Houston Noir

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Pub Date: 05/07/2019

Pages: 256

Trim: 5 x 8

Publisher: Akashic Books

Imprint: Akashic Books

ISBN 13: 9781617757068

ISBN 10: 1617757063

Price: / $20.99 CAN$15.95

Category: FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Collections & Anthologies

Houston Noir

By Gwendolyn Zepeda, Tom Abrahams, Robert Boswell, Sarah Cortez, Anton DiSclafani, Stephanie Jaye Evans, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ, Adrienne Perry, Pia Pico, Reyes Ramirez, Icess Fernandez Rojas, Sehba Sarwar, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Larry Watts

Price: $15.95



About the Book

Included in CrimeReads's Most Anticipated Crime Books of Summer 2019!

"Brooklyn Noir came first in 2004, and now, 15 years later, Houston Noir--14 stories of intrigue, betrayal and death set from Tanglewood to Third Ward penned by current or former Houston authors--goes on sale."
--Houston Chronicle

"Akashic Books's long-running Noir Series tasks writers with imagining the dark sides of their communities, spinning gritty, shocking tales atop the local landscape. Recently the publisher tapped writer and former Houston poet laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda to serve as editor on a collection of stories about her native Bayou City. The end result is Houston Noir, out this month, whose 14 entries explore the murder, betrayal, and brujería lurking everywhere from River Oaks to the Ship Channel to a trailer park off FM 1960."
--Houstonia Magazine

"Houston is a city on the rise when it comes to crime fiction--something about all those lonely highways, gravity-defying overpasses, and drastic urban sprawl (and of course, the crime rate) make Houston a perfect setting for noir. This port city of close to five million residents is ready for a new reputation as a world capital of literature, and we're here to support Akashic's new collection of noir tales from Texas's most complex city."
--CrimeReads, included in The Best New Crime Fiction of May 2019

"When Edgar Allen Poe proclaimed two centuries ago that no one should write anything that can't be read in one sitting, he couldn't have anticipated how well that constraint serves today's frenetic, uber-scheduled modern millennium. The Houston Noir short story collection is what Poe meant: solid, quick, satisfying reads that fit perfectly between appointments, in waiting rooms, carpool lines, coffee breaks, or when you just need a quick escape from reality."
--Lone Star Literary Life

Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Brand-new stories by: Tom Abrahams, Robert Boswell, Sarah Cortez, Anton DiSclafani, Stephanie Jaye Evans, Wanjiku Wa Ngugi, Adrienne Perry, Pia Pico, Reyes Ramirez, Icess Fernandez Rojas, Sehba Sarwar, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Larry Watts, and Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton.

From the introduction by Gwendolyn Zepeda:

In a 2004 essay, Hunter S. Thompson described Houston as a "cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West--which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch." For what it's worth, that quote is now posted on a banner somewhere downtown and regularly, gleefully repeated by our local feature writers.

Houston is a port city on top of a swamp and, yes, it has no zoning laws. And that means it's culturally diverse, internally incongruous, and ever-changing. At any intersection here, I might look out my car window and see a horse idly munching St. Augustine grass. And, within spitting distance of that horse, I might see a "spa" that's an obvious brothel, a house turned drug den, or a swiftly rising bayou that might overtake a car if the rain doesn't let up...Overall, this collection represents the very worst our city has to offer, for residents and visitors alike. But it also presents some of our best voices, veteran and emerging, to any reader lucky enough to pick up this book.

About the Book

The fourth-largest city in the US is long overdue to enter the Noir Series arena, and does so blazingly.


Gwendolyn Zepeda has published three novels, one short story collection, two poetry collections, and five children's books. She served as Houston's first poet laureate from 2013 to 2015.Tom Abrahams is an award-winning television journalist and a member of the International Thriller Writers. He is a hybrid author (traditionally and self-published) who writes postapocalyptic thrillers, action adventure, and political conspiracies. Abrahams lives in the Houston suburbs with his wife Courtney and their two children. Read more about his work and join his Preferred Readers Club at tomabrahamsbooks.com.Robert Boswell has published seven novels, three story collections, and two books of nonfiction. His play The Long Shrift was produced off-Broadway. He has earned NEA fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN West Award, and the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Harpers, the Atlantic, and Best American Short Stories. He holds the Cullen Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.Sarah Cortez, councillor of the Texas Institute of Letters, has had poems, essays, book reviews, and short stories anthologized and published in Texas Monthly, Rattle, the Sun, Texas Review, Louisiana Literature, Arcadia, Midwest Quarterly, and Southwestern American Literature. She has won the PEN Texas Literary Award and the Southwest Book Award. Her most recent book is Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials.Anton DiSclafani is the New York Times best-selling author of two novels, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls and The After Party. Both were Amazon Books of the Month and Indie Next picks; her work is being translated into thirteen languages. She lives in Alabama with her husband and son and teaches creative writing at Auburn University.Stephanie Jaye Evans is a fifth-generation Texan. Her first book, Faithful Unto Death, was a Library Journal Debut of the Month, and a Houston Chronicle Ultimate Summer Book List pick. Kirkus Reviews writes of Safe from Harm, second in the series, "As charming and wry as Evans's bright debut, filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith." She is currently working on a Southern gothic set in the Houston Heights.Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally renowned performance poet, a three-time Slam Champ formerly ranked the #2 Best Female Poet in the World. She was named Houston's poet laureate in 2017. Her work has been compiled on two albums and has been featured on BBC, NPR, Upworthy, Blavity.com, in Black Girl Magic, and was featured in the opening video of the Houston Rockets 2017 season. For more information visit LiveLifeDeep.com.Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ is the author of The Fall of Saints and former director of the Helsinki African Film Festival. She has been a columnist for the Finnish development magazine Maailman Kuvalehti, and her essays and short stories have appeared in St. Petersburg Review, Wasafiri Magazine, Auburn Avenue, the Daily Nation, Pambazuka News, and Chimurenga, among others.Adrienne Perry grew up in Wyoming. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson in 2013 and her PhD from the University of Houston in 2018. From 2014 to 2016, she served as the editor of Gulf Coast. She is a Hedgebrook alumna, a Kimbilio Fellow, and a member of the Rabble Collective. Perry's work has appeared in Copper Nickel, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She is at work on a novel and an essay collection.Pia Pico resides in Houston, Texas, where she teaches high school. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she spent the nineties touring the Australian outback and east coast with her punk band Killy. She earned her MFA in creative writing from New York University, and her writing was included in the anthology Gynomite: Fearless Feminist Porn.Reyes Ramirez is a Houstonian. In addition to earning an MFA in fiction, he won the 2017 Blue Mesa Review Nonfiction Contest and the 2014 riverSedge Poetry Prize, and has poems, stories, essays, and reviews in or forthcoming in: Southwestern American Literature, Gulf Coast Journal, Glass Poetry Press, Origins Journal, the Acentos Review, Cimarron Review, the anthology pariahs: writing from outside the margins, and elsewhere. You can read more of his work at reyesvramirez.com.Icess Fernandez Rojas is an educator, writer, and former journalist who lives in Houston and is a longtime North Shore resident. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, the Huffington Post, and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award and is a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum.Sehba Sarwar's essays and poems have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Callaloo, South Asian Review, and elsewhere, while her short stories have appeared in anthologies published by Feminist Press and HarperCollins India. Her novel Black Wings was published by Alhamra Press in Pakistan. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Sarwar lived in Houston for several decades and is currently based in Southern California.Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a fourth-generation Houstonian of Mexican heritage. Her essays and poetry have recently appeared in Catapult, the Collagist, Tinderbox, and Luna Luna Magazine. Her book Fuego was published by Saint Julian Press and her second book of poems, Nightbloom & Cenote, was published by the same press in 2018.Larry Watts has published six novels and a book of short stories during his twenty-one-year career in law enforcement. His latest book, Dishonored and Forgotten, written with his wife Carolyn, is a historical novel about Houston's first police narcotics scandal.