Boston Noir 2: The Classics

Boston Noir 2: The Classics

by Dennis Lehane, Mary Cotton, Jaime Clarke
     
 

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Boston Noir 2: The Classics is now a Boston Globe best seller!

"The contributor list is delightfully quirky...The collection's unifying element is a deep understanding of Boston's Byzantine worlds of race and class--as seen terrifyingly in Andre Dubus's tale of milltown resentment and pampered preppies."
--Boston

Overview

Boston Noir 2: The Classics is now a Boston Globe best seller!

"The contributor list is delightfully quirky...The collection's unifying element is a deep understanding of Boston's Byzantine worlds of race and class--as seen terrifyingly in Andre Dubus's tale of milltown resentment and pampered preppies."
--Boston Globe

"14 superior selections in this 'classics' volume in Akashic's series of regional dark crime short stories, the works of established writers that have stood the test of time."
--Publishers Weekly

"This collection features crime stories that have already been published. But that's OK when you have the likes of Chuck Hogan, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert B. Parker, Linda Barnes, George V. Higgins, Dennis Lehane, and David Foster Wallace all under the same roof...Followers of Akashic's long-running Noir series--not to mention, of course, fans of Boston-set crime fiction--should eagerly devour this one."
--Booklist

"These stories take place in neighborhoods you know well, and that can drive a reader crazy as well as entice him or her, but the read is worth it."
--Boston Column, Summer Reading pick

Boston Noir 2: The Classics is a thorough representation of what noir has been, is, and continues to become . . . The shadows over Boston are those of Bogart, leaning into the spotlight with that complexity of soul, that derisive navigation of morality and deviance. . . The shadows on this cover prepare the tone, that these thin darknesses can be willed into corruption with little effort, and the reader will learn the ease of giving into it.”
--HTML Giant

"There are few gifts I enjoy more than a box of chocolates. The very best surprise me, each candy layered with unexpected delights that leave me hungry for more. The same may be said of Boston Noir 2. It's a collection of dark short stories by names you know, set in places familiar to Bostonians. Edited by Dorchester's crime fiction king and Hollywood darling, Dennis Lehane...Boston Noir 2 overflows with stories from some of the best writers of our time...This is the perfect book to open after a long day...The danger, of course, is that at the end of each story, you'll go for just one more and stay up well past your bedtime. My advice? Indulge."
--Patriot Ledger

Classic reprints from: Classic short fiction reprints from: George Harrar, George V. Higgins, Dennis Lehane, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert B. Parker, Hannah Tinti, Abraham Verghese, David Foster Wallace, and others.

Dennis Lehane is the author of the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro mystery series (A Drink Before the War; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; and Moonlight Mile), as well as Coronado (five stories and a play) and the award-winning novels Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day. Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone have been made into award-winning films. In 2009 he edited the best-selling anthology Boston Noir for Akashic Books.

Mary Cotton is the pseudonymous author of nine novels for young adults, six of them New York Times bestsellers. She is also a fiction editor for the literary magazine Post Road, and is co-editor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. She is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jaime Clarke is the author of the novel We're So Famous, editor of Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes, and Conversations with Jonathan Lethem, and co-editor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. He is a founding editor of Post Road and has taught creative writing at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Emerson College. He is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston, Massachusetts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The 14 superior selections in this “classics” volume in Akashic’s series of regional dark crime short stories, the works of established writers that have stood the test of time, collectively outshine the originals that appeared in Boston Noir. Perhaps the highlight is Linda Barnes’s “Lucky Penny,” about a female PI who must drive a cab to make ends meet. Three entries are excerpts from novels. The one taken from Barbara Neely’s Blanche Cleans Up, which featuresa cleaning-lady detective in Brookline, succeeds as a stand-alone, while another, a section of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, does not.Locale figures prominently in all the stories, especially Chuck Hogan’s clever “The Marriage Privilege,” set in West Roxbury. And no such volume would be complete without Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, who would be a cod out of water anywhere but Boston, represented by the taut “Surrogate,” a story that hasn’t appeared widely in the U.S. before. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Boston is a very diverse city, and Boston Noir 2 manages to offer readers a satisfying taste of some of the best classic noir literature the metropolis has to offer. Just like all previous books in this series from Akashic Books, this one is highly recommended."
Verbicide Magazine

"In a bloody tribute to this great city, Lehane and company have resurrected several out-of-print classics and pushed the meaning of noir into peculiar places… For those unfamiliar with Greater Boston and its literary heritage, Boston Noir 2: the Classics is a great place to start."
—Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

"Akashic Books is this edgy press that you may or may not have heard of...Their noir series is sure to please fans of noir, and I recommend picking up one of the many titles, perhaps beginning with Boston Noir 2: The Classics...with contributors like David Foster Wallace, Joyce Carol Oates and Andre Dubus, how can you go wrong with Boston Noir 2: The Classics?"
Sacramento Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617751455
Publisher:
Akashic Books
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Series:
Akashic Noir Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
250
Sales rank:
756,523
File size:
444 KB

Read an Excerpt

Boston Noir 2

The Classics

Akashic Books

Copyright © 2012 Akashic Books
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61775-136-3


Introduction

They Look Like You and Me

There's a mysterious phenomenon particular to Boston involving the network of underground and aboveground trains that form the spiderweb of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, known colloquially as the T. The city's subway employs a directional concept known as Inbound and Outbound, which confounds and baffles tourists and transient college students alike, since it's not readily evident what exactly Inbound and Outbound are in relation to. Any number of theories persist: toward the Atlantic Ocean means Inbound, away means Outbound; toward the gold- capped State House in Beacon Hill designates Inbound, away from it is Outbound, and on and on. All guesses are reduced to just that when the Inbound train you're riding on suddenly and inexplicably transforms into an Outbound train by passing through some magical plane of existence.

What is noir and what is not inhabits a similarly gray area. Its definition is continually expanding from the previous generation's agreed-upon notion that noir involves men in fedoras smoking cigarettes on street corners. Noir alludes to crime, sure, but it also evokes bleak elements, danger, tragedy, sleaze, all of which is best represented by its root French definition: black. We used this idea as our guide for this sequel to the best-selling Boston Noir anthology, which was originally published in 2009. Whereas Boston Noir comprised brand-new pieces commissioned for the anthology, our charge here was to scour the body of Boston literature for previously published short stories and novel excerpts that best illuminate the dark corners of the Hub.

While the tales told within take place in the Boston metro area and its exburbs, the first story we agreed should be included unfolds north of the city, Andre Dubus's "Townies." One of the modern short story masters, Dubus's work is filled with grim circumstances and ersatz characters. His fiction could fill an entire volume of noir, and the unforgettable protagonist of "Townies" and his irrevocable act are as haunting as any ghost story.

Our search deep into the archives of Boston fiction turned up a priceless find: Robert B. Parker's short story "Surrogate," which features an early appearance of Spenser, his famous detective. It's rumored that "Surrogate" was commissioned by Playboy but never published there, appearing only in a limited-edition volume, then later in an anthology published in England. You're among the first to read it in a very long time.

We uncovered other gems as well: "The Marriage Privilege" by Chuck Hogan, which was previously published in the Boston College alumni magazine; and Linda Barnes's short story "Lucky Penny," which won a 1985 Anthony Award and also marked the first appearance of the towering cop-turned–private detective Carlotta Carlyle, who would star in ten of Barnes's hard-boiled detective novels; and Joyce Carol Oates writing occult fiction. You read that right.

The vast treasure trove of George V. Higgins's work made for long stretches of interesting and entertaining reading and when the arguing was over, "The Balance of the Day" became our favorite, second only to our desire to reprint Higgins's entire novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

Barbara Neely's four novels featuring Blanche White, a sharp-tongued, middle-aged black cleaning woman, are sadly out of print. The excerpt from Blanche Cleans Up anthologized here features an amateur private detective in the unique position to investigate the death of a young black man from the inside of the Boston Brahmin politician's house she's currently cleaning.

Kenneth Abel's novel Bait, also unfairly out of print, shows us a gritty Boston populated by fascinating characters: brilliant (and not so brilliant) mob bosses and thugs, recovering alcoholic cops and the women who love them, and government officials trying desperately to look like they know what they're doing.

The late David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest is set partly in Enfield, a fictional Brighton. (Wallace lived for a time in Boston.) The novel is full of comedy, but is also filled with blackness, and the excerpt we've chosen is singular in its depravity.

Knowing that Hannah Tinti grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, the witch-burning capital of the country, won't prepare you for the grand noir soap opera she unfurls in her story "Home Sweet Home."

In the gradations of noir, the stories by Jason Brown, George Harrar, and David Ryan are perhaps on the subtle end, but they fall in the final act of this volume because they are deeply unsettling. That's fair warning.

For those of us lucky enough to call Boston home, the commonwealth is an endless source of fascinating landscapes: the autumnal light spreading across the Charles River; the ice floes in the wintry Boston Harbor; a spring air tantalizing leaves in Harvard Yard; the salty taste of summer as sunbathers peer into the horizon, shielding their eyes from the glare, squinting into the middle distance. Beyond the postcard fabric, though, lies a community populated by broken families, criminal minds, voyeurs, and outsiders. They look like you and me. These are their stories.

Jaime Clarke, Mary Cotton & Dennis Lehane Boston, MA September 2012

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Boston Noir 2 Copyright © 2012 by Akashic Books. Excerpted by permission of Akashic Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dennis Lehane is the author of the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro mystery series (A Drink Before the War; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; and Moonlight Mile), as well as Coronado (five stories and a play) and the award-winning novels Mystic River, Shutter Island, and The Given Day. Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone have been made into award-winning films. In 2009 he edited the best-selling anthology Boston Noir for Akashic Books.

Mary Cotton is the pseudonymous author of nine novels for young adults, six of them New York Times bestsellers. She is also a fiction editor for the literary magazine Post Road, and is coeditor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. She is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jaime Clarke is the author of the novel We're So Famous, editor of Don't You Forget About Me: Contemporary Writers on the Films of John Hughes, and Conversations with Jonathan Lethem, and coeditor of No Near Exit: Writers Select Their Favorite Work from Post Road. He is a founding editor of Post Road and has taught creative writing at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Emerson College. He is co-owner of Newtonville Books in Boston, Massachusetts.


Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
August 4, 1965
Place of Birth:
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Education:
B.A., Eckerd College, 1988; M.F.A., Florida International University, 1993
Website:
http://www.dennislehanebooks.com

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