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Lone Star Noir

Edited by: and

A chilling collection of tales from Texas, a state that, according to coeditor Bobby Byrd, “bleeds noir fiction.”

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“What makes Texas noir different from any other noir? Is it just that the gumshoes wear cowboy boots? . . . Akashic Books finally turns its attention to the biggest state in the Lower 48, but all that land just means more places to bury the bodies. As father-son editing partnership Bobby and Johnny Byrd observe in their introduction, this isn’t J.R. Ewing’s Lone Star State. This is the Texas of chicken shit bingo, Enron scamsters, and a feeling that what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico . . . So what defines Texas noir? Who knows, but you better pray that blood doesn’t stain your belt buckle.”
Austin Chronicle

“Crime, like politics, is local. The folks at Akashic Books understand this . . . Lone Star Noir is a solid collection. Heck, it better be — the state’s red clay looks like dried blood. Noir grows out of the ground here.”
Austin American-Statesman

Lone Star Noir‘s 14 hard-boiled short stories take readers into life’s ragged edges . . . It reminds how humanity’s darkest possibilities float just beneath everyday life’s thin surface.”
The Dallas Morning News

“Sure to be of regional interest and to appeal to fans of noir or ‘dark’ fiction, this spicy black brew of sinister thrills is not for the squeamish or the easily offended.”
Library Journal

“Unsettling and shivery.”
Kirkus Reviews


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: James Crumley, Joe R. Lansdale, Claudia Smith, Ito Romo, Luis Alberto Urrea & David Corbett, George Wier, Sarah Cortez, Jesse Sublett, Dean James, Tim Tingle, Milton Burton, Lisa Sandlin, Jessica Powers, and Bobby Byrd.

From the introduction by Bobby Byrd:

Seems like everybody who lives in Texas has a snotty attitude about the place where they live. Even if they hate it. Like the bumper sticker from the 1980s, Lucky me, I’m from Lubbock. That was popular the year after Lubbock almost got wiped off the map by a series of God’s worst tornadoes. But what you learn from living in this state is that most of Texas is not Texas. It’s not the stereotype that the rest of the nation carries around in the collective consciousness . . .

The real Texas hides out in towns and cities like you’ll find in Lone Star Noir, and in that very Texas reality, among the everyday good folks of Texas, you’ll find the hard-boiled understanding of guns and dope and blood money and greed and hatred and delusion that makes these fourteen stories come alive on the page. Sure, you might catch a glimpse of J.R. and old Woodrow Call, like a shadow at the edge of your sight, feel their heat at your back, catch a whiff of the dead flowers which are their Texas dreams. This is basic foodstuff for a Texas writer telling a story, but the story must always stay true to its place and the people who live there. That’s the strength of these stories in Lone Star Noir—the particular place they come from, the language that the characters speak. Yes, they are pieces of the larger puzzle that is Texas, but they are more true to the pieces of ground they reveal.”

Table of Contents


Part I: Gulf Coast Texas
“Phelan’s First Case” by Lisa Sandlin (Beaumont)
“Catgirl” by Claudia Smith (Galveston)
“Who Stole My Monkey?” by David Corbett & Luis Alberto Urrea (Port Arthur)
“Six Dead Cabbies” by Tim Tingle (Ellington AFB)

Part II: Back Roads Texas
“Luck” by James Crumley (Crumley, Texas)
“Preacher’s Kid” by Jessica Powers (Andrews)
“Six-Finger Jack” by Joe R. Lansdale (Gladewater)
“Duckweed” by George Wier (Littlefield)
“Cherry Coke” by Milton T. Burton (Tyler)

Part III: Big City Texas
“Montgomery Clift” by Sarah Cortez (Houston)
“Moral Hazard” by Jesse Sublett (Austin)
“Bottomed Out”by Dean James (Dallas)
“Crank” by Ito Romo (San Antonio)
“The Dead Man’s Wife” by Bobby Byrd (El Paso)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 10/19/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070640
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750014


BOBBY BYRD—publisher, poet, and essayist—is the copublisher of Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, Texas. In 2005, for their work as publishers and for their involvement in the cultural communities of Mexico and the American Southwest, he and his wife Lee Merrill Byrd received the Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom. As a poet Byrd is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship awarded by the University of New Mexico, and an International Residency Fellowship (NEA/Instituto de Belles Artes de Mexico). His most recent book of poems, White Panties, Dead Friends and Other Bits and Pieces of Love, received the Southwest Book Award (2008). He is the coeditor of Lone Star Noir and is also the coeditor, with his son John William Byrd, of the border nonfiction anthology Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots, & Graffiti from La Frontera.

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JOHNNY BYRD is copublisher of Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, Texas, and coeditor of Lone Star Noir. As a Spanish-to-English translator, his credits include The Festival of the Bones/El Festival de las Calaveras: The Little Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead by Luis San Martin, and the novel Out of Their Minds: The Incredible and (Sometimes) Sad Story of Ramon and Cornelio by Luis Humberto Crosthwaite. Byrd is also a freelance essayist, writing articles for online publications about culture and music.

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