I dare you to find a better time to revisit noir. Exit-strategying the Middle East, clawing out of near-Depression, facing post-war fears of foreign threats, the parallels to the Fifties bares a bright opportunity to revisit its definitive form of American Escapism. And if there was a book to revisit this escapism, it’s Akashic’s new Boston Noir 2: The Classics.
Since 2004, Akashic has been producing original noir anthologies set in specific cities—Brooklyn, Baghdad, San Francisco, St. Petersburg. Dennis Lehane (Gone, Baby, Gone, Shutter Island, Mystic River) returns to co-edit along with Mary Cotton and Jaime Clarke (Post Road Magazine, No Near Exit) to bring a decadent compilation of stories and novel excerpts that open the noir genre with a rib-spreader and poke it with a knife.
Several books in the long-running series are subtitled: The Classics. Unlike sequels, these books serve as post-prequels, uncovering origins while mapping evolution. The objective is clearly summed up by the editors in the introduction:
“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.”