"The population of Chicago Noir is as diverse as any crowd at the lakefront fireworks show...As representative of Chicago as Oprah, MJ and a Gold Coast hot dog."
"Chicago Noir asks us to consider whether Chicago is, specifically, a noir city and, more significantly, how noir plays out in the current landscape...Its stories push us to think about how noir might still be relevant beyond a bad-ass sort of nostalgia."
--American Book Review
"Chicago shouts noir from the top of the Sears Tower to the nether regions of Wacker Drive, from the crime-ridden West Side to the moneyed taint of the North...Perhaps most impressive about Pollack's collection is the wide variety of writers selected to contribute."
"The stories that editor Pollack has chosen to represent his former hometown vary wildly in voices, approaches and style...New interpretations, juxtaposed with classic structures, bring together the different faces of Chicago: North and South, old and new."
"Marshaling the talents of eighteen award winning and acclaimed writers, most of whom have professional and/or personal ties to Chicago, Pollack . . . pays homage to the city that epitomizes the noir genre . . . Demonstrating crisp, riveting pacing, dialog redolent with sardonic despair, and dark, nihilistic atmosphere, nearly all the entries are stellar examples of noir at its best."
"The latest urban noir anthology provides the audience with eighteen delightful tales that pay homage to the ethnic neighborhoods and to the sports teams."
--Midwest Book Review
"Chicago Noir is a highly readable story collection which offers numerous fresh, inventive takes on the well-worn noir genre . . . A very enjoyable effort overall."
"Chicago Noir is a legitimate heir to the noble literary tradition of the greatest city in America. Nelson Algren and James Farrell would be proud."
--Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby
"If ever a city was made to be the home of noir, it’s Chicago. These writers go straight to Chicago’s noir heart."
--Aleksandar Hemon, author of Nowhere Man
Brand new stories by: Neal Pollack, Achy Obejas, Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski, Adam Langer, Joe Meno, Peter Orner, Kevin Guilfoile, Bayo Ojikutu, Jeffery Renard Allen, Luciano Guerriero, Claire Zulkey, Andrew Ervin, M.K. Meyers, Todd Dills, C.J. Sullivan, Daniel Buckman, Amy Sayre-Roberts, and Jim Arndorfer.
The city of Chicago has spent much time and money over the last decade marketing itself as a tourist-friendly place for the whole family. It's got a shiny new Millennium Park, a spaceship in the middle of Soldier Field, and thousands of identical faux-brick condo buildings that seem to spring from the ground overnight. Chicago's rough-and-tumble tough-guy reputation has been replaced by a postcard with a lake view.
But that city's not gone. The hard-bitten streets once represented by James Farrell and Nelson Algren may have shifted locales, and they may be populated by different ethnicities, but Chicago is still a place where people struggle to survive and where, for many, crime is the only means for their survival. The stories in Chicago Noir reclaim that territory.
Chicago Noir is populated by hired killers and jazz men, drunks and dreamers, corrupt cops and ticket scalpers and junkies. It's the Chicago that the Department of Tourism doesn't want you to see, a place where hard cases face their sad fates, and pay for their sins in blood. These are stories about blocks that visitors are afraid to walk. They tell of a Chicago beyond Oprah, Michael Jordan, and deep-dish pizza. This isn't someone's dream of Chicago. It's not even a nightmare. It's just the real city, unfiltered. Chicago Noir.
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Neal Pollack is the author of three books: the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature, Beneath the Axis of Evil, and the rock 'n' roll novel Never Mind the Pollacks. A regular contributor to Vanity Fair, GQ, and many other magazines, Pollack lives in Austin, Texas.From Publishers Weekly:
While not up to the standard set by Brooklyn Noir, the inaugural volume in Akashic's city-themed noir series, the Chicago entry offers 18 all-original stories that illustrate Chicago's great ethnic diversity, pay homage to its sports teams (particularly the Cubs) and invoke its cultural past from jazz to Prohibition. Unfortunately, most of the selections lack the kind of visceral punch the best noir stories carry. One wishes, too, that the editor had been able to add some familiar names associated with Chicago crime fiction (e.g., Max Allan Collins, Sara Paretsky, Barbara D'Amato) to what is largely a roster of lesser knowns. The standout is perhaps Kevin Guilfoile's cleverly imagined and brilliantly executed tale, "Zero Zero Day," about a man obsessed with monitoring police calls. Also notable are C.J. Sullivan's "Alex Pinto Hears the Bell," about an aging boxer given one last shot at capturing some ring glory; Pollack's "Marty's Drink or Die Club," where traditions are upheld at all cost; and Achy Obejas's "Destiny Returns," which describes the strange odyssey of a Cuban refugee who achieves cult status as a drag queen in her new home.
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