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San Francisco Noir

Edited by:

San Francisco Noir lashes out with hard-biting tales exploring the shadowy nether regions of scenic “Baghdad by the Bay.”

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“An entertaining anthology of overheated short stories by local writers . . . Here the city becomes the central character, the strongest on the page.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“Reflecting changing conditions, multicultural authors are well represented here, and female writers definitely make their mark . . . There’s enough here to cause us to want more.”
—Library Journal

“Take an intermission from your Hitchcock marathon, and turn instead to the 15 stories between the covers of San Francisco Noir for the SF-based suspense you crave. Luring you deep into the criminal heritage of your own backyard, each piece of the collection transcends the traditional elements of noir and helps redefine the moody genre.”
—7×7 Magazine

“The protagonists of noir fiction have their own agendas, but for readers much of the pleasure is unraveling the mystery and deciphering the clues that constitute a city, and if there is a love story in noir writing it’s the passion of writers, readers, and protagonists for the gritty geographical details. As the bodies drop in the strong stories here, steep, fog-wrapped, fratricidal San Francisco comes alive: here are old neighborhoods, bars, bookstores, the famous and then forgotten landlord arson at 16th and Valencia, buried streams, streetcars, parks, a lost city and the new city haunting almost every page of this gorgeous anthology of San Francisco noir.”
—Rebecca Solnit

“I was wondering about the city’s shadowside that the guides didn’t show. These top writers are of the ‘As bad as it gets’ brand, and then worse. If you like puke, fear & loathing caused by stray bullets, happenstance getting the hero who is an anti-hero really, a male corpse rotting in the bathtub while the woman poops in the garden, the Reverend Christmas shot in the ear by the PO-lice, then this is your good read for a murky, maybe even gritty, weekend.”
—Janwillem van de Wetering

“San Francisco has long been a city of back alleys and black figures; this is its romantic map.”
—Michael Ray, Editor, Zoetrope All-Story

“It’s San Francisco-centric in this atmospheric collection of noir; hard-boiled and twisted. Dark, smooth fiction digging deep into different neighborhoods and ethnicities. The sound is pitch-perfect, too, from the understated staccato of old lost souls to the jiving rap of younger ones.”
—Cara Black


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: Barry Gifford, Robert Mailer Anderson, Michelle Tea, Peter Plate, Kate Braverman, Domenic Stansberry, David Corbett, Eddie Muller, Alejandro Murguía, Sin Soracco, Alvin Lu, John Longhi, Will Christopher Baer, Jim Nisbet, and David Henry Sterry.

From the introduction by Peter Maravelis:

San Francisco is a city shaped by protean forces. The fusion of terrain, weather, and seismic phenomena has produced an exquisitely volatile ecology. Hazardously steep hills lead into lush garden communities engulfed by banks of fog that roll through with regularity. The salty ocean air eats away at beachfront bungalows while constant tremors loosen the foundations of the most well-reinforced buildings. Skyscrapers built atop landfill haunt the dreams of jaded FEMA administrators, while insects the size of thumbnails threaten to crush local agribusiness. An eroding coastline offers even the staunchest of non-Buddhists a sobering meditation upon impermanence. These perilous conditions punctuate life on the edge of a continent. The divine travels on a collision course with the dangerous . . .

San Francisco Noir brings together a stellar cast of writers to help expose the psychogeography of a city. Hidden and repressed memories are a focal point, as some of the best local writers, inside and out of the genre of crime fiction, weave tales that speak of the elemental motifs that surface in everyday life.

Table of Contents


Part I: Edge City
“The Prison” by Domenic Stansberry (North Beach)
“It Can Happen” by David Corbett (Hunter’s Point)
“Double Espresso” by Sin Soracco (Russian River)
“After Hours at La Chinita” by Barry Gifford (The Bayview)

Part II: In Memoriam to Identity
“The Neutral Zone” by Kate Braverman (Fisherman’s Warf)
“Le Rouge et le Noir” by Alvin Lu (Chinatown)
“Larry’s Place” by Michelle Tea (Bernal Heights)
“The Other Barrio” by Alejandro Murguía (The Mission)

Part III: Neo-Noir
“From Genesis to Revelation” by Peter Plate (Market Street)
“Deception of the Thrush” by Will Christopher Baer (The Castro)
“Weight Less Than Shadow” by Jim Nisbet (Golden Gate Bridge)
“Fixed” by Jon Longhi (The Haight-Ashbury)

Part IV: Flowers of Romance
“Briley Boy” by Robert Mailer Anderson (The Richmond)
“Kid’s Last Fight” by Eddie Muller (South of Market)
“Confessions of a Sex Maniac” by David Henry Sterry (Polk Gulch)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Published: 10/1/05
  • IBSN: 9781888451917
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070442
  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • IBSN: 9781636140865


PETER MARAVELIS is a native San Franciscan with a life-long involvement in the art and literary scenes. He programs the events calendar at City Lights Bookstore and is editor of both San Francisco Noir and San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics. He’s been known to occasionally moonlight with private investigators.

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