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Denver Noir

Edited by:

Denver enters the Noir Series arena with a wide range of mile-high misgivings and perils.

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$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

• Winner of the 2023 Colorado Book Award, Anthology

Denver Noir presents an impressive range of perspectives and observations. Between the writers and their characters, you’ll encounter dozens of distinct and compelling relationships with this place. Maybe you’ll start to see our city—and even yourself—in new ways.”
Denver North Star

“This anthology of short fictional crime and suspense stories written by 14 local authors and edited by Cynthia Swanson tells hair-raising, spine-tingling tales set in Denver’s unique neighborhoods. Follow felons down Colfax, solve a murder mystery and root for runaways as you flip through the pages, but be warned—the book’s final words may haunt you even after you turn out the lights.”
Denver Life Magazine

“The postcard version of Denver might look like a brilliant orange and blue sunset gleaming over the Rockies, beautiful young people in parks walking their dogs, everybody a mile high. Look a little deeper, or just take a drive down Colfax Avenue, and a different city appears. The second version is the one that shows up in Denver Noir, an anthology out this summer by Akashic Books.”
Boulder Weekly

“Can’t decide on a local author, but still want to get something based here in the Mile High City? Can’t go wrong with a single title like Denver Noir, which includes local authors aplenty.”
Westword, one of Ten Best Colorado Books from 2022 for Gift-Giving

“An exploration of the many pockets of the Mile High City as much as a look at one of the more complex—and compelling—sides of Denver, Denver Noir nails the paradoxes inherent in both.”
—Karen DeGroot Carter, for Medium

Denver Noir is a fascinating exploration of this sunny city’s dark side. Mountain views, a roughneck Gold Rush past, and stories of murder and mayhem make this anthology a must-read for anyone curious about Denver and its environs. Like the countless entries before it, Akashic Books allows an editor to craft an anthology filled with stories varying in tone and perspective.”
New York Journal of Books

“Swanson takes the editorial reign for the Denver book, which features 14 contributions . . . There isn’t a clinker in the bunch . . . You’ll find a treasure trove of mystery short stories in Denver Noir.”

“Denver has a dark side. And more than a dozen local authors are telling you all about it . . . Together, in Denver Noir, these authors pen a diverse look at the underside of Denver.”
Denver Post

“Noir in the mile high city! Just like Denver’s housing market, the city’s crime-writing scene appears to be blowing up, and these stories function as a fascinating guide to the trials and tribulations of a rapidly changing city.”
CrimeReads, a Most Anticipated Crime Fiction Book of 2022

“Dreaming of Ella” by Francelia Belton a Little Big Crimes Best Mystery Story of the Week

Included in CrimeReads Summer Reading Roundup

“The 14 stories . . . span time periods, neighborhoods, and milestones in the Mile High City’s history . . . The ranging styles and broad variety of diverse voices will provide noir fans with plenty to savor.”
Publishers Weekly

“Denver Noir is a great collection of stories. From P.I.’s to disappearing teens to period pieces to retribution, the stories cover a variety of adverse events and circumstances.”
BVS Reviews

“This is a great collection of stories, and Swanson has done an excellent job introducing Noir readers to the neighborhoods of Denver . . . It is a fun, diverse, and immersive read.”
The Cyberlibrarian


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Brand-new stories by: Peter Heller, Barbara Nickless, Cynthia Swanson, Mario Acevedo, Francelia Belton, R. Alan Brooks, D.L. Cordero, Amy Drayer, Twanna LaTrice Hill, Manuel Ramos, Mark Stevens, Mathangi Subramanian, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, and Erika T. Wurth.

From the introduction by Cynthia Swanson:

“Even a city that boasts three hundred days of sunshine a year has its sudden, often violent storms—and writers have long taken advantage of that metaphor. Renowned authors Katherine Anne Porter, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Rex Burns, Robert Greer, Michael Connelly, and Kali Fajardo-Anstine—among many others—have brilliantly portrayed this picturesque but often merciless city. Today, Denver is home to a thriving literary scene, with writers of all stripes finding inspiration in its people and streets. The authors and stories featured in Denver Noir are no exception . . .

Editing Denver Noir, working with this talented group of writers, has been one of the highlights of my career. Fans of noir and Denver devotees alike, I invite you into this journey of our Mile High City, our home beside the mountains, our capital of sunshine and darkness, optimism and anguish.”

Table of Contents


Part I: The Longest, Wickedest Street
“Colfax and Havana” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Aurora)
“A Life of Little Consequence” by Twanna LaTrice Hill (Capitol Hill)
“Pieces of Everyone, Everywhere” by Cynthia Swanson (Cheesman Park)
“Tough Girls” by Erika T. Wurth (Lakewood)

Part II: 5,280′
“The Lake” by Peter Heller (Sloan’s Lake)
“A Baker’s Duckling” by R. Alan Brooks (Baker)
“No Gods” by Amy Drayer (South Broadway)
“Junk Feed” by Mark Stevens (Glendale)
“Northside Nocturne” by Manuel Ramos (Northside)

Part III: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Young
“Ways of Escape” by Barbara Nickless (Union Station)
“Sangre” by D.L. Cordero (Auraria)
“Dreaming of Ella” by Francelia Belton (Five Points)
“On Grasmere Lake” by Mathangi Subramanian (Washington Park)
“El Armero” by Mario Acevedo (Globeville)

Read an interview with editor Cynthia Swanson at the Colorado Sun.

Read a “Meet Your Neighbors” feature by editor Cynthia Swanson interviewing contributor Mathangi Subramanian at Urban Life Wash Park.

Read an excerpt of editor Cynthia Swanson’s “Pieces of Everyone, Everywhere” at the Colorado Sun and The First Two Pages.

Read GES Gazette‘s feature on Denver Noir. Article available in Spanish here.

Read the Opening Lines featured post on La Bloga.

Watch an interview with editor Cynthia Swanson by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Read guest posts from contributor Mario Acevedo and Francelia Belton on Art Taylor’s The First Two Pages.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 5/3/22
  • IBSN: 9781636140292
  • e-IBSN: 9781636140353
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781636140346


CYNTHIA SWANSON writes literary suspense, often using historical settings. Her debut novel, The Bookseller, was a New York Times best seller, an Indie Next selection, and the winner of the 2016 WILLA Literary Award for Historical Fiction. Swanson’s second novel, the USA Today best seller The Glass Forest, was noted in Forbes as being one of “Five Novels with a Remarkably Strong Sense of Place.” She lives with her family in Denver. Find her at cynthiaswansonauthor.com. She is the editor of Denver Noir.

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