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New Orleans Noir by Julie Smith

New Orleans Noir

by Julie Smith (Editor)

Other authors: Thomas Adcock (Contributor), Ace Atkins (Contributor), Patty Friedmann (Contributor), David Fulmer (Contributor), Barbara Hambly (Contributor)13 more, Greg Herren (Contributor), Laura Lippman (Contributor), Tim McLoughlin (Contributor), James Nolan (Contributor), Ted O'Brien (Contributor), Eric Overmyer (Contributor), Jeri Cain Rossi (Contributor), Kalamu ya Salaam (Contributor), Julie Smith (Contributor), Maureen Tan (Contributor), Jervey Tervalon (Contributor), Olympia Vernon (Contributor), Christine Wiltz (Contributor)

Series: Akashic Books Noir Series, New Orleans Noir (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
New Orleans Noir is a collection of mystery short stories situated in New Orleans. Julie Smith divided the collection into stories before and after Katrina, that cataclysmic flood that changed the city forever. Editor Julie Smith did an excellent job, finding stories with a strong sense of place.

I am forever a fan of the Akashic Noir series. It combines so many things I love, good writing, mysteries, short stories, and armchair travel—and does it so well. It is intriguing and illuminating to see the anti-visitor’s bureau side of these cities that Akashic takes us to. I am sure tourism offices around the world dread publications that feature their city, but they should not. People go to interesting places, not showplaces.


I think Julie Smith did an excellent job selecting the stories for this edition. Patty Friedmann’s Two-Story Brick Houses is among one of the most chilling and disturbing stories I have read. It’s a simple story with a simple crime, a small crime actually, but one with profound consequence. I had to set the book aside for a day to recover from the cruelty of that story.

Nearly every story was excellent. Some were triumphant such as Julie Smith’s Loot. Others will break your heart, crush it on the ground, and stomp it to pieces such as Ace Atkins’ Angola South. There was only one story I flat out disliked, Schevoski by Olympia Vernon, a story I ended up reading three times to see if I could figure out why it was written. It seems more like a fragment than a complete story, like an excerpt that is too short to give context.

This is the second time I have read New Orleans Noir. I read it back in 2007 when it first came out. I have two rows of Akashic Noir books that I reach back into from time to time. One of the great things about short stories is that they can be reread. Of course, when I have a Want to Read list of several hundred books and I still go back and re-read something, that should tell you how much I enjoyed it the first and the second time.

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/new-orleans-noir-by-julie-smith/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Nov 19, 2016 |
I don't usually gravitate toward classic literature, but I thought since I like the noir books I've read previously so much I would give it a try. I struggled in the beginning with Part 1 even though the stories i the first part were penned by some relatively well known authors such as Kate Chopin & O. Henry I had a difficult time getting into them. Since classic literature isn't usually my first choice in reading material I found the stories to be somewhat dry.
For personal reasons and because I was having trouble relating to Part 1 I set the book aside for quite some time, but I picked it back up & I'm glad I did as the stories in Part 2 were much more to my liking and was really what I was hoping to find with this book. ( )
  campingmomma | Jun 25, 2016 |
New Orleans Noir: The Classics is the eleventh book from the Akashic Books noir series that I have read and enjoyed since late 2009. But, as indicated by a quick count of the books listed inside the cover of this one, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If I counted correctly, 75 of the short story collections have now been published and another 18 are being prepared for publication.

New Orleans Noir, as indicated by its subtitle, mines the historical treasure trove of previously published fiction set within the confines of New Orleans. With only one exception, the book’s 18 stories are presented in chronological order, beginning with an Armand Lanusse story from 1843 and ending with one by Maurice Carlos Ruffin from 2012. The stories are further subdivided into three sections, each part titled in a way that characterizes the New Orleans of that day.

“Part 1: The Awakening” is comprised of four stories written between 1843 and 1899 and includes contributions from Kate Chopin and O. Henry. “Part II: Sweet Bird of Youth” adds five more stories, including ones by Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams, and the book’s third, and longest, section adds another nine stories and is called “The Thanatos Syndrome.” This third section includes the work of writers familiar to today’s short story readers such as James Lee Burke, Ellen Gilchrist, Ace Atkins, and Nevada Barr.

As in any short story compilation, some of the stories will appeal to individual readers more than others, but I suspect that there is something here for just about everyone, no matter the style and content they prefer. My own favorites from the collection demonstrate, I think, the varied nature of the stories included. There is Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” (1894), at just four pages one of the shortest of all, that tells a story that Alfred Hitchcock could easily have used in his television series seventy years later. And there is Shirley Ann Grau’s 1955 story, “Miss Yellow Eyes,” which at thirty-six pages is one of the longest in the book. “Miss Yellow Eyes” tells the tragic (noir in every sense of the word) story of a young black woman planning to move to Oregon with her soldier fiancé where they can easily pass for white – before the Korean War interrupts their plans.

Another favorite is “Ritual Murder” (1978) by Tom Dent, a New Orleans-born writer who would die in 1998 at age sixty-six. This one is presented in script form, including stage directions, and strives to come to grips with the black-on-black violence that Dent aregues is akin to “group suicide.” Of the more recent stories, my favorite is Ace Atkins’s 2010 story “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.” Atkins so perfectly captures the elements of noir fiction in this one that it is perhaps my favorite story of the entire collection.

Bottom Line: New Orleans Noir: The Classics is another fine addition to one of the best short story series being published today. Don’t miss this one. ( )
  SamSattler | Mar 4, 2016 |
This is the second collection by this editor and includes stories from Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, and Kate Chopin. In chronological order, these stories all have a dark side, just like the city itself. Some, written or set in times of racism, reflect those sentiments.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and, having spent time in the city, its character shines through. I'm not a huge fan of noir, but short stories are easier to handle. ( )
  amaryann21 | Feb 27, 2016 |
This is an interesting read. So many different things to find out about the city, both present and past. Some of the stories are a bit hard to hear, but they belong here. ( )
  bytheseabchcmbr | Sep 27, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, JulieEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adcock, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atkins, AceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Friedmann, PattyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fulmer, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hambly, BarbaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herren, GregContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lippman, LauraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McLoughlin, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nolan, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Brien, TedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Overmyer, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rossi, Jeri CainContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salaam, Kalamu yaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, JulieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tan, MaureenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tervalon, JerveyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vernon, OlympiaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wiltz, ChristineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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