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Orange County Noir

Edited by:

You may be disturbed—or possibly titillated—to discover what can happen once you cross the Orange Curtain . . .

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“‘There’s a dark side to most places,’ even California’s sunny Orange County, Edgar-winner T. Jefferson Parker observes in his foreword to this outstanding entry in Akashic’s noir series, one of the stronger of the all-original anthologies. The crisp, often seductive prose of the 14 contributors, most of them relatively unknown, is a tribute to the critical judgment of the editor.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Read “The Calling” by Gary Phillips, part of Akashic’s Mondays Are Murder series.

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: Susan Straight, Robert S. Levinson, Rob Roberge, Nathan Walpow, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Dan Duling, Mary Castillo, Lawrence Maddox, Dick Lochte, Robert Ward, Gary Phillips, Gordon McAlpine, Martin J. Smith, and Patricia McFall, with a foreword by T. Jefferson Parker.

From the introduction by Gary Phillips:

Orange County brings to mind McMansion housing tracts; massive shopping centers with their own zip codes where Pilates classes are run like boot camp and real-estate values are discussed at your weekly colonic; and ice-cream parlors on Main Street, U.S.A., side by side with pho shops and taquerías. Los Angeles has been and continues to be explored as the place where noir, if it wasn’t spawned there, sure as hell flowered. But what about its neighbor to the south? What secrets do Orange County’s denizens have to tell . . . or hide?

This volume, like coming in from a sudden storm and then being gripped by a heavy riff from Bird’s horn, takes you on a hard-boiled tour behind the Orange Curtain. Among those you’ll meet are a reclusive rock star who has lived way too long in his twisted head, a crooked judge who uses the court for illicit means, a cab driver prowling the streets with more than the ticking meter on his mind. In Orange County Noir, cultures clash, housewives want more than the perfect grout cleaner, and nobody is exactly who they seem to be.”

Table of Contents

Foreword by T. Jefferson Parker


Part I: Only the Lonely
“Bee Canyon” by Susan Straight (Santa Ana Narrows)
“Down in Capistrano” by Robert S. Levinson (San Juan Capistrano)
“Diverters” by Rob Roberge (Tustin)
“A Good Day’s Work” by Nathan Walpow (Seal Beach)

Part II: Every Move You Make
“Crazy for You” by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett (Costa Mesa)
“The Toll” by Dan Duling (Laguna Beach)
“2:45 Out of Santa Ana” by Mary Castillo (Santa Ana)
“Old, Cold Hand” by Lawrence Maddox (City of Orange)
“The Movie Game” by Dick Lochte (Laguna Niguel)

Part III: Lush Life
“Black Star Canyon” by Robert Ward (Dana Point)
“The Performer” by Gary Phillips (Los Alamitos)
“The Happiest Place” by Gordon McAlpine (Anaheim)
“Dark Matter” by Martin J. Smith (Balboa Island)
“On the Night in Question” by Patricia McFall (Garden Grove)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 4/1/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070039
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070572


GARY PHILLIPS has published novels, comics, and short stories, and edited numerous anthologies. Violent Spring, first published in 1994, was named one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. Culprits, a linked anthology he coedited, has been optioned as a British miniseries, and he was a staff writer on FX’s Snowfall about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central, where he grew up. He is the editor of Orange County Noir, and the coeditor of The Cocaine Chronicles. He has contributed stories to Dublin Noir, Los Angeles Noir, Phoenix Noir, and The Heroin Chronicles. South Central Noir is his latest anthology.

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