BOSTON NOIR edited by Dennis Lehane

Book Quote:

“One of the recurrent themes of noir has always been the search for home. Not home in the physical sense – though that does happen – but in the irrational, emotional sense. The heroes and heroines of noir are usually chasing something they couldn’t hold even if they caught up to it. Some part of them understands the futility of the chase even as another part clings to the need for it. This is probably why, if only to alleviate the pain of waiting, they chase something else in the meantime – a lover, a bank job, the murder of an inconvenient spouse. Yet the home being searched for in these pages might be Boston, and the journey to find it – however fruitless that goal may turn out to be – is as rich and varied, as hilarious and sad, and ultimately as engaging as the city itself.”
From Dennis Lehane’s Introduction

Book Review:

Review by Chris C.T. Terry (NOV 5, 2009)

Boston Noir is one of the latest releases in Akashic Books’ mighty Noir Series. Each collection offers around a dozen new short stories from a city’s literary luminaries. The stories are all tough, bleak and crime-related and they have specific neighborhood settings in the featured city.

Boston Noir is edited by Dennis Lehane, a masterful crime writer whose work transcends the shackles of genre fiction to become plain ol’ great literature. Two of his novels, Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, have been made into movies and he has written for the HBO television series The Wire. He also contributes a piece to this collection, “Animal Rescue,” a story about a Dorchester tough guy who finds an abused dog.

Other highlights of the collection include Russ Aborn’s George V. Higgins-esque 1970s robber caper “Turn Speed,” the kidnapping in Jim Fusilli’s “The Place Where He Belongs,” the feuding writers in Don Lee’s “The Oriental Hair Poets,” and the camaraderie between convict and citizen in “Dark Water” by Patricia Powell.

The stories are set across Boston and even in some suburbs. Beacon Hill, Roxbury, Brookline and the North End all appear on the page. The characters range from bourgeois black artists, to Catholic priests, to knucklehead gangsters, to classic private eyes.

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country, and its rich history is mined for material, too. The gumshoe in” The Dark Island” by Brendan Dubois is a recent veteran of World War II, and the innkeeper in Dana Cameron’s “Femme Sole” probably remembers the American Revolution.

I had my own favorite stories in Boston Noir, but those are stories that stuck with me because of my own tastes and interests, not because the other stories were lacking in any way. Boston Noir is a worthy read for any fan of crime writing, especially someone with an attachment to Boston. This book is a perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend from New England who still drops their R’s even though they’ve lived in Seattle for fifteen years. And hey, if you’ve got a friend from another city, have a look at the list of Akashic’s other Noir titles. Their hometown is probably represented.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 15 readers
PUBLISHER: Akashic Books (November 1, 2009)
REVIEWER: Chris “C.T.” Terry
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Official website for Dennis Lehane
EXTRAS: Akashic Books website
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Visit our Dennis Lehane page

Read our review of:

Philadelphia Noir

San Francisco Noir 2

New Orleans Noir

Mexico City Noir

Moscow  Noir


Books in the Akashic Noir Series (Alphabetical Order):

November 5, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: NE & New York, Noir, Short Stories

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