Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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Pittsburgh Noir

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Pittsburgh Noir roars forth, exploring the hidden underworld of what has often been called “the most livable city in America.”

$17.95 $13.46

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Despite Pittsburgh being labeled the country’s most livable city, the fictional citizens populating the 14 high quality stories in Akashic’s noir anthology centered on the Steel City have the same dreams, frustrations, passions, and vices as anyone else.”
Publishers Weekly

“Perfect for adventurous book groups and for travelers seeking the less rosy side of the cities they’re planning to visit.”
Library Journal

“Pittsburgh hasn’t inspired many crime novelists to use its haunts for settings in the way that Boston, Baltimore, Seattle and even Cleveland have. Now that’s changed with the publication of Pittsburgh Noir, an anthology of short stories by writers who draw on the cityscape to ground their tales.”
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Noir [is] a set of varied and novel approaches to dark fiction that give a taste of a specific place in Pittsburgh, without trying too hard to pander or take advantage of ages-old Pittsburgh media tropes.”
Pittsburgh City Paper

“Whether searching for sheer entertainment or ugly truths, you will find what you are looking for in this substantial selection.”


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: Stewart O’Nan, Hilary Masters, Lila Shaara, Rebecca Drake, Kathleen George, Paul Lee, K. C. Constantine, Nancy Martin, Kathryn Miller Haines, Terrance Hayes, Carlos Delgado, Aubrey Hirsch, Tom Lipinski, and Reginald McKnight.

From the introduction by Kathleen George:

When the steel business faltered and died, ‘the smoky city’ reinvented itself as a white-collar urban site, fueled by its thriving universities. It had been a place so dark with pollution in the steel days that men carried clean shirts with them to work in order to change during the day. Now you can see the hills, the rivers, the rhythmic skyline—and as the cameras are fond of displaying at sports events, the city is now glittering and beautiful . . .

What is Pittsburgh to noir and noir to Pittsburgh? We certainly have our rough streets and grisly murders. But dark crime stories depend on something in addition to killing. The best examples of the genre revolve around private moralities and private law; they are the stories of people pushing against real or imagined oppression. In Pittsburgh Noir, as in most of the novels and films that gave the genre its name, the real story is the dark underbelly of existence, the fear and guilt and rebellion and denial in regular people: the woman buying groceries, the man grilling hot dogs. Their secret lives.

Table of Contents


Part I: Prime Real Estate
“Atom Smasher” by Lila Shaara (Forest Hills)
“Still Air” by Terrance Hayes (East Liberty)
“Duplex” by Steward O’Nan (Bloomfield)

Part II: Three Rivers
“Pray for Rain” by Nancy Martin (Highland Park)
“A Minor Extinction” by Paul Lee (Carrick)
“When Johnny Came Shuffling Home” by K.C. Constantine (McKees Rocks)

Part III: Universities, Park, Recreation
“Intruder” by Kathleen George (Schenley Farms)
“Loaded” by Rebecca Drake (Fox Chapel)
“Far Beneath” by Carlos Antonio Delgado (Morningside)

Part IV: Neighbors Who Care
“At the Buena Vista” by Hilary Masters (Mexican War Streets)
“Homecoming” by Kathryn Miller Haines (Wilkinsburg)
“Cheater” by Aubrey Hirsch (Squirrel Hill)
“Key Drop” by Tom Lipinski (Lawrenceville)
“Overheard” by Reginald McKnight (Homewood)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 5/17/11
  • IBSN: 9781936070930
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750427


KATHLEEN GEORGE is the Edgar Award–nominated author of the Richard Christie novels set in Pittsburgh, and the editor of Pittsburgh Noir. She is a professor of theater arts at the University of Pittsburgh.

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