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Mississippi Noir

Edited by:

Literary crime fiction master Tom Franklin curates this volume of stellar noir from the Deep South.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Megan Abbott’s story, “Oxford Girl,” was the recipient of an Anthony Award for Best Short Story as well as a nominee for an Edgar Award for Best Short Story!

Long-listed for The Morning News 2017 Tournament of Books

“In these stories, from Biloxi to Hattiesburg, from Jackson to Oxford, the various crimes of the heart or doomed deeds of fractured households are carried out in real Mississippi locales . . . [A] devilishly wrought introduction to writers with a feel for Mississippi who are pursuing lonely, haunting paths of the imagination.”
Associated Press

“The big city has no lock on misery in these 16 portraits of dark doings in the Deep South.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Mississippi, as Franklin notes in his introduction, has the most corrupt government, the highest rate of various preventable ills, and the highest poverty rate in the country. In short, the state is a natural backdrop for noir fiction. The 16 stories . . . emerge from a cauldron of sex, race, ignorance, poverty, bigotry, misunderstanding, and sheer misfortune.”
Publishers Weekly

“With the most corrupt government, the highest rate of preventable diseases, and the highest poverty rate in the country, Mississippi is a natural fit for Akashic’s noir anthology series.”
Publishers Weekly, Fall 2016 Announcements

“Mississippi is the perfect setting for the latest volume in Akashic’s long-running noir series . . . The most memorable pieces take the definition of noir beyond the expected: William Boyle’s ‘Most Things Haven’t Worked Out’ is reminiscent of the gothic fatalism in Flannery O’Connor’s stories, while Michael Kardos’s ‘Digits,’ about a writing teacher whose students come to class with fewer and fewer fingers, veers into Shirley Jackson territory.”
Library Journal

“Mississippi boasts a notably corrupt state government and the highest rate of poverty in the country. No wonder, then, that area writers have found some pretty nasty stories to tell, several of which are included here: stories about a girl who murders her mother’s live-in boyfriend; a drug dealer who goes to extreme lengths to repay his source; a jilted lover who kills her ex-lover’s wife; college students who are having their fingers removed. And, of course, stories about sex and rage and white trash. Some of the 16 contributors are appearing in print for the first time, and some big names—Megan Abbott and Ace Atkins, for example—offer fine stories.”

“Maybe it’s the oppressive heat and humidity, or maybe it’s the high rates of poverty, crime and corruption that plague this southern state. Whatever the reason, Mississippi is the perfect setting for a good noir story . . . [The Noir series] is adept at finding the dark underbelly of cities big and small, but it has produced a unique, delicious flavor of noir fiction with this Mississippi installment.”
New York Daily News

“These chilling stories . . . consistently embody the ideal of noir writing with a strong sense of place . . . These pages drip with Mississippi humidity. Fans of classic noir will be pleased and rooted in this redolent setting.”
Shelf Awareness for Readers

“The prose reflects the striking, albeit morbid, writing that has been associated with Southern fiction since Faulkner dreamed up Yoknapatawpha County . . . This collection provides readers with well-crafted, dark stories of Mississippi mistakes and misdeeds that are told in such a way that allow for each individual contributor’s voice to shine through . . . The latest addition to dark Mississippi fiction is not one to be missed.”
Oxford Citizen

“But in Mississippi, darkness falls on both sides of the tracks. And that’s what makes this particular anthology, one of many ‘Noirs’ published by Akashic Books, so unnerving. These could be your neighbors.”
Sun Herald

“A super collection of dark, sultry, gritty Mississippi stories.”
Mississippi Today

“Ace Atkins. Michael Farris Smith. Megan Abbott. Jack Pendarvis. Mary Miller. William Boyle. All your favorite writers are there in the latest noir anthology from Akashic Books, many of them presenting brand-new stories. Each story is set in a distinct neighborhood or location of Mississippi, and among the 16 pieces you’ll find seasoned noir writers but also first-time published authors. Book editor Tom Franklin writes in the introduction: This isn’t, and hasn’t ever been, a land purely of moonlight and magnolias. Because in that moonlight, terrible things happen.
Deep South Magazine

“Mississippi as a state is a fount of great literature . . . It is also a state rich in the mystery genre with settings perfect for suspense. It’s not wonder, then, that this anthology is a standout in an excellent series.”
Tonstant Weader Reviews

“Some of my favorite writers have woven their webs between these covers. So kick back, pour yourself a drink, and find out why Mississippi Noir may be the darkest of them all.”
—Greg Iles, author of The Bone Tree

“All these stories drag you in and don’t let go until the last sentence . . . I highly recommend this book.”
Drew on the Kudzu


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 geographic area of the book.

Brand-new stories by: Ace Atkins, William Boyle, Megan Abbott, Jack Pendarvis, Dominiqua Dickey, Michael Kardos, Jamie Paige, Jimmy Cajoleas, Chris Offutt, Michael Farris Smith, Andrew Paul, Lee Durkee, Robert Busby, John M. Floyd, RaShell R. Smith-Spears, and Mary Miller.

From the introduction by Tom Franklin:

“Welcome to Mississippi, where a recent poll shows we have the most corrupt government in the United States. Where we are first in infant mortality, childhood obesity, childhood diabetes, teenage pregnancy, adult obesity, adult diabetes. We also have the highest poverty rate in the country. And, curiously, the highest concentration of kick-ass writers in the country too. Okay, maybe that’s not a Gallup poll–certified statistic, but we do have more than our fair share of Pulitzers and even a Nobel . . . I could go on, and in fact I do, in this very anthology . . .

Here are sixteen stories from seasoned noir writers like Ace Atkins and Megan Abbott as well as Mississippi’s new generation of noirists, authors like William Boyle and Michael Kardos. You’ll also find unknown, first-time-published writers like Dominiqua Dickey and Jimmy Cajoleas, who won’t remain unknown for long. I’m thrilled to bring these writers to you. In Alabama, where I grew up, we had a saying: Thank God for Mississippi, otherwise we’d be at the bottom in everything.

Welcome to the bottom.”

Listen to taped interview with editor Tom Franklin for Mississippi Edition.

Read features on Mississippi Noir at Square Books, Mississippi Today, and PW Daily.

Check out a playlist created by Mississippi Noir contributors for Largehearted Boy’s Book Notes feature.

Table of Contents


Part I: Conquest & Revenge
“Combustible” by Ace Atkins (Paris)
“Lord of Madison County” by Jimmy Cajoleas (Madison)
“Losing Her Religion” by RaShell R. Smith-Spears (Jackson)
“Most Things Haven’t Worked Out” by William Boyle (Holly Springs)

Part II: Wayward Youth
“Uphill” by Mary Miller (Biloxi)
“Boy and Girl Games Like Coupling” by Jamie Paige (Lauderdale County)
“Oxford Girl” by Megan Abbott (Oxford)
“Digits” by Michael Kardos (Winston County)

Part III: Bloodlines
“Moonface” by Andrew Paul (Thief)
“God’s Gonna Trouble the Water” by Dominiqua Dickey (Grenada)
“My Dear, My One True Love” by Lee Durkee (Gulfport)
“Hero” by Michael Farris Smith (Magnolia)

Part IV: Skipping Town
“Pit Stop” by John M. Floyd (State Highway 25)
“Anglers of the Keep” by Robert Busby (Olive Branch)
“Jerry Lewis” by Jack Pendarvis (Yoknapatawpha County)
“Cheap Suitcase and a New Town” by Chris Offutt (Lucedale)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Published: 8/2/16
  • IBSN: 9781617752285
  • e-IBSN: 9781617754609
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617754722


TOM FRANKLIN is the author of Poachers: Stories and three novels, Hell at the Breech, Smonk, and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller, the Willie Morris Prize in Southern Fiction, and the UK’s Gold Dagger Award for Best Novel. His latest novel, The Tilted World, was cowritten with his wife, Beth Ann Fennelly. They live in Oxford, Mississippi, where they teach in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. He is the editor of Mississippi Noir.

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