Baldwin Hills, 1994)
“Lucía” by Yxta Maya Murray (Echo Park, 1997)
“Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta” by Kate Braverman (Bel Air, 1990)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 4/1/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070022
  • e-IBSN: 9781617752209


DENISE HAMILTON is a novelist, journalist, Edgar Award finalist, and the author of seven crime novels set in her hometown of Los Angeles. She is also the editor of Los Angeles Noir, which features the Edgar Award–winning short story “The Golden Gopher,” and Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics, which includes stories by Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and James Ellroy. A lifelong fangirl of crime and speculative fiction, Hamilton is finishing a novel set in an alternate Los Angeles. She is the editor of Speculative Los Angeles.

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