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Cape Cod Noir

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Malice and mayhem simmer beneath the surface of one of America’s favorite vacation areas.

$18.95 $14.21

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What people are saying…

“Youthful alienation and despair dominate the 13 stories in Akashic’s noir volume devoted to Cape Cod. [It] will satisfy those with a hankering for a taste of the dark side.”
Publishers Weekly

“David L. Ulin has put together a malicious collection of short stories that will stay with you long after you return home safe.”
—The Cult: The Official Chuck Palahniuk Website


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: William Hastings, Elyssa East, Dana Cameron, Paul Tremblay, Adam Mansbach, Seth Greenland, Lizzie Skurnick, David L. Ulin, Kaylie Jones, Fred G. Leebron, Ben Greenman, Dave Zeltserman, and Jedediah Berry.

From the introduction by David L. Ulin:

Here, we see the inverse of the Cape Cod stereotype, with its sailboats and its presidents. Here, we see the flip side of the Kennedys, of all those preppies in docksiders eating steamers, of the whale watchers and bicycles and kites. Here, we see the Cape beneath the surface, the Cape after the summer people have gone home. It doesn’t make the other Cape any less real, but it does suggest a symbiosis, in which our sense of the place can’t help but become more complicated, less about vacation living than something more nuanced and profound . . .

For me, Cape Cod is a repository of memory: forty summers in the same house will do that to you. But it is also a landscape of hidden tensions, which rise up when we least anticipate. In part, this has to do with social aspiration, which is one of the things that brought my family, like many others, to the Cape. In part, it has to do with social division, which has been a factor since at least the end of the nineteenth century, when then summer trade began. There are lines here, lines that get crossed and lines that never get crossed, the kinds of lines that form the web of noir. Call it what you want—summer and smoke is how I think of it—but that’s the Cape Cod at the center of this book.

Table of Contents


Part I: Out of Season
“Ten-Year Plan” by William Hastings (Falmouth)
“Second Chance” by Elyssa East (Buzzards Bay)
“Ardent” by Dana Cameron (Eastham)
“Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport” by Paul Tremblay (Dennisport)
“Variations on a Fifty-Pound Bale” by Adam Mansbach (Martha’s Vineyard)

Part II: Summer People
“Bad Night in Hyannisport” by Seth Greenland (Hyannisport)
“Spectacle Pond” by Lizzie Skurnick (Wellfleet)
“La Jetee” by David L. Ulin (Harwichport)
“The Occidental Tourist” by Kaylie Jones (Dennis)

Part III: End of the Line
“The Exchange Student” by Fred G. Leebron (Provincetown)
“Viva Regina” by Ben Greenman (Woods Hole)
“When Death Shines Bright” by Dave Zeltserman (Sandwich)
“Twenty-Eight Scenes for Neglected Guests” by Jedediah Berry (Yarmouth)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 5/17/11
  • IBSN: 9781936070978
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750618


DAVID L. ULIN is a book critic for the Los Angeles Times. From 2005 to 2010, he was the paper’s book editor. He is the author of The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith. He is the editor of Cape Cod Noir, Another City: Writing from Los Angeles,and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a 2002 California Book Award. He has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, the New York Times Book Review, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He teaches in the low residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert Graduate Center, and was a visiting professor in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California, Irvine in the spring of 2010. His latest book, The Lost Art of Reading, was published in November 2010.

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