Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Boston Noir

Edited by:

Dennis Lehane steps up to the plate as editor and presents a scintillating collection of deep, dark fiction.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Brendan DuBois’s short story, “The Dark Island,” was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Short Story.

Dana Cameron and Dennis Lehane were nominated for the Anthony Awards for their short stories in Boston Noir. In addition, Cameron’s story was also nominated for a Macavity Award.

“Dennis Lehane advises us not to judge the genre by its Hollywood images of sharp men in fedoras lighting cigarettes for femmes fatales standing in the dark alleys . . . [Lehane] writes persuasively of the gentrification that has . . . left people feeling crushed.”
New York Times Crime Fiction Column


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.

Brand-new stories by: Dennis Lehane, Stewart O’Nan, Patricia Powell, John Dufresne, Lynne Heitman, Don Lee, Russ Aborn, J. Itabari Njeri, Jim Fusilli, Brendan DuBois, and Dana Cameron.

From the introduction by Dennis Lehane:

Boston is a city that produces guys—or, in the city’s vernacular, knuckleheads—who once stole the replica of a cow that sat in front of a Braintree steak house. The cow weighed what a car weighed, and yet these knuckleheads had the industry to get it onto a pickup truck, drive it back to South Boston, and deposit it in the middle of Broadway. They did this solely so they could then call the Boston Police Department and ask them to respond to a “beef going down on Broadway” . . .

So we have our distinct humor and our distinct accent and our distinct vocabulary. All of which—sadly, possibly—is now endangered by progress. Because one can’t ignore that Boston has been beset by a new class war of late, one you’ll see reflected in the stories herein. It’s a war of gentrification. As the city continues to lose its old-school parochialism and overt immigrant tribalism, it’s also losing a lot of its character. Whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing is up for debate, but what can’t be argued is that it is, in fact, happening . . .

That’s the paradox of the new Boston—what’s lost has, in many cases, been taken; what’s left is what people can’t sell. Noir is a genre of loss, of men and women unable to roll with the changing times, so the changing times instead roll over them . . .”

Table of Contents


Part I: Fear & Loathing
“Exit Interview” by Lynne Heitman (Financial District)
“Animal Rescue” by Dennis Lehane (Dorchester)
“The Place Where He Belongs” by Jim Fusilli (Beacon Hill)
“Dark Waters” by Patricia Powell (Watertown)

Part II: Skeletons in the Closet
“Femme Sole” by Dana Cameron (North End)
“The Dark Island” by Brendan DuBois (Boston Harbor)
“The Reward” by Stewart O’Nan (Brookline)
“The Cross-Eyed Bear” by John Dufresne (Southie)

Part III: Veils of Deceit
“The Oriental Hair Poets” by Don Lee (Cambridge)
“The Collar” by J. Itabari Njeri (Roxbury)
“Turn Speed” by Russ Aborn (North Quincy)


Book Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Published: 11/1/09
  • IBSN: 9781933354910
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070145


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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