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.

“Jump,” by Reed Farrel Coleman

Skeleton umbrella. Coney Island crucifix. Tilyou’s Eiffel Tower. Steeplechase shrine. Icon. Landmark: looming, impotent, mocking, futile, naked, moot, regal, red, and ridiculous. Soaring twenty-six stories above the beach and boardwalk, passersby genuflecting at its feet, the Parachute Jump was all of these and none of these and more. Never less. Never. All you had to do was ask Richie . . .

“Game Night,” by Tom Fassbender

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays. This week, By the Balls coauthor […]

“Into Darker Night,” by Jim Pascoe

I don’t do well in situations like this.

I don’t like to talk about myself, and I don’t like small talk. Guess that makes me the odd man out in LA.

The scene before me spread out like the opening of a movie. Interior establishing shot. A party. Extras hovering around, moving lips without anything coming out. Even with a bunch of people all grouped together, the place felt sparse. Ten thousand square feet and twenty-five-foot ceilings will have that effect.

What was I doing here, in a penthouse loft on Spring Street?

Dance music from the 80s pushed out of a 90s plastic boom box, the kind that looked like the front end of a car. No one was dancing.

Two weeks. Audrey had been gone for two weeks….

“The Rikers Island Bar,” by Robert Knightly

I’m driving over the Francis R. Buono Memorial Bridge for the nine hundredth time (figuring once a week, four times a month, times twelve months, times eighteen years). The bridge connects the Queens mainland to Rikers Island, which is floating in the East River and a mere hundred yards off the runways of LaGuardia Airport. Rikers Island is the main New York City jail, housing 12,000 or more inmates at any given time, depending on how tough on crime the NYPD chooses to be. Rikers Island is America’s largest penal colony, a city of rolling razor wire far as the eye can see. I’m en route there because I’m a lawyer assigned by the Criminal Courts to defend a fellow who claims to be “indigent” (no dough to hire a lawyer), so he gets me, whom the inmates call “an 18-B” (short for the section of the County Law), as distinguished from “a real, paid lawyer,” whom they’d hire if they could. I pay no mind; I’ve heard it all before . . .

“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…