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 Treasure Chest” by Sofia Quintero

Giselle slid in her green contact lenses before slipping out the back door and tottering in her stilettos across the parking lot to Chief’s car. When she opened the passenger door, she was greeted with the smoke of his nasty cigarette and a bouquet of blue hydrangeas. “For me?” She picked them up off the seat, eased into their place, and leaned over to plant a kiss on Chief’s cheek . . .

“Living Fossil” by Ben Nadler

Shy and his cousin Adam stood thigh-deep in Jamaica Bay, grabbing horseshoe crabs by their long tails and throwing them into the boat. Shy tossed them gently; Adam swung them down hard. The moon was round and bright like a police searchlight, which scared Shy, but Adam had explained that horseshoe crabs came up on the shore to spawn during summer full moons, and this was the time to make their score . . .

“Laffey Minor” by Seamus Scanlon

The new teacher, Mister Moran, was on an exchange program from New York. Our school was a nickname maelstrom—Ghoul, Moose, Bull, Scab, Pox-face, Arse-brain. He was Moron straight off. He got off easy. You should have seen him . . .

“The Alderman” by Vincent Francone

“I wanted him dead because of the foie gras ban. He was the guy who got it banned in Chicago. And he’s my alderman. I’ve lived in Rogers Park my whole life. I’ve seen a lot of asshole politicians come and go, a lot of machine Democrats and Daley patsies, but this guy is the worst . . .”

“The Murdered Ghost” by Timmy Reed

There was a murdered corpse found across the street from us, on the top floor of the vacant house at the end of the block, across the alley from the KFC. The house is no longer vacant. It has been renovated and new tenants have moved into the apartment where the body was found. There are only a couple of vacant houses left in the row now, and all of the units on our side of the street are full; I see the windows lit up like eyes in the masonry on my way home at night. The neighborhood is changing . . .

“Lluvia, leche y sangre” by John Manuel Arias

Without realizing it, she had bludgeoned him to death with a statue of La Virgen de los Ángeles.

But how had it killed him? It was just a hollow, bronze replica of the black Madonna and child. Was it because it was filled with holy water? Or because she had slammed it like a machete into sugar cane?

“Death at a Farmer’s Market” by Adam Rosen

“How much is this?” the middle-aged man asked, irritated. He pointed a finger at a bunch of lacinato kale—fresh in, a chalk-marked sign indicated, from a farm outside Hickory. He had been waiting at the stand for five minutes, and was not about to wait a minute longer.

“Four-fifty,” said the man behind the table. He looked too old to still be farming, and he spoke softly. It was hard to hear him over the banjo playing nearby. The upright bass didn’t make it any easier. “That’s fresh in from Hick’ry.”

“That’s what the sign says!” replied the man as he stuffed two bunches into his tote. The WNCW logo covered the canvas bag in big blue letters that nobody could miss. “I usually do rainbow chard, but it’s disgusting this week. It looks like it’s from the SuperSaver.”

“Well, we’re the freshest,” said the farmer, smiling sweetly . . .