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USA Noir

Edited by:

The best USA-based stories in the Akashic noir series, compiled into one volume and edited by Johnny Temple!

$25.95 $19.46

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“All the heavy hitters . . . came out for USA Noir . . . an important anthology of stories shrewdly culled by Johnny Temple.”
New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

One of Zoom Street Magazine‘s Favorite Books of 2014

Indie Books Roundup #1 Pick, Barnes & Noble Blog

Included in Zoom Street Magazine‘s Summer Reading (Mysteries/Noir) Roundup

One of 100 Best Books for Readers Young and Old, HispanicBusiness.com

“Readers will be hard put to find a better collection of short stories in any genre.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A must read for mystery fans, not just devotees of Akashic’s ‘Noir’ series, this anthology serves as both an introduction for newcomers and a greatest-hits package for regular readers of the series . . . There isn’t a weak story in the collection . . . Strongly recommended for readers who enjoy mysteries published by Hard Case Crime, as well as for fans of police procedurals.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“The 37 stories in this collection represent the best of the U.S.-based anthologies, and the list of contributors include virtually anyone who’s made the best-seller list with a work of crime fiction in the last decade . . . a must-have anthology.”
Booklist (starred review)

“It’s hard to imagine how the present anthology could be topped for sheer marquee appeal . . . Perhaps the single most impressive feature of the collection is its range of voices, from Joyce Carol Oates’ faux innocent young family to Megan Abbott’s impressionable high school kids to the chorus of peremptory voices S.J. Rozan plants in a haunted thief’s head. Eat your heart out, Walt Whitman: These are the folks who hear America singing, and moaning and screaming.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A less enlightened Temple cover collection of crime and mystery stories could easily reduce itself to stereotypical cartoons about white detectives with a whiskey bottle and a gun in the drawer but Akashic’s series takes itself very seriously in its mission to represent all aspects of a city’s dark side.”
Kirkus Reviews, Feature Story/Interview with Johnny Temple

“For those who prefer their crime closer to home, there is USA Noir, a veritable greatest hits of Akashic’s long-running, acclaimed noir anthology series, rounding up solid gold blackness of the bleakest and darkest kind . . . Like Chuck Berry sang, ‘Anything you want, we got right here in the USA.'”
Mystery Scene Magazine

“In USA Noir we are treated to range of tales by accomplished writers, and reflecting the diversity of the nation. Each draws on the dark worlds, flawed characters, and jaded mood intrinsic to the genre we have come to call Noir. If you’re a fan, you’re in for a real treat. If you’re not a fan, try it—you just might change your mind.”
Reviewing the Evidence

“The stories in USA Noir keep the reader guessing and waiting for the unavoidable plot twist at the end without having to sit through chapters of character development or side stories. Like good noir, everything is quick and dirty, keeps the reader engaged and shows that there is a little sex, violence and sleaziness in all of us, regardless of location.”
Denver Post’s Yourhub

“So, thanks a million to antho editor and Akashic Books head honcho Johnny Temple for doing such a crackerjack job of overloading my schedule with these dark and dirty pleasures.”
Austin Chronicle

“The sultry, mysterious tone plays out like Lynch writing an old pulp paperback. Much to love here.”
Metro Times Blog (Detroit)

“In a way, the noir series at Akashic has always been a best of so you can’t really miss picking this one up.”
Brooklyn Based

“This is, without question, a must-have collection that serves equally well as an introduction to each of the authors as it does the Noir series itself. Regardless if you read the stories in the order presented, or go directly to those by some of your favorites, you’ll find USA Noir on your nightstand or reading table for many nights.”

“This book is full of little gems that can be picked up, read and enjoyed in less than 10 minutes, and as the mother of a young child, this collection is the perfect answer when all I have is a few minutes of uninterrupted reading time.”
NY Spender

“An excellent cross-section of today’s noir writers.”
SKJAM! Reviews

“For Christmas, someone could give me USA Noir: Best of the Akashic Noir Series—a good way to offset all the goodwill and frivolity.”
The Observer (UK), part of The Observer‘s Books of the Year

“Hold the eggnog: What you need is a draft of ‘edgy fatalism and sexy recklessness,’ of flashy crime, gallows humor, and ‘desperate deals with a variety of devils,’ served up every year since 2004 by the editors of Akashic Books’ brilliant noir anthologies. From Brooklyn to Boston, from Phoenix to pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans, each volume in the series reveals a city’s distinctive inner darkness.”
O, the Oprah Magazine

“Over the past few years, some of the best collections of short stories have been the Noir anthologies published by Akashic . . . To me, these collections are total gems, a quality read from some of today’s best authors.”
—Oline Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel


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.

Featuring stories by: Dennis Lehane, Don Winslow, Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, Susan Straight, Jonathan Safran Foer, Laura Lippman, Pete Hamill, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Child, T. Jefferson Parker, Lawrence Block, Terrance Hayes, Jerome Charyn, Jeffery Deaver, Maggie Estep, Bayo Ojikutu, Tim McLoughlin, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Reed Farrel Coleman, Megan Abbott, Elyssa East, James W. Hall, J. Malcolm Garcia, Julie Smith, Joseph Bruchac, Pir Rothenberg, Luis Alberto Urrea, Domenic Stansberry, John O’Brien, S.J. Rozan, Asali Solomon, William Kent Krueger, Tim Broderick, Bharti Kirchner, Karen Karbo, and Lisa Sandlin.

From the introduction by Johnny Temple:

“From the start, the heart and soul of Akashic Books has been dark, provocative, well-crafted tales from the disenfranchised. I learned early on that writings from outside the mainstream almost necessarily coincide with a mood and spirit of noir, and are composed by authors whose life circumstances often place them in environs exposed to crime . . . This volume serves up a top-shelf selection of stories from the series set in the United States. USA Noir only scratches the surface, however, and every single volume has gems on offer.”

Table of Contents


Part I: True Grit

Dennis Lehane, “Animal Rescue,” Dorchester, Boston Noir
George Pelecanos, “The Confidential Informant,” Park View, NW, DC Noir
Susan Straight, “The Golden Gopher,” Downtown, Los Angeles Noir
Pete Hamill, “The Book Signing,” Park Slope, Brooklyn Noir
Joyce Carol Oates, “Run Kiss Daddy,” Kittatinny Mountains, New Jersey Noir
Terrance Hayes, “Still Air,” East Liberty, Pittsburgh Noir
Jerome Charyn, “White Trash,” Claremont/Concourse, Bronx Noir

Part II: American Values

Maggie Estep, “Alice Fantastic,” Aqueduct Racetrack, Queens Noir
Bayo Ojikutu, “The Gospel of Moral Ends,” 77th & Jeffery, Chicago Noir
Tim McLoughlin, “When All This Was Bay Ridge,” Sunset Park, Brooklyn Noir
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, “Crazy for You,” Costa Mesa, Orange County Noir
Reed Farrel Coleman, “Mastermind,” Selden, Long Island Noir
Karen Karbo, “The Clown and Bard,” SE Twenty-Eighth Avenue, Portland Noir

Part III: Road Rage

Michael Connelly, “Mulholland Dive,” Mullholand Drive, Los Angeles Noir
Megan Abbott, “Our Eyes Couldn’t Stop Opening,” Alter Road, Detroit Noir
Lee Child, “Public Transportation,” Chandler, Phoenix Noir
Jonathan Safran Foer, “Too Near Real,” Princeton, New Jersey Noir
James W. Hall, “Ride Along,” Coconut Grove, Miami Noir
Elyssa East, “Second Chance,” Buzzards Bay, Cape Cod Noir

Part IV: Homeland Security

Don Winslow, “After Thirty,” Pacific Beach, San Diego Noir
J. Malcolm Garcia, “Missing Gene,” Troost Lake, Kansas City Noir
Julie Smith, “Loot,” Garden District, New Orleans Noir
Domenic Stansberry, “The Prison,” North Beach, San Francisco Noir
Joseph Bruchac, “Helper,” Adirondacks, Indian Country Noir
Laura Lippman, “Easy As A-B-C,” Locust Point, Baltimore Noir
Pir Rothenberg, “The Rose Red Vial,” Museum District, Richmond Noir

Part V: Under the Influence

Luis Alberto Urrea, “Amapola,” Paradise Valley, Phoenix Noir
John O’Brien, “The Tik,” Scotch 80s, Las Vegas Noir
S.J. Rozan, “Lighthouse,” St. George, Staten Island Noir
Asali Solomon, “Secret Pool,” West Philadelphia, Philadelphia Noir
William Kent Kruger, “Bums,” West Side, St. Paul, Twin Cities Noir

Part VI: Street Justice

T. Jefferson Parker, “Vic Primeval,” Kearny Mesa, San Diego Noir
Tim Broderick, “Feeding Frenzy,” 40 Wall Street, Wall Street Noir
Bharti Kirchner “Promised Tulips,” Wallingford, Seattle Noir
Lawrence Block, “If You Can’t Stand the Heat,” Clinton, Manhattan Noir
Lisa Sandlin, “Phelan’s First Case,” Beaumont, Lone Star Noir
Jeffery Deaver, “A Nice Place to Visit,” Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan Noir

Book Details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Published: 11/5/13
  • IBSN: 9781617751844
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751998


JOHNNY TEMPLE is the publisher and editor in chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction. Temple won the 2013 Ellery Queen Award; the American Association of Publishers’ 2005 Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing; and the 2010 Jay and Deen Kogan Award for Excellence in Noir Literature. Temple plays bass guitar in the band Girls Against Boys, which has toured extensively across the globe and released numerous albums on independent and major record companies. He has contributed articles and political essays to various publications, including the Nation, Publishers Weekly, AlterNet, Poets & Writers, and BookForum. He is also the chair of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which works with Brooklyn’s borough president to plan the annual Brooklyn Book Festival in September. He is the editor of USA Noir.

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