Long Island Noir

Long Island Noir

by Kaylie Jones (Editor)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617750625
Publisher: Akashic Books
Publication date: 04/30/2012
Series: Akashic Noir Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 850,204
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kaylie Jones: Kaylie Jones moved to Sagaponack in 1975, where her family continued to live for more than thirty years. She is the author of five novels, including A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, and the memoir Lies My Mother Never Told Me. She teaches in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton, and in the Wilkes University low-residency MFA program in professional writing.

Read an Excerpt

Long Island Noir

Akashic Books

Copyright © 2012 Akashic Books
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61775-062-5


A New Kind of Greedy Tension

Summers in the Hamptons were always wild and crazy, even in the late '70s when my family moved out east to Sagaponack. On the weekends in July and August the crowds would surge in from up the island and the city, and the bars, restaurants, and beaches were abuzz with an easygoing excitement rife with possibility. But as the Hamptons became more popular with a richer crowd—Hollywood stars, financial magnates, even politicians—a new kind of greedy tension filled the air, and even the locals were infected. Once, when I was out visiting my mother, I overheard a guy I'd known in high school, a builder, telling people at a bar that last year he'd put in a brand-new brick deck for this CEO prick's wife, but this year the guy's new girlfriend wanted to make a statement, so she told the builder to tear out the bricks and put in a cedar deck instead. "I told her $150,000," he laughed. "She didn't blink an eye." Then he tried to sell us the bricks.

Pretty soon the fields in Sagaponack were gone, replaced by mansions, each one bigger than the last, as if it were some kind of pumpkin-growing contest. And still, no one seemed content; not on the beach, where mobile phones were constantly ringing; not in line at the supermarket or outside the nightclubs; and certainly not stopped dead in stultifying mid-day traffic. Well, it's still traffic, whether you're in a Mercedes-Benz or a Honda Civic. Now, the truly rich fly out in private planes, adding to the general racket.

It's almost as if the whole world has caught Gatsbyitis. And what an amazing, prescient book that was. The Great Gatsby could be seen as the first noir novel of Long Island—a poor boy who doesn't have two cents to rub together falls for a rich girl who would never marry him. So he makes himself a massive fortune the only way he can—illegally. And buys himself a mansion on Long Island. Despite his fortune he is never truly accepted, never truly safe, comfortable, or content. And of course, she leaves him because he'll never be part of her set.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's mansions of Great Neck and Little Neck are still there, lording imposingly over their lesser neighbors. The American dream of suburban bliss has never died, only grown more desperate, more materialistic, and less romantic as it has shoved its way further east, until now there is literally nowhere left to go. The Hamptons I knew and loved are gone forever.

The most die-hard fans of noir fiction may find a few of these stories a little gris. Not everyone here is literally down and out, though spiritually, they'll give you a run for your money. A wealthy grandmother abandons her young grandson on a public beach in a moment of rage, putting his life in danger. A Northport hood is willing to murder his own brother for ratting out the local mob. An upper-class Pakistani woman almost dies in childbirth, a victim of severe marital abuse, yet she refuses to speak out. The president of a wealthy synagogue robs his donors blind in a ponzi scheme, including his staunchest supporter, a Holocaust survivor. They are all characters driven by some twisted notion of the American Dream, which they feel they must achieve at any cost. This is real-life noir. These people are our neighbors.

* * *

I heard this story at a dinner party once. Kurt Vonnegut, who lived on our street in Sagaponack and was a family friend I wish I'd known better, was invited to a summer cocktail party at the Hamptons home of some billionaire CEO. At the party, someone asked Kurt, "How does it feel to know this guy makes more money in a day than you will ever make in your lifetime?" After a moment, Kurt responded calmly that he didn't mind at all, because he had something the CEO would never have.

"What's that?" the person challenged.


These are stories about people who will never feel they have enough, whether they have everything they ever dreamed of, or nothing at all.

Kaylie Jones February 2012


Excerpted from Long Island Noir 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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Part I: Family Values
“Gateway to the Stars” by Matthew McGevna (Mastic Beach)
“Thy Shiny Car in the Night” by Nick Mamatas (Northport)
“Home Invasion” by Kaylie Jones (Wainscott)
“Anjali’s America” by Qanta Ahmed, MD (Garden City)

Part II: Hitting it Big
“A Starr Burns Bright” by Charles Salzberg (Long Beach)
“Mastermind” by Reed Farrel Coleman (Selden)
“Seven Eleven” by Tim McLoughlin (Wantagh)
“Past President” by Sarah Weinman (Great Neck)

Part III: Love and Other Horrors
“Boob Noir” by Jules Feiffer (Southampton)
“Summer Love” by JZ Holden (Sagaponack)
“Ending in Paumanok” by Richie Narvaez (Stony Brook)
“Terror” by Sheila Kohler (Amagansett)
“Contents of House” by Jane Ciabattari (Sag Harbor)

Part IV: American Dreamers
“Semiconscious” by Steven Wishnia (Lake Ronkonkoma)
“Blood Drive” by Kenneth Wishnia (Port Jefferson Station)
“Jabo’s” by Amani Scipio (Bridgehampton)
“Snow Job” by Tim Tomlinson (Wading River)

Customer Reviews

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Long Island Noir 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
dandelionroots on LibraryThing 25 days ago
An anthology of noir short stories based in Long Island centered around the theme of the American dream (or better, its shadow). Some were flat, some were mildly entertaining, a few made me smile. The latter were: Thy Shiny Car in the Night, Home Invasion, Contents of House, Semiconscious, Blood Drive, & Snow Job. None will stick with me and I won't be reading any more of this series.
lauriebrown54 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This collection of short stories- one volume in a series of dark tales set in various locations- illustrates the dark side of Long Island. Usually thought of as boring suburbia, the area proves to be anything but in these tales of people in bad situations. Poverty, alcoholism, drugs, prejudice, spousal abuse, rape, revenge, murder; these are no pretty fantasy stories but grim reminders of what goes on all the time, most of it under the radar. Editor (and contributor) Jones has done a good job selecting the stories; they represent quite an assortment of ways people¿s lives can go out of control. Not all the characters are on a downward slide because of their own actions; many are in their dark situations simply by bad luck. The variety of situations keeps the book interesting- none of the 17 stories is like the others despite being on the same theme. If you like your fiction down to earth and raw, this books for you.
JamesBanzer on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is very interesting reading for the summertime. Considering the fact that there are 17 contributing writers, you are going to find something you like. These contributors write with feeling, and are going to keep you turning the page. My favorite among the lot is Anjali¿s America, by Quanta Ahmed, MD. It is written with such realism that it is easy to forget you are reading fiction. If you get the book for no other reason than to read this short story, you will have invested wisely.She tells of a young Anjali Osmaan, who is rushed to the emergency room with a complete uterine rupture. There is a frantic fight among the medical staff to save the woman¿s life. She hovers very close to death, and almost miraculously pulls through. Like so many who come to the United States from a culture where women are treated as something less than full human beings, Anjali struggles to cope. The story ends well, with Anjali finally discovering her America. You have to read the story to find out how.Other stories in the book contain very imaginative conceptual ideas. The stories are set in various Long Island communities. The tales are all based on totally different concepts. As a usual reader of non-fiction, this was off the beaten path for me. I believe that truth is usually little easier to swallow. But every one of these stories reflects what could just as easily be truth in its own way. It¿s a great compilation.
SamSattler on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Long Island Noir, by my count the fiftieth offering in the Akashic Noir Series, is a nice collection of seventeen short stories devoted to Long Island¿s dark side. Noir fiction, by definition, focuses on the darkness hidden within every human being and what happens when that dark side is allowed to express itself. These stories, consequently, are generally about losers and their victims. These are not ¿feel good¿ stories with happy endings and, with an exception or two, there are no nice guys to be found here unless you consider a few of the victims to fit into that category ¿ but, even of that bunch, only a few will qualify. You have to love this stuff.As editor Kaylie Jones puts it in the book¿s introduction, ¿They are all characters driven by some twisted notion of the American Dream, which they feel they must achieve at any cost. This is real-life noir. These people are our neighbors.¿ Most would hope this to be a bit of an exaggeration, but if not our neighbors, people like these are probably nearer than most of us care to admit.Short story collections, if they include enough stories or writers, tend to be a bit uneven, and this one is no exception. Included in this one are both excellent stories and a couple of dry clunkers that read more as obvious, almost characterless, indictments of spousal abuse and racism. There is even a graphic short story (my first experience with one of those) called ¿Boob Noir¿ that turns out to be one of the darkest and most disturbing tales of the bunch.Several of the stories are particularly memorable and fun to read, including the book¿s opener, a story by Matthew McGevna called ¿Gateway to the Stars¿ in which a young man is kept from rescuing his younger brother from a sexual predator by a local cop who refuses him entrance to a wealthy neighborhood to search for the boy. ¿Home Invasion,¿ written by Kaylie Jones, is the striking story of a 16-year-old girl who unexpectedly turns the table on a friend of her father¿s who has been taking advantage of her. My favorite, though, is Reed Farrel Coleman¿s ¿Mastermind,¿ a story about a petty criminal who has finally planned the perfect score, one that will net him enough to live well on for a long time, only to have it all go wrong in a way that would have made the great Alfred Hitchcock smile. Readers of Long Island Noir are likely to have their image of Long Island forever changed ¿ especially those who have not seen it with their own eyes. As these stories remind us, not everyone on Long Island lives in the Hamptons. It¿s dark out there; watch yourself.Rated at: 4.0
jjnaaucoin on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Like others have said, this is a book of short stories. Some better than others, none of any great horror. This book is a book to read here and there not a novel that keeps you reading late into the night. I guess I expected something else, but some of these stories I enjoyed.If you like Noir and something to read here and there this is a great book for you.
charlottem on LibraryThing 25 days ago
These books are great if you like noir and anthologies. I think they are tops.
shabacus on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I have lived on Long Island for the last five years, and during that time, I have gotten to know my adopted home pretty well. So when I had the chance to read this book, I was very excited. However, "Long Island" is only half of the title, and when I started to read, I realized that however much I knew about the island, I knew nothing about Noir.And so, I approached this book familiar with the setting, but unfamiliar with the styles and conventions of noir literature. And although I wouldn't say that I've been fully won over to the genre, the book was a thoroughly entertaining read.Only rarely do the stories name-drop, a common failing of regional short story collections. Instead, the setting is integral to the stories. As for the stories themselves, the quality is variable but generally positive. Having just finished the collection, there are only a handful that stand out as particularly good or particularly bad. Here, I think my unfamiliarity with the genre was a hindrance. Where a story left me unsatisfied, as if the really important questions had been left unanswered, I am more likely to attribute the fault to my own expectations rather than a problem with the stories themselves.In short, if you're a Long Islander, you will probably find much in this book to interest you. I leave it to fans of noir to determine how it ranks in that arena. Regardless, I am glad to have read it.
wordsampersand on LibraryThing 25 days ago
I love the idea of short story collections that are geographically confined, and I love hardboiled fiction. I don't know why I was so apprehensive about approaching any of these Akashic-published collections that combined both. Aside from a few misses, I think the collection works great. All of the stories in the collection are set in various communities on Long Island, and most are quite good. All of the stories toy with the pursuit of the "American Dream," and ¿ in great hardboiled fashion ¿ the characters often go for a bigger slice of pie than they realize they can manage. Some of the best stories cover territory familiar to fans of hardboiled fiction or film noir, yes, but some are fairly unconventional and really snap into place. I also appreciate how some of the better stories balance attention to detail in the various locales, and enough opaqueness to not alienate folks not overly familiar with Long Island.
mclane on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The latest in Akashic Books "Noir" series, this is a collection of short stories set on Long Island. As the name implies, each story is about crime and/or some other dark theme. The quality of the stories vary, but all of them are pretty good. Each is set in a different Long Island town, and they do serve to point out that Long Island, like other areas of the country, is a mixture of rich and poor, different ethnic groups, and subject to all the pains and pangs of humanity. Recommended for those who like short fiction.
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing 25 days ago
Long Island Noir fully fills only the first half of its title; while all of the stories are set on Long Island, quite a few are not noir. Noir is a sort of off-shoot of those pulp fiction hardboiled tales featuring disgraced private eyes encountering the seamy side of life. It focuses on the dark underbelly, and while the characters often inhabit a hard-scrabble world, noir exists equally well in the corrupt actions and pastimes of the wealthy. Long Island Noir often failed in this, with both traditional mystery stories and one that featured neither crime nor struggle. A few needed a little more time, with the slap-dash feeling of an early draft. Still, I found a few of the stories leading me to want to read more by their authors, always a good outcome. Other stories delivered in spades, telling of plans gone awry and lives squandered.Among the stand-out stories was Anjali's America, in which a young Pakistani doctor encounters a woman whose fate she could have shared, had she not rejected an arranged marriage and completed her education, Gateway to the Stars, where a young man is prevented from finding his younger, drug-addicted brother by an unpleasant cop, and Blood Drive, in which a recently laid-off construction worker finds a new career that is both illegal and morally defensible. The protagonist of this story delivers a monolog that reminded me that appearances can be deceiving.The disappointments were not terrible, but they didn't deliver. In Terror nothing bad happened. Instead, tragedy visited a browner-skinned, poorer acquaintance of the highly educated, white woman who could afford a summer house in the Hamptons. I found this story both offensive and well written. Past President was a traditional mystery story that could have featured Kinsey Millhone or Rina Lazarus. It was enjoyable and well-crafted, but absolutely not noir. And Semiconscious was certainly dark enough, but it was too angry to be well-written. I was reminded of John Steinbeck throwing away a rough draft and then writing The Grapes of Wrath. This was an early draft of what could eventually become something good.
cameling on LibraryThing 25 days ago
This is a wonderful collection of short noir stories set in suburbs of Long Island, New York by different authors centered around family values, love, reaching for the American Dream, disappointments and personal tragedies. Each author has his and her own voice, lending a freshness to each story told.
Melkor81205 on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A book of short stories that take place in the numerous different settings of Long Island. The book was for the most part enjoyable, some of the stories were not as well written as others.The stories are all dark on some level, so if your looking for a light "beach read" you can skip this one.
jldarden More than 1 year ago
About 20 years ago I read alot of noir. Worked my way through Cornell Woolrich, Some Hammet and the like. Off and on through the years I would pick some up, Jack O'Connell being a contemporary favorite. Not too often, though. When I saw this in ER, I decided to give it a try. Some of the stories brought back fond noir memories and some not so much. My favorite would have to be 'Gateway to the Stars', a story of misplaced family loyalty. We all have family members somewhere making bad decisions and if we're not careful, helping them can get us into trouble of some kind. The poorest choice, in my opinion, was 'Summer Love'. I didn't think it belonged in this collection as it seemed to me to be short fiction from some "popular" women's magazine. If you like real world dark fiction I recommend this.