Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Category: Mondays Are Murder

Mondays Are Murder: Original Noir Fiction to Get Your Week off to a Dark Start

Launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir, our award-winning city-based Noir Series now has over 60 volumes in print, with many more to come. Each volume is overseen by an editor with intimate knowledge of the title city; each story is brand new from a local author, and each is set within a distinct neighborhood or location.

While we’ve been thrilled to publish the original works of over 800 authors in the series, we still long for more. And while we are constantly seeking homegrown editors with native knowledge of national and international cities not yet visited by the series, we’re eager to dig deeper.

Mondays Are Murder allows us to offer a glimpse of cities not yet seen, neighborhoods or hidden corners not yet explored in previous volumes, and, we hope, writers not yet exposed to our company. Contributions to the Akashic Noir Series are bound by mood: our authors are challenged to capture the sometimes intangible moods of “noir” and of “place”. The stories run the gamut from darkly-toned literary glimpses to straight-up crime fiction, while similarly capturing the unique aura of the story’s location.

Our web model for the series has one further dimension: A 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

“Promises,” by Eric Boyd

There was a bird on the windowsill, a sparrow, its silhouette backlit by a view of Uptown. She remembered many sparrows during her forced trips to Mercy Hospital. She would often look out the window during her visits, watching them fly as far as downtown Pittsburgh before returning back to the hospital. That was all over now. Nothing was left to be taken care of besides the services and the will. She felt certain she’d get the house, which had been passed down through generations, from when Pittsburgh was a great city and Uptown was still a respectable place. Now, only junkies and bums lined Fifth Avenue, and the most respectable place there was a Plasma Center. If she did get the house, she thought of leaving it behind, furniture and all, with the door wide open for everyone. She knew she didn’t want the place . . .

“One Wolf, Three Sheep,” by Eddie Joyce

Matty stared out the front window of the Emerald Club, muttering curses into his coffee. On the corner opposite the bar, the Africans huddled, laughter spilling out in front of them in long, frigid plumes.

Only three this morning. The little guy was missing. Sleeping in maybe.

A low rumbling startled him. Declan had left his cell phone on the bar when he went upstairs and the goddam thing was vibrating every few minutes, skittering across the bar like a deranged metallic cricket. He glared at the phone, which soon fell silent.

“SHARD” by Arthur Nersesian

One of greatest tests of self-control is the ability to keep your eyes closed even after you wake up. When I came to I knew he was watching and listening to me, checking to see if I had awoken yet. The gag taped in my mouth forced me to breathe through my nose, which I did steadily. When he started making little sounds, I peeked out: My abductor, a geeky kid in his late teens, was wearing a poncho, a shower cap, and surgical gloves, prepped for my kill…

“Disappears” by Joe Meno

The vice principal asked if I wanted a ride home. It had just started to rain so I said okay. I was walking down Plum Street and was just about to disappear into the forest preserve when he pulled up. He was driving a station wagon that looked like it was twenty years old. There was a rusty patch on the passenger side door that looked like a dark red hand…

“The Killing Type,” by Maggie Estep

The sun wasn’t thinking about rising yet. Neither was Lincoln, the guy I had come to Cancun with.

I’d really like to take you to Cancun, baby, he’d said two weeks earlier, on our third date.

I laughed.

“What’s funny about that?”

I pictured high-rise resort buildings choking coastline. Portly Americans choking resort buildings. Me choking Lincoln.

“Nothing,” I said.

“Redneck Riviera” by Julie Smith

They were at the Gulfport Shaggy’s, about to celebrate a decent haul on a pot deal with a late-morning bloody and there stood The Treat, looking less Dutch than usual, a little more redneck, talking to some senior stoner with ass-length white hair in a sectioned-off ponytail . . .

“Pink Houses” by Tim McLoughlin

You will probably bleed out in the next ten minutes. The totality of every bad decision that brought you here has become a laser, cauterizing the hole in your chest. You can tell that nothing inside you will work properly anymore. You’re just an engine now, pumping fluid through a ruptured hose . . .


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