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Memphis Noir

Edited by: and

A rich volume of Southern urban noir exploring sides of Memphis that only the locals know, but often don’t reveal.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“A remarkable picture of contemporary Memphis emerges in this Akashic noir volume . . . Something for everyone.”
Publishers Weekly

Memphis Noir covers train cars and Beale Street, hoodoo and segregation, Nathan Bedford Forrest and, of course, Graceland, and even includes a graphic novella.”
Memphis Flyer

“A collection of stories celebrating the underbelly of the city, its ghosts, and the characters that give Memphis its rich patina of blues.”
Memphis Flyer, Event feature

Memphis Noir, edited by Laureen P. Cantwell and Leonard Gill, captures the subtlety of the Memphis ethos, where blacks and whites, rich and poor, are intimately entwined. The collection—fifteen stories by some of the city’s finest writers—bleeds the blues and calls down the dark powers that permeate this capital of the Delta.”
The Commercial Appeal

“The new anthology Memphis Noir is replete with murders, ghosts, gangsters, a sharp-toothed baby, Boss Crump, and high water on the bluff.”
Memphis Magazine

“Stories by some of the city’s finest writers. . . . This new collection is a boon for readers who love a good ghost story and a shiver in the night. . . . The skill of the fifteen writers represented here is evident on every page of Memphis Noir, a testament to the cultural richness of the Bluff City.”
Chapter 16

“Jealousy, lust and murder are common themes . . . there’s not a bad [story] in the bunch.”
Underrated Reads

“Voodoo, ghosts, guns, hatred, jealousy and greed play their part here. There is no place for weakness here.”
Journey of a Bookseller


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 brand-new stories by: Richard J. Alley, David Wesley Williams, Dwight Fryer, Jamey Hatley, Adam Shaw, Penny Register-Shaw, Kaye George, Arthur Flowers, Suzanne Berube Rorhus, Ehi Ike, Lee Martin, Stephen Clements, Cary Holladay, John Bensko, Sheree Renée Thomas, and Troy L. Wiggins.

From the introduction by Laureen P. Cantwell & Leonard Gill:

“A city equal parts darkness and hope. A scarred city. An often violent one. But a resilient city too.

That’s our Memphis.

Like many cities, we have a namesake—in Egypt, Men-nefer became Menfe became Memphis, enduring and beautiful, on the banks of the Nile. Centuries later, another continent, another people, another river: Memphis, Tennessee, the soul of the Mississippi Delta, was formed. We are a place born of history, inhabited as much by memory as by the living—the past and present inextricably and inescapably linked . . . . Memphis is marvels and misfits—two-faced and unabashedly so.  

We are Memphis, and this is our noir.”

Read an interview with Memphis Noir editors Laureen P. Cantwell and Leonard Gill at the Memphis Flyer.

Read Arthur Flowers’s story “There Is No Rest” at the Barcelona Review.

Table of Contents


Part I: Beale and the Bluff
“Her Better Devils” by David Wesley Williams (South Bluff)
“Heartbreak at Graceland” by Kaye George (Whitehaven)
“Through Valleys” by Jamey Hatley (Westwood)

Part II: Memphis Blues
“The Panama Limited” by Richard J. Alley (Beale Street)
“Green-Eyed Blues” by Dwight Fryer (Annesdale)
“The Never Never Is Forever” by Adam Shaw & Penny Register-Shaw (Downtown)
“Chain of Custody” by Lee Martin (Orange Mound)

Part III: Memphis Misfits
“There Is No Rest” by Arthur Flowers (Riverside Park)
“A Game of Love” by Suzanne Berube Rorhus (East Memphis)
“Mother” by Ehi Ike (Germantown)
“Battle” by Stephen Clements (Hollywood)

Part IV: Abandoned Memphis
“Stinkeye” by Cary Holladay (Medical District)
“A Shut-and-Open Case” by John Bensko (Midtown)
“Nightflight” by Sheree Renée Thomas (Vollintine Evergreen)
“Tell Him What You Want” by Troy L. Wiggins (Uptown)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Published: 11/3/15
  • IBSN: 9781617753114
  • e-IBSN: 9781617754203


LAUREEN P. CANTWELL grew up in eastern Long Island and eventually found her way to Memphis —“the rock ’n’ roll side of Tennessee.” She lived in Midtown for two years while working as a librarian at the University of Memphis and grew to love the darkness of the city—and Elvis. She is the coeditor of Memphis Noir.

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LEONARD GILL was born and raised in Memphis. He writes a book column and blog for the Memphis Flyer, the city’s alternative newsweekly, and spotlights local writers for a monthly book feature in Memphis magazine. He is the coeditor of Memphis Noir.

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