San Francisco Noir

San Francisco Noir

by Peter Maravelis

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The first true noir fiction collection from a city that put film noir on the map.See more details below


The first true noir fiction collection from a city that put film noir on the map.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
"This is one book that should come with a scrip for Valium. If you do not feel jumpy or paranoid after reading San Francisco Noir, an entertaining anthology of overheated short stories by local writers -- you did not read it. As Peter Maravelis, the editor, observes in his introduction, 'These hard-biting stories explore San Francisco's shadowy nether regions in their sinister splendor,' although 'splendor' might not be the first word that will occur to you for these 15 new tales set in 15 parts of town. 'Beauty and treachery walk hand in hand. Welcome to a peninsula of broken dreams, shattered lives, and deadly liaisons....."
Sun., Oct. 2, 2005
7x7 Magazine
"Take an intermission from your Hitchcock marathon, and turn instead to the 15 stories between the covers of San Francisco Noir for the SF-based suspense you crave. Luring you deep into the criminal heritage of your own backyard, each piece in the collection transcends the traditional elements of noir and helps redefine the moody genre. Set in shadowy locations throughout the city, the inclusions range from Michelle Tea's Bernal Heights spine-tingler, 'Larry's Place,' to Barry Gifford's Bayview tale, 'After Hours at La Chinita,' to Robert Mailer Anderson's Richmond District thriller, 'Briley Boy' . . . Haunting and often surprisingly poignant, these accounts of death, love and all things pulp fiction will lead you into unexpected corners of a city known to steal people's hearts -- as well as into the unexplored realms of the human condition."
September 2005
OUT Traveler
"The latest in the indie powerhouse's noir lit series . . . features strong literary voices."
Sept/Oct. 2005
Publishers Weekly
A roster of Bay Area authors lends solid street cred to 15 original stories, but few deliver on the elusive noir premise of this new series. Following the success of Brooklyn Noir (2004), Akashic has launched a set of anthologies in which each story takes place in a distinct neighborhood in a different city. In his introduction, Maravelis perhaps overcomplicates the idea when he asks, "What happens when the history of a city begins to disappear? What happens to literature when it feeds upon the ruins of amnesia?" Most of the stories-by Alejandro Murgu a, Kate Braverman and others-feel as if they were written for a general literary anthology, all good enough but hardly satisfying as noir. Contemporary noir titan Jim Nisbet especially disappoints, with a vaguely science fictional vignette about a futuristic suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Saving the day, Domenic Stansberry and Eddie Muller deliver genuinely haunting noir fiction, Michelle Tea does a nice modern-day homage to the form, and Peter Plate nails down the violently absurd Willefordian side of the genre with a tale about a Bad Santa knocking over a pot club. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Dust off those black-and-white TVs. The success of Akashic Books's Brooklyn Noir anthology has spawned a series of successors, of which these are just two. Both are geographically focused and contain original stories by emerging writers. Of the two, San Francisco Noir gets the nod, if only because it seems closer to its noir roots. David Corbett's "It Can Happen" delivers a tightly plotted story of family inheritance that would fit neatly into the pages of Black Mask. Reflecting changing conditions, multicultural authors are well represented here, and female writers definitely make their mark. Kate Braverman's wittily observed tale of the love/hate relationship between two Sex and the City types is topped only by Michelle Tea's story of a prostitute who just can't say enough about her Bernal Heights hideaway. Eddie Muller shows off his noir bona fides in a pitch-perfect story of a long day that ends on a lucky note. The Chicago volume pays homage to the city's musical, criminal, and gritty past, with strong efforts by Joe Meno, Kevin Guilfoile, and Neal Pollack. Each might have served as the basis for a Twilight Zone episode. Promised future volumes include one on Washington, DC, edited by George Pelacanos, and one on Dublin, edited by Ken Bruen. There's enough here to cause us to want more. For all larger public libraries.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Akashic Books
Publication date:
Akashic Noir Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Maravelis is a native San Franciscan with a life-long involvement in the art and literary scenes. He programs the events calendar at City Lights Bookstore and is editor of the first volume of San Francisco Noir. He's been known to occasionally moonlight with PIs. He was the editor of the first volume of San Francisco Noir.

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Read an Excerpt

San Francisco Noir

Akashic Books

ISBN: 1-888451-91-2

Chapter One


The Bayview

Spooky backside of town, Third Street, San Francisco, late at night, in a motel office. The furnishings were shabby. La Chinita, once an elegant, Spanish-style motel built in the 1930s, was now, in 1963, run down; paint was peeling off the walls and the wooden registration desk was chipped and gouged. A decrepit, moth-eaten easy chair and a few other rickety wickers with ripped seats and backs were placed against the walls. Hanging blinds, with several slats missing or broken, covered the glass-paned door. The office was clean, however, and presided over by a bespectacled woman who looked to be in her mid-sixties. She was seated in a lounge chair in front of the desk, knitting and humming softly to herself. Her name was Vermillion Chaney. The tune she was humming was "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." It was two weeks before Christmas. The telephone behind the motel desk rang. Vermillion did not move. The telephone continued to ring. It was as if Vermillion did not hear it. The telephone rang eight times before it finally stopped. After the ringing stopped, Vermillion put down her knitting, stood up and walked behind the registration desk, picked up the telephone receiver, and dialed a number.

"Was that you just called?" Vermillion asked into the phone. "Um, okay. Don't matter. What you doin', anyway? Sure I know it's 3 o'clock in the mornin', I'm at work!"

Vermillion hung up thephone. She came back around the desk, sat back down in her chair, and resumed knitting. She started singing again, only this time was "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." The office door began to shake. Somebody was trying to open it but the door was locked. This was followed by a loud knocking. The knocking was hard, insistent.

From behind the door came a woman's scream. "Open up! Open the door!"

Vermillion stopped singing and stared at the door. The knocking continued. The woman's voice became hysterical.

"You got to help me! Open up!"

Vermillion put down her knitting, got up, and went to the door. She looked out through one of the missing slats as the woman outside continued to yell.

"Miz Chaney, it's me! Revancha!"

Vermillion unlocked the door and a woman in her early twenties burst into the office, forcing the older woman back as she brushed past her.

"Shut it!" said Revancha. "Lock the door before he gets here!"

Vermillion stared at the young woman who was half-dressed, wearing only a bra and panties. Clutched to her chest were other garments. Vermillion closed the door. Revancha ran back to it and fastened the chain lock.

"What's goin' on, Revancha? You look like a chicken in a bag full of snakes."

Revancha retreated from the door and stopped with her back against the desk.

"He beatin' on me, Miz Chaney! Chokin' me! Usin' a strap!"

"Man get what he pay for."

"He gone too far, cat flip his wig. Call for security!"

Vermillion walked back behind the desk, reached down, and came up with a revolver in her right hand.

"This is the onliest security I got tonight, baby."

"Where's Myron?" asked Revancha.

Vermillion shook her head. "He out the loop. Fool got hisself arrested yestiday for receivin' stolen property. Fake beaver coats. Can you beat that? I'm alone here this evenin'."

The office door started to shake.

A man shouted, "Vermillion! Let me in!" He rattled the door.

"Don't do it, Miz Chaney!" said Revancha.

"Bitch stole my pants!"

"You'd best go on, Ray," said Vermillion.

"Not without my pants!"

Vermillion looked at Revancha.

"You got Ray's pants?"

"I scooped it all up, what was piled on the floor. Thought maybe he wouldn't follow me."

"Man ain't gonna go away without you give up his trousers."

Ray forced himself against the door, breaking the lock on the handle. Only the chain now prevented him from opening it. He stuck his hand through and attempted to undo the chain.

"Don't do it, Ray," said Vermillion, "I got a piece."

Ray pushed against the door, breaking the chain. The door flew open and Ray entered. He was a handsome man in his mid-thirties, wearing only a white dress shirt, half unbuttoned, under-shorts, socks, and shoes. He moved toward Revancha.


Excerpted from San Francisco Noir Excerpted by permission.
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.

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