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Cleveland Noir

Edited by: and

Cleveland Noir joins Columbus Noir as the Akashic Noir Series continues its tour of Ohio, and navigates the dregs of the North Shore

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$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

“What do you get when you put some of the most well-known authors in Northeast Ohio—a list that includes Dana McSwain, Paula McLain, Michael Ruhlman and Thrity Umrigar—together for a spooky story collection? Cleveland Noir, a series of short fictional works all tied to the city.”
Cleveland Magazine

“Fifteen new tales of murder and mayhem as diverse as the city that spawned them . . . Ruhlman and Headen draft an outstanding crew of writers to chronicle the misery of folks who can’t get out of their own ways.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Cleveland, a city of extremes, is a near-perfect location for these dark tales of deception, violence, and despair . . . All of the stories are tied in well with place, and the range of approaches is admirably wide. VERDICT One of the best in a very good series, this title should fly off the shelves.”
Library Journal

“The best entries in the collection shy away from pat scenarios entirely . . . [T]here’s Mary Grimm’s ‘Over the Hill,’ in which an obsessed lover searches high and low for his woman on Halloween night—a woman who may actually be a witch. Gassed up on grungy, gritty storytelling, the tale is both a vivid journey into Cleveland’s Flats, a neighborhood perched on the side of a cliff (and imminent disaster), and a love story where no one dies, but sex feels an awful lot like death. Moments like these remind us why Akashic’s noir series are enjoyable and sometimes surprising; James M. Cain himself would have approved.”
New York Journal of Books

“Michael Ruhlman and his coeditor Miesha Wilson Headen, who also penned a story for the book, have curated a helluva lineup. Cleveland Noir comprises a variety of styles and moods that push the genre’s potential and add texture to the city’s terrain. One need not be a local to enjoy it. In fact, read it even if you don’t know the city—let it be your dark guide.”
Fearsome Queer

“The vivid visuals each author brought to Cleveland Noir kept me reading. In many ways, the stories remind me of a combination of fi lm noir and episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The famous director is quoted as saying, ‘Everyone loves a good murder, provided he is not the victim.’ All in all, this makes for a fascinating read.”
Insight News


From the editors’ introduction:

“Cleveland is a working-class town, though its great institutions were founded by twentieth-century robber barons and magnates . . .  It’s this mix of the wealthy and the working class that makes this city—an urban center of brick and girders surrounded by verdant suburbs—a perfect backdrop for lawlessness. Cleveland has certainly seen its share of high-profile crime. Eliot Ness, Cleveland’s director of public safety in the 1930s, hunted unsuccessfully for the ‘torso murderer’ who killed and dismembered twelve people in Kingsbury Run, the area now known as the Flats, then populated by bars, brothels, flophouses, and gambling dens. The famous disappearance of Beverly Potts in the early 1950s on Cleveland’s west side made national headlines. The sensational murder of Marilyn Sheppard in Bay Village and the imprisonment and eventual acquittal of her husband, the surgeon Sam Sheppard, became the basis for a popular television drama The Fugitive . . .

“The noir stories in this volume hit all these same notes, and their geographies reflect the history of the city and its politics, its laws, poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.

Featuring brand-new stories from: Paula McLain, Jill Bialosky, Thrity Umrigar, Michael Ruhlman, Daniel Stashower, D.M. Pulley, J.D. Belcher, Alex DiFrancesco, Miesha Wilson Headen, Abby L. Vandiver, Sam Conrad, Angela Crook, Susan Petrone, Dana McSwain, and Mary Grimm.

Table of Contents

“Love Always” by Paula Mclain (Settler’s Landing)
“The Silent Partner” by Susan Petrone (Downtown)
“Under the Hill” by Mary Grimm (The Flats)
“Bus Stop” by Dana McSwain (Little Italy)

“Sugar Daddy” by Abby L. Vandiver (East Cleveland)
“Jock Talk” by Sam Conrad (Parma)
“Bitter” by Angela Crook (Hough)

“Tremonster” by D.M. Pulley (Tremont)
“The Book of Numbers” by Miesha Wilson Headen (Fairfax)
“The House on Fir Avenue” by Alex DiFrancesco (Gordon Square)
“The Laderman Affair” by J.D. Belcher (Lakewood)

“Mock Heart” by Jill Bialosky (Shaker Heights)
“The Fallen” by Thrity Umrigar (Cleveland Heights)
“The Ultimate Cure” by Michael Ruhlman (Shaker Square)
“Lenny, But Not Corky” by Daniel Stashower (Coventry)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 8/1/23
  • IBSN: 9781636140995
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141022


Miesha Wilson Headen is the winner of a Best Minority Issues Reporting Award from the Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists, a BINC Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists, and an Informed Communities grant from the Cleveland Foundation. She is the former mayor of Richmond Heights, OH, where she lives with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Columbia University and Ursuline College. She is also a preacher’s kid. Her latest work is as an editor of Cleveland Noir.

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Michael Ruhlman has written or coauthored more than twenty-five books of nonfiction, fiction, memoir, and cookbooks, including Boys Themselves and Walk on Water, both set in Cleveland. A native of Shaker Heights, he lives in Providence, RI, and New York City with his wife, the writer Ann Hood. His latest work is as an editor of Cleveland Noir.

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