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Milwaukee Noir

Edited by:

In Milwaukee Noir, a city of manufacturers and booze, as well as a growing immigrant community, makes perfect grist for the Noir Series mill.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Derrick Harriell has received the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for his story, “There’s a Riot Goin’ On,” presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

Jennifer Morales’s story “Cousins” has been named an Honorable Mention for the Zona Gale Short Fiction Award, presented by the Council for Wisconsin Writers!

Milwaukee Noir is a Boswell Book Company best seller: #1 Paperback Fiction Bestseller for the week ending May 25, 2019, and a #2 Paperback Fiction Bestseller for the week ending May 4, 2019!

“Luxuriate in the seedy, wallow in the angry and shiver at the horrors that surely await you around the corner . . . The sheer localness of Milwaukee Noir is superb, and the seediness of many characters here would qualify them for membership in a Tom Waits song.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Fourteen fictional tales of people behaving badly in the city and the ‘burbs, including top-shelf writers Valerie Laken, Jane Hamilton, Larry Watson and Nick Petrie.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, included in Summer Reading 2019; Editor’s Pick

“In Milwaukee Noir, among the latest titles in Akashic Books’ Noir series, 14 writers who’ve lived here offer a sinister tour of Brew City’s radically diverse neighborhoods . . . Many of these pieces . . . work effectively not only as atmospheric fiction but also as influential social commentary.”
Shepherd Express

“Akashic’s distinctive series of crime fiction anthologies arrives in Brewtown. The fourteen contributors include familiar Wisconsin writers Valerie Laken, Jennifer Morales, Jane Hamilton, Larry Watson, Nick Petrie and my Journal Sentinel colleague James E. Causey. Like other volumes in this series, Milwaukee Noir foregrounds specific locations: for example, Watson’s story has a Yankee Hill setting, and Morales’ is set in the Silver City neighborhood.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, included in the 2019 Milwaukee Preview

“Noir exposes the underbelly of a place. In film or fiction, characters live in the shadows, denizens of a night where every good intention is punished. Noir found its natural home in New York City and LA in the 1940s and ’50s. Now, Milwaukee can lay claim to its own piece of the genre.”
Lake Effect (WUWM 89.7 FM, Milwaukee)

“Each story is tied to a particular neighborhood in Milwaukee. While the stories in the collection sometimes cross paths with famous city locations (one story opens with the protagonist falling in love at Summerfest), most of the others walk streets that the average tourist won’t see.”
Capital Times

“In a new short story collection, writers from around Milwaukee dig into the gritty side of life in the city.”
Central Time (Wisconsin Public Radio)

“Noir is not just mystery, it involves a grim take filled with cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity . . . I love anthologies for discovering new authors and there is plenty of Milwaukee-based talent here.”
Lake Effect (WUWM 89.7 FM, Milwaukee), Top local title to gift in 2019, as recommended by Boswell Book Company’s Daniel Goldin

“By using the noir genre of literature, this [collection] successfully fictionalizes the criminal aspects of the city, while still creating a space for social commentary about the issues that allow crime and bad behavior to flourish.”
The Daily Cardinal

“Known for manufacturers, booze, and a burgeoning immigrant city, Milwaukee is the perfect setting for these tales of intrigue, suspense, and mystery from a diverse allotment of authors. Captivating to the final page, Milwaukee Noir is especially recommended for connoisseurs of the genre!”
Midwest Book Review

“A shining example of a themed crime anthology . . . There are no duds in this anthology—every tale has something to say, and it’s said in an entertaining and surprising way. Milwaukee Noir is one of the better entries in Akashic Books’s Noir series.”
Mystery Scene

“Mocking Season” by Christi Clancy has been selected as one of the Best Mystery Stories of 2019 by Robert Lopresti of SleuthSayers!

Included in Unlawful Acts’s May Releases

“I am constantly enthralled by the way authors and editors define noir fiction, and . . . [Milwaukee Noir] continues to redefine the style of writing that can be considered ‘noir.’ This collection is unique, just like the stories in all the other collections from Akashic.”
The Cyberlibrarian

“Milwaukee bookseller and writer Hennessy curates a very strong collection of short fiction exploring the shadows and margins of what has been called the most segregated city in the U.S., with results that provide needed nuance to anyone whose image of the Cream City is stuck in the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley . . . A richly textured collection that is, by turns, gripping, thought provoking, and simply entertaining.”
Booklist Online

“The violent, dark stories in this anthology fit the bill perfectly with the intention, as editor Hennessy writes, to be social commentary. With a map to illustrate the location of each selection, the collection points to the setting of each disturbing story or crime. Tales by Jane Hamilton and Christi Clancy stand out, evidence that ordinary people can get swept up in hatred, even if they did not start out living with violence, drunkenness, or poverty.”
Library Journal

“Milwaukee bookseller and writer Hennessy does justice to the harsher aspects of his hometown in this fine anthology . . . The 14 contributors show that violence is not a prerequisite to crafting a haunting depiction of despair . . . The selections make the different neighborhoods, seedy or otherwise, come to life, even for those who have never set foot in them.”
Publishers Weekly

“Fourteen free-wheeling stories document the grit and glory of Milwaukee . . . A nod to Milwaukee’s blue-collar heritage, a frank look at racial disharmony, and a peek at the future make Hennessy’s collection a find for fans of urban noir.”
Kirkus Reviews


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: Jane Hamilton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Valerie Laken, Matthew J. Prigge, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Vida Cross, Larry Watson, Frank Wheeler Jr., Derrick Harriell, Christi Clancy, James E. Causey, Mary Thorson, Nick Petrie, and Jennifer Morales.

From the introduction by Tim Hennessy:

Presently, Milwaukee is going through a renaissance—abandoned factories being converted to condos, craft breweries and distilleries pushing out corner taverns—yet at the same time it is among the most segregated and impoverished big cities in the country. The gentrification of neighborhoods outside of downtown bear the impact of twentieth-century redlining efforts, forcing residents out due to housing demand, adding fuel to the affordable-housing crisis. Such an environment and atmosphere make excellent fodder for noir fiction . . .

The book you’re holding is the first of its kind—a short fiction collection about Milwaukee, by writers who’ve experienced life here. The crime/noir genre at its best can be one of the purest forms of social commentary. I’ve gathered contributors who can tell not just a fine story, but who can write about the struggles and resilience of the people who live here . . . I’m honored to compile a body of work that represents what I love, and fear, about Milwaukee. I love my city’s lack of pretension; its stubbornness and pride in the unpolished corners. I fear that my city faces an uncertain future—that as it becomes more divided it may push our best and brightest to find somewhere else to shine.

Check out Milwaukee Noir event previews at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here and here, as well as at the Milwaukee Courier, Isthmus MagazineShepherd Express, and Madison.com.

Listen to a featured review of Milwaukee Noir at Point Blank.

Listen to an interview with editor Tim Hennessy and contributors Valerie Laken and Jennifer Morales at Lake Effect (WUWM 89.7 FM, Milwaukee).

Listen to an interview with editor Tim Hennessy at Central Time.

Listen to a podcast with a guest appearance by editor Tim Hennessy at Writer Types Podcast.

Read an excerpt of the introduction by Tim Hennessy at CrimeReads.

Read an interview with Tim Hennessy at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Read a feature on Robert L. Fish Memorial Award winner Derrick Harriell at Ole Miss (University of Mississippi News).

Read a feature on Milwaukee Noir editor Tim Hennessy at the Racine, WI Journal Times.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 5/7/19
  • IBSN: 9781617757013
  • e-IBSN: 9781617757211
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617758027


TIM HENNESSY is a bookseller and writer who lives in Milwaukee with his wife and son. His work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Tough, Crimespree Magazine, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among other places. He is the editor of Milwaukee Noir.

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