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"In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction....Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, "In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction....Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, but all turn in impressive performances." -- Publishers Weekly , Starred review "Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Sandra Cisneros are not crime-fiction writers, and yet their Chicago certainly embodies the individual-crushing ethos endemic to noir. Meno also includes stories from writers who could easily have been overlooked (Percy Spurlark Parker, Hugh Holton) to ensure that diverse voices, and neighborhoods, are represented. Add in smart and essential choices from Fredric Brown, Sara Paretsky, and Stuart Kaminsky, and you have not an anthology not for crime-fiction purists, perhaps, but a thought-provoking document all the same." -- Booklist "The fifteen short stories comprising Chicago Noir: The Classics, which are knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited by Joe Meno, are true gems of the noir literary tradition....Chicago Noir: The Classics is a consistently entertaining and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections." --Midwest Book Review "I've always enjoyed reading noir. Dark, ironic mysteries are a good read to me. Since this collection includes old classics as well as some new stories, I knew it would be good....I wasn't disappointed." --Journey of a Bookseller "Chicago Noir The Classics does everything anthologies and noir are supposed to, but this title achieves an unheralded goal that deserves notice....This is wonderful diversity, coming both unexpected and unhearalded. Anthologies are supposed to convey a sense of having covered the territory, Joe Meno has. Ethnically diverse city, ethnically diverse plots. Better, Chicago Noir The Classics showcases diversity as normal, everyday. This adds inescapable satisfaction to a sense of the editor's having covered the territory." --La Bloga "A worthy addition to the Akashic Books noir series." --Book Chase Although Los Angeles may be considered the most quintessentially "noir" American city, this volume reveals that pound-for-pound, Chicago has historically been able to stand up to any other metropolis in the noir arena. Classic reprints from: Harry Stephen Keeler, Sherwood Anderson, Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith, Barry Gifford, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Sara Paretsky, Percy Spurlark Parker, Sandra Cisneros, Hugh Holton, and Stuart Dybek. From the introduction by Joe Meno: "More corrupt than New York, less glamorous than LA, Chicago has more murders per capita than any other city its size. With its sleek skyscrapers bisecting the fading sky like an unspoken threat, Chicago is the closest metropolis to the mythical city of shadows as first described in the work of Chandler, Hammett, and Cain. Only in Chicago do instituted color lines offer generation after generation of poverty and violence, only in Chicago do the majority of governors do prison time, only in Chicago do the dead actually vote twice. "Chicago--more than the metropolis that gave the world Al Capone, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, the death of John Dillinger, the crimes of Leopold and Loeb, the horrors of John Wayne Gacy, the unprecedented institutional corruption of so many recent public officials, more than the birthplace of Raymond Chandler--is a city of darkness. This darkness is not an act of over-imagination. It's the unadulterated truth. It's a pointed though necessary reminder of the grave tragedies of the past and the failed possibilities of the present. Fifty years in the future, I hope these stories are read only as fiction, as somewhat distant fantasy. Here's hoping for some light."


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"In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction....Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, "In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction....Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, but all turn in impressive performances." -- Publishers Weekly , Starred review "Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Sandra Cisneros are not crime-fiction writers, and yet their Chicago certainly embodies the individual-crushing ethos endemic to noir. Meno also includes stories from writers who could easily have been overlooked (Percy Spurlark Parker, Hugh Holton) to ensure that diverse voices, and neighborhoods, are represented. Add in smart and essential choices from Fredric Brown, Sara Paretsky, and Stuart Kaminsky, and you have not an anthology not for crime-fiction purists, perhaps, but a thought-provoking document all the same." -- Booklist "The fifteen short stories comprising Chicago Noir: The Classics, which are knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited by Joe Meno, are true gems of the noir literary tradition....Chicago Noir: The Classics is a consistently entertaining and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community library Mystery/Suspense collections." --Midwest Book Review "I've always enjoyed reading noir. Dark, ironic mysteries are a good read to me. Since this collection includes old classics as well as some new stories, I knew it would be good....I wasn't disappointed." --Journey of a Bookseller "Chicago Noir The Classics does everything anthologies and noir are supposed to, but this title achieves an unheralded goal that deserves notice....This is wonderful diversity, coming both unexpected and unhearalded. Anthologies are supposed to convey a sense of having covered the territory, Joe Meno has. Ethnically diverse city, ethnically diverse plots. Better, Chicago Noir The Classics showcases diversity as normal, everyday. This adds inescapable satisfaction to a sense of the editor's having covered the territory." --La Bloga "A worthy addition to the Akashic Books noir series." --Book Chase Although Los Angeles may be considered the most quintessentially "noir" American city, this volume reveals that pound-for-pound, Chicago has historically been able to stand up to any other metropolis in the noir arena. Classic reprints from: Harry Stephen Keeler, Sherwood Anderson, Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith, Barry Gifford, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Sara Paretsky, Percy Spurlark Parker, Sandra Cisneros, Hugh Holton, and Stuart Dybek. From the introduction by Joe Meno: "More corrupt than New York, less glamorous than LA, Chicago has more murders per capita than any other city its size. With its sleek skyscrapers bisecting the fading sky like an unspoken threat, Chicago is the closest metropolis to the mythical city of shadows as first described in the work of Chandler, Hammett, and Cain. Only in Chicago do instituted color lines offer generation after generation of poverty and violence, only in Chicago do the majority of governors do prison time, only in Chicago do the dead actually vote twice. "Chicago--more than the metropolis that gave the world Al Capone, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, the death of John Dillinger, the crimes of Leopold and Loeb, the horrors of John Wayne Gacy, the unprecedented institutional corruption of so many recent public officials, more than the birthplace of Raymond Chandler--is a city of darkness. This darkness is not an act of over-imagination. It's the unadulterated truth. It's a pointed though necessary reminder of the grave tragedies of the past and the failed possibilities of the present. Fifty years in the future, I hope these stories are read only as fiction, as somewhat distant fantasy. Here's hoping for some light."

30 review for Chicago Noir: The Classics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Annika

    Good compilation of short stories. It is best read with a noir film accent in short staccato phrases. As someone from Chicago, this was a fun read to see how things have changed in various neighborhoods over the years!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Hornik

    Meh. Collection of short crime set in Chicago. Not enough memorable stuff.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    There is a whole series of city specific "noir" books and as a result I'm going to write just one review rather than a review of each one that I read. As with any book of short stories you'll have some bad stories, some "meh", some that are okay and others that just might encourage you to check out a new author or two. As said before each of the books are city specific (i.e. Chicago, Manhattan, Detroit, Venice, Montreal and so on - you get the idea.) There is approximately a dozen or stories in e There is a whole series of city specific "noir" books and as a result I'm going to write just one review rather than a review of each one that I read. As with any book of short stories you'll have some bad stories, some "meh", some that are okay and others that just might encourage you to check out a new author or two. As said before each of the books are city specific (i.e. Chicago, Manhattan, Detroit, Venice, Montreal and so on - you get the idea.) There is approximately a dozen or stories in each book. If you're looking for one particular genre (i.e. mystery) then don't expect to get just that. One definition of the genre is "Taken from the French word meaning "darkness" or "of the night," noir is a category of modern crime fiction. Used for fiction of crime and detection, often in a grim urban setting, featuring petty, amoral criminals and other down-and-out characters, and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism and despair." (https://www.worldcat.org/genres/noir-...) The series, published by Akashic Books, seem to be about the same length (about 250 pages) The stories for the most part are enjoyable and I will look for more in the series (especially the Canadian locales) Fun books to read. Recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Solid 3 stars for this group of short stories in the Noir series. In particular, I liked how the stories/authors were broken up into different eras: Jazz Age, Noir and Modern Crime. Some of the authors were not known, while others familiar - which is what always makes these books fun. For example, an easy read by Percy Spurlark Parker and a rather weird story by Sherwood Anderson - which may not (really) be weird (for him). [email protected]

  5. 4 out of 5

    STEPHEN MACPHERSON

    Good collection of Chicago based short stories- made better by my recent trip to Chicago: I recognized many of the places discussed. The best of the group: Sandra Cisneros, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Stuart Dybek.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eli Poteet

    i personally disliked the modern crime ending but rejoiced in the discovery of the excerpt from the price of salt. happy ending lesbian pulp from the 50s, mind blowing!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carol Havlik

    Sent book to Chris

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzi

    Loved the Sara Paretsky story. I tried to read several stories but I'm not a noir fan.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Very solid, as always.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wackwitz

    I have never really delved into noir stories before, and this was a great read to get started! Looking forward to reading more anthologies in this series (Los Angeles, New York).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hammer

    pretty good collection of mysteries and hard boiled detectives and such

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    Chicago Noir: The Classics is my ninth experience with the wonderful Akashic Books series of noir short stories since I discovered them a while back. In addition to this Chicago collection, I have enjoyed the books set in Manila, Belfast, Long Island, Boston, Mexico City, the Lone Star state of Texas, Providence, and one set entirely inside prisons. I was particularly interested in getting my hands on Chicago Noir because that city’s reputation for political corruptness is the first thing that m Chicago Noir: The Classics is my ninth experience with the wonderful Akashic Books series of noir short stories since I discovered them a while back. In addition to this Chicago collection, I have enjoyed the books set in Manila, Belfast, Long Island, Boston, Mexico City, the Lone Star state of Texas, Providence, and one set entirely inside prisons. I was particularly interested in getting my hands on Chicago Noir because that city’s reputation for political corruptness is the first thing that many people think when they hear the word “Chicago.” Even the book’s editor, Joe Meno, stressed that reputation in his introductory comments: “Only in Chicago do instituted color lines offer generation after generation of poverty and violence, only in Chicago do the majority of recent governors do prison time, only in Chicago do the dead actually vote twice. With its public record of bribery, cronyism, and fraud, this is a metropolis so deeply divided – by race, ethnicity, and class – that sociologists had to develop a new term to describe this unfortunate bifurcation. As Nelson Algren best put it, Chicago is and has always been a ‘city on the make.”’ But all that said, the stories in Chicago Noir seem to stretch the definition of “noir” to a greater degree than any of the other collections I’m familiar with. Granted, these stories are labeled as “The Classics,” and some of them are decades old, but I found myself wondering several times whether they really fit in this particular collection. There is, for instance, a wonderful story from 1945 by Richard Wright called “The Man Who Went to Chicago.” While this is one of my two favorite stories from the entire collection, I struggle to fit it within the confines of my personal definition of the term “noir.” It takes place entirely within a Chicago Medical District research lab, and the only crimes committed are an aborted knife fight that causes damage to the lab and the workers’ decision to cover up the fact that the resulting damage ruined the research studies being conducted there. It is “dark” only in the sense that it exposes the horrible racial discrimination so common to those times. Now, my other favorite story from Chicago Noir: The Classics leaves no room to doubt that it belongs in any collection of noir fiction. This one is called “I’ll Cut Your Throat Again, Kathleen,” and it was written by Fredric Brown way back in 1948. The story is brutal, has a couple of unforgettably duplicitous characters in it, and the most shocking ending of any story in the entire collection. It is only the second time I have read Fredric Brown and it is enough to make me search for more of his work. As in most short story collections, the stories in Chicago Noir: The Classics are a bit uneven. Perhaps that is purposeful and done in hopes that there is something in the collection that will appeal to everyone who picks it up. If so, that might be a legitimate reason for packaging them together. But a couple of stories were so formulaic that I wished I had not bothered with them at all. It’s as if they were written to “spec” even though they were from 1995 and 2009. But overall, this is a worthy addition to the Akashic Books noir series, and I am happy to add it to my collection.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Ostensibly these are supposed to all be noir stories. They are not. In some cases, they read as excerpts or first chapters... Some are really well written and, as usual, a collection of short stories is a great way to sample new and new-to-you authors. I am puzzled by 1) why they said these were noir stories, and 2) why they said they were "classics" of that sub-genre. Noirs are about people who realize that following the program will never get them what they crave. So they cross the line, commit Ostensibly these are supposed to all be noir stories. They are not. In some cases, they read as excerpts or first chapters... Some are really well written and, as usual, a collection of short stories is a great way to sample new and new-to-you authors. I am puzzled by 1) why they said these were noir stories, and 2) why they said they were "classics" of that sub-genre. Noirs are about people who realize that following the program will never get them what they crave. So they cross the line, commit a crime and reap the consequences. Or, they’re tales about seemingly innocent people tortured by paranoia and ass-kicked by Fate. Either way, they depict a world that’s merciless and unforgiving.  If the guy gets the girl at the end? Not noir. If you are telling me a slice-of-life, or hard-times story? Not noir.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    An engaging and diverse collection of noir literature, though almost none of it is of the hard-boiled detective variety I'd been expecting. I do wish, however, that Chicago had a greater presence in some of these. And for my own future reference, some authors introduced that I'd like to explore in future: Harry Stephen Keeler, Sherwood Anderson, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Hugh Holton.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Art

    What could be better than an anthology of classic noir short stories from my personal second city? The fact I picked this find up at the annual Tribune book sale makes it even better. Some of my favorites are included. But it's also a great chance to become familiar with some new and historic practitioners of the art of writing gritty, hard-boiled mysteries featuring Chicago.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    An outstanding collection of crime noir from some of the greats -- Nelson Algren, Richard Wright, Sondra Cisneros, Patricia Highsmith, Sara Paretsky. In particular, Cisnero's story, "One Holy Night," stands out as a cut above the others, and certainly above what most people consider noir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Noir for Chicago is almost as natural as the Chicago-style hot-dog. These short stories spanned almost a hundred years in writing, but the feel was a strong similarity. I got the book for the Algren short. Had a nice feel like O.Henry's Magi, but so many of the others were wonderful. Quick read

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Excellent collection...reminded me of the old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hena

    Nice introduction to crime stories, all set in Chicago. A mixed collection: some of the stories were great, while I found myself quickly flipping through a few that bored me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nevins Memorial

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joe Ruiz

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Gallay

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanner

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Doug Murphy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

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