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.

“Simple Deadly Cravings” by Kerime B. Toksu

Tiny red potatoes sizzled on the stove as Mel rolled kale with one hand, slicing it into ribbons with the other.

“Root vegetable chowder,” she told me as I unwound my heavy wool scarf. I must have given her a look because she added, “with maple syrup,” as though this would make it better . . .

“What It Takes to Live” by Alexios Moore

There had, at one time before Katrina, been a park, perhaps beneath his feet, right where a surveyor had discovered the young woman’s body. Ike couldn’t tell anymore. There was just this no-man’s-land of tall weeds between the levee and the Brad Pitt houses, their solar panels absorbing the mid-morning sun . . .

“The Kid and the Cat (or the Pit and the Pabulum)” by Charles Parness

It’s all been falling apart now for the last eight days—I needn’t mention the other times. I don’t think they’re important. Silly thing, really: I picked a basket of cherries, pit them, and went to put them in the freezer—pie, I’m thinking—and they dropped all over the floor. I stared at them down there and got down and punched the floor, screaming something (I didn’t think it was important to remember). Then I went to bed for eight days . . .

“Lazy Gangsters” by Jen Kitses

Officer Leon James slipped out the back door of the Quayside Oil Company, where he worked part-time as a security guard on the overnight shift. In his hand was a paper bag containing the cold meatball sub that he brought from home but had forgotten to eat. Instead, he’d spent his break dozing in an office chair, his chin nodding toward his chest . . .

“Off the Record” by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

She came up to me in the parking lot behind the Slung Rig after the show. The lot reeked of piss, puke, and exiled pizza scraps. Even the rats were too finicky to troll around this Hamden hole, where headbangers and punkers partied or balled inside their cars whenever there was a gig. Those who could get it on around this stench had a better constitution than me—that, or some sort of mutant fetish, but hell, that’s mutants for you . . .

“Duct Tape” by Heather Dune Macadam

The bells of the village clang. Sunlight bounces over both steeples and through the curtains. Periwinkle shutters open onto the square, and from the street, the beginning chatter of our neighbors heading up the lane to meet the bread van floats in on the breeze. A minute later, the other set of bells on the other church sound . . .

“A Different League” by Carrie Cuinn

Two a.m. at The State Diner came with a refill on my half-drunk coffee and an impatient smile on the lips of the waitress who’d been hovering nearby. My appointment was late, but my wallet was empty, so I couldn’t afford to leave. A week of poor sleep, too much caffeine, and more than one drive-thru meal meant my stomach was churning like the Buttermilk Falls after a storm, but I glanced over the menu anyway . . .

“Music Capital of the World” by Joe Canzano

So Johnny Fizz was dead and now it was my problem.

Not because I was some hotshot Austin cop working the 6th Street district, wrestling with drunken punks the way Stevie Ray had wrestled with that fire-breathing Strat. No, it was my problem because I’d played in a band with Johnny for years, and I knew at least a hundred people who wanted to see him with his head blown off . . .