Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

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Category: Mondays Are Murder

Mondays Are Murder: Original Noir Fiction to Get Your Week off to a Dark Start

Launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir, our award-winning city-based Noir Series now has over 60 volumes in print, with many more to come. Each volume is overseen by an editor with intimate knowledge of the title city; each story is brand new from a local author, and each is set within a distinct neighborhood or location.

While we’ve been thrilled to publish the original works of over 800 authors in the series, we still long for more. And while we are constantly seeking homegrown editors with native knowledge of national and international cities not yet visited by the series, we’re eager to dig deeper.

Mondays Are Murder allows us to offer a glimpse of cities not yet seen, neighborhoods or hidden corners not yet explored in previous volumes, and, we hope, writers not yet exposed to our company. Contributions to the Akashic Noir Series are bound by mood: our authors are challenged to capture the sometimes intangible moods of “noir” and of “place”. The stories run the gamut from darkly-toned literary glimpses to straight-up crime fiction, while similarly capturing the unique aura of the story’s location.

Our web model for the series has one further dimension: A 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

“The Girl Who Died Twice” by Sharyn Kolberg

They say she was buried alive. Rufina Cambaceres was a great beauty on the eve of her nineteenth birthday when a friend whispered in her ear a terrible secret: Rufina’s beloved fiancé was having an affair with Rufina’s own mother. Rufina collapsed to the floor. Three doctors declared her dead; they did not know her heart still beat, however slowly.

She was interred until a few days later, when workers heard her scream. When they unburied her there were scratches on her face and on the coffin lid from her attempts to escape. They were too late to save her. Her mother then had her laid above ground in a white marble mausoleum, her coffin behind a glass wall so that if the lid should ever rise again, everyone could see . . .

“Lady Luck” by Narween Otto

“Mum! What did you do with my curling iron?”

Trinh’s voice tumbles down the staircase. There is an uncomfortable silence at the table as Leah avoids the glances of her friends . . .

“Nightfiends” by Rob Hill

The riffraff of Tompkins Square wear wool jackets in the humid night, perhaps in defiance of the elements. The squirrels aren’t panhandling as usual. They’re preoccupied with something in the weeds behind a bench, what looks to your eye like a mangled piece of bread or a crumpled paper bag. A closer look reveals a human hand . . .

“Murder at the Apthorp” by E.B. Miele

Mid-eighties Manhattan, when the weird were weirder, the dirty dirtier, and neon orange tits pulsed the heart of Times Square. When hookers in hot pants and platforms sneered at the down-and-outers on 96th and Broadway, and even the cushiest berth, like the Apthorp, with its locked gates and classy facade, hid horror . . .

“Humboldt Park” by Kevin Kilroy

Because of the incessant drumming on congas, radios blasting salsa or narcocorridos. Because flatbed trucks pull up and sell watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, grapes off the back. Because there is nothing as nice as a nap in the grass while watching a woman walk past. Because plantains fry nice, pork’s sabor when slow-cooked in its own fat, rice and beans is enough in the stomach to drink all day. Because lengua, sesos, and chicharrones are a taste acquired by those nostalgic for elsewhere. Because life is glorious when there is so much on the line. Because it was winter. Because the blue-sky illusion of warmth persuaded me to go to Humboldt Park that day. To visit Umberto, as Jose Luis tipped me to do, as he served breakfast tacos where North Avenue intersects with California . . .