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DC Noir 2: The Classics

Edited by:

Pelecanos assembles an enchanting array of dark and subversive stories, following up the best-selling first volume of DC Noir, this time selecting the very best of Washington’s historical literary legacy.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Praise for the first DC Noir anthology:

“From the Chevy Chase housewife who commits a shocking act to the watchful bum protecting Georgetown street vendors, the tome offers a startling glimpse into the cityscape’s darkest corners . . . Fans of the [noir] genre will find solid writing, palpable tension and surprise endings.”
Washington Post

“Every story in this all-original noir anthology set in the nation’s capital is well-written.”
Publishers Weekly


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: Edward P. Jones, George Pelecanos, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, James Grady, Julian Mayfield, Marita Golden, Elizabeth Hand, Julian Mazor, Ross Thomas, Ward Just, Benjamin M. Schutz, Jean Toomer, Rhozier “Roach” Brown, and Larry Neal.

From the introduction by George Pelecanos:

The first name on my wish list was Edward P. Jones. I consider him to be the finest fiction writer to ever come out of Washington, D.C., and in the bargain he is a homegrown talent and graduate of Cardozo High School. From the collection All Aunt Hagar’s Children, we chose “A Rich Man,” which is not only a stunning piece of craftsmanship, but is full noir in its depiction of a man trapped inside a cage of his own making . . . Our earliest-set story, “A Council of State,” was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. It is a telling and troubling tale of the reality of racial politics in the Federal City at the turn of the last century. Dunbar, the son of escaped slaves, was the first eminent African American poet, as well as a noted short story writer, playwright, essayist, and novelist . . .

Ross Thomas’s witty, urbane political thrillers, many of which were set in our town, are some of the finest Washington novels, regardless of genre, ever written. He wrote knowingly of the backroom deals made here, of dinner parties in Georgetown, and of trysts in the Mayflower and three-martini lunches at Paul Young’s Restaurant, but he could also riff accurately on any neighborhood of the four quadrants. If there was a D.C. Literary Hall of Fame, Mr. Thomas would surely be in it . . .

I’ll leave you to enjoy these outstanding stories. With pride, and once again with hope and anticipation, here is D.C. Noir 2: The Classics.”

Table of Contents


Part I: The Old School
“A Council of State” by Paul Laurence Dunbar (R Street, NW 1900)
“Avey” by Jean Toomer (Potomac River 1923)
“Trouble with the Angels” by Langston Hughes (National Theatre 1935)
“The Man Who Killed a Shadow” by Richard Wright (National Cathedral 1946)

Part II: Burning Down the House
“The Last Days of Duncan Street” by Julian Mayfield (Kingman Park 1960)
“Washington” by Julian Mazor (Shaw 1963)
“Cast a Yellow Shadow” (excerpt) by Ross Thomas (Downtown 1967)
“Reflecting” by Rhozier “Roach” Brown (Lorton, VA 1969)
“Nora” by Ward Just (Connecticut Avenue 1971)
“Our Bright Tomorrows” by Larry Neal (Georgia Avenue 1973)

Part III: The Shadows of Federal City
“Kiss the Sky” by James Grady (Lorton, VA 1996)
“The Dead Their Eyes Implore Us” by George Pelecanos (Chinatown 2002)
“A Rich Man” by Edward P. Jones (Claridge Towers 2003)
“Wonderwall” by Elizabeth Hand (Hyattsville, MD 2004)
“Christmas in Dodge City” by Benjamin M. Schutz (6th and O Streets, NW 2005)
“After” (excerpt) by Marita Golden (Woodmore, MD 2006)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 9/1/08
  • IBSN: 9781933354583
  • e-IBSN: 9781617752148


GEORGE PELECANOS is the author of twenty-two novels and story collections set in and around Washington, DC, and has been the recipient of numerous international writing awards. He is a screenwriter, essayist, and television writer/producer whose credits include The Wire, Treme, The Deuce, and We Own This City. He is the editor of the best-selling volumes DC Noir and DC Noir 2: The Classics. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Buster: A Dog is his latest novel.

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