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Boston Noir 2: The Classics

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Dennis Lehane returns to coedit, with Cotton & Clarke, the sequel to the best-selling evergreen anthology Boston Noir, culling classic stories from the city’s dark literary legacy.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Boston Noir 2: The Classics is a Boston Globe Best Seller!

“The contributor list is delightfully quirky . . . The collection’s unifying element is a deep understanding of Boston’s Byzantine worlds of race and class–as seen terrifyingly in Andre Dubus’s tale of milltown resentment and pampered preppies.”
Boston Globe

“14 superior selections in this ‘classics’ volume in Akashic’s series of regional dark crime short stories, the works of established writers that have stood the test of time.”
Publishers Weekly

“This collection features crime stories that have already been published. But that’s OK when you have the likes of Chuck Hogan, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert B. Parker, Linda Barnes, George V. Higgins, Dennis Lehane, and David Foster Wallace all under the same roof . . . Followers of Akashic’s long-running Noir series—not to mention, of course, fans of Boston-set crime fiction—should eagerly devour this one.”

“These stories take place in neighborhoods you know well, and that can drive a reader crazy as well as entice him or her, but the read is worth it.”
Boston Column, Summer Reading pick

“There are few gifts I enjoy more than a box of dark chocolates. The very best surprise me, each candy layered with unexpected delights that leave me hungry for more. The same may be said of Boston Noir 2. It’s a collection of dark short stories by names you know, set in places familiar to Bostonians.”
Patriot Ledger

“Boston is a very diverse city, and Boston Noir 2 manages to offer readers a satisfying taste of some of the best classic noir literature the metropolis has to offer. Just like all previous books in this series from Akashic Books, this one is highly recommended.”
Verbicide Magazine

Boston Noir 2: The Classics is a thorough representation of what noir has been, is, and continues to become . . . The shadows over Boston are those of Bogart, leaning into the spotlight with that complexity of soul, that derisive navigation of morality and deviance. . . The shadows on this cover prepare the tone, that these thin darknesses can be willed into corruption with little effort, and the reader will learn the ease of giving into it.”
HTML Giant

“Akashic Books is this edgy press that you may or may not have heard of . . . Their noir series is sure to please fans of noir, and I recommend picking up one of the many titles, perhaps beginning with Boston Noir 2: The Classics . . . with contributors like David Foster Wallace, Joyce Carol Oates and Andre Dubus, how can you go wrong with Boston Noir 2: The Classics?”
Sacramento Press

“In a bloody tribute to this great city, Lehane and company have resurrected several out-of-print classics and pushed the meaning of noir into peculiar places . . . For those unfamiliar with Greater Boston and its literary heritage, Boston Noir 2: the Classics is a great place to start.”
—Chicago Center for Literature and Photography


Dennis Lehane answered 15 Questions for Akashic’s Literary Lions feature. Read his answers here.

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: Linda Barnes, Jason Brown, Andre Dubus, Chuck Hogan, George Harrar, George V. Higgins, Dennis Lehane, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert B. Parker, David Ryan, Kenneth Abel, Barbara Neely, Hannah Tinti, and David Foster Wallace.

From the introduction by Jaime Clarke, Mary Cotton, & Dennis Lehane:

What is noir and what is not inhabits a gray area. Its definition is continually expanding from the previous generation’s agreed-upon notion that noir involves men in fedoras smoking cigarettes on street corners. Noir alludes to crime, sure, but it also evokes bleak elements, danger, tragedy, sleaze, all of which is best represented by its root French definition: black. We used this idea as our guide for this sequel to the best-selling Boston Noir anthology . . .

The commonwealth is an endless source of fascinating landscapes: the autumnal light spreading across the Charles River; the ice floes in the wintry Boston Harbor; a spring air tantalizing leaves in Harvard Yard; the salty taste of summer as sunbathers peer into the horizon, shielding their eyes from the glare, squinting into the middle distance. Beyond the postcard fabric, though, lies a community populated by broken families, criminal minds, voyeurs, and outsiders. They look like you and me. These are their stories.”

Table of Contents


Part I: Broken Families
“The Marriage Privilege” by Chuck Hogan (West Roxbury)
“Night-Side” by Joyce Carol Oates (Quincy)
“Home Sweet Home” by Hannah Tinti (Route 128)
“Surrogate” by Robert B. Parker (Watertown)

Part II: Criminal Minds
“Mushrooms” by Dennis Lehane (Dorchester)
“Lucky Penny” by Linda Barnes (Beacon Hill)
“Blanche Cleans Up” (excerpt) by Barbara Neely (Brookline)
“The Balance of the Day” by George V. Higgins (Roxbury)
“Bait” (excerpt) by Kenneth Abel (South Boston)

Part III: Voyeurs & Outsiders
“Townies” by Andre Dubus (Merrimack River)
“Driving the Heart” by Jason Brown (Boston General Hospital)
“The 5:22” by George Harrar (Kendall Square)
Infinite Jest (excerpt) by David Foster Wallace (Brighton)
“At Night” by David Ryan (Back Bay)


Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 10/2/12
  • IBSN: 9781617751363
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751455
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617751370


DENNIS LEHANE is the author of the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro mystery series (A Drink before the War; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; and Moonlight Mile), as well as Coronado (five stories and a play) and the award-winning novels Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day. Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone have been made into award-winning films. He is the editor of Boston Noir and coeditor of Boston Noir 2: The Classics.

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MARY COTTON is the pseudonymous author of nine novels for young adults, six of them New York Times best sellers. She is also a fiction editor for the literary magazine Post Road, and is coeditor of Boston Noir 2: The Classics and No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. She is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston.

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JAIME CLARKE is the author of the novel We’re So Famous, editor of Don’t You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes, Conversations with Jonathan Lethem, and coeditor of Boston Noir 2: The Classics and No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. He is a founding editor of Post Road and has taught creative writing at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Emerson College. He is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston.

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