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Kansas City Noir (Akashic Noir)

3.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  105 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
"Light Bulb" by Nancy Pickard was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013, edited by Otto Penzler and Lisa Scottoline

"Kansas City, famous for its jazz, its barbecue, and its shady history, provides the venue for this solid addition to Akashic's acclaimed noir anthology series."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Hard-used heroes and heroines seem to live a lifet
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Akashic Books
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Aug 17, 2015 Kemper rated it really liked it
If you mention noir to some people they automatically think of black and white movies with characters who wear trench coats and fedoras while smoking a lot of cigarettes. If that’s your version of noir, this collection would probably disappoint because Kansas City’s history of political corruption, gangsters, jazz clubs, and crazy little women really isn’t a big part of these stories.

However, I tend to think of noir according to how Otto Penzler defined it when discussing The Best American Noir
Jun 19, 2013 John rated it it was ok
I was disappointed by this book. And most of my sense of disappointment is a consequence of a semantic quibble I have with it:

The title of this anthology is Kansas City Noir. The editor, Steve Paul, explicitly states in his introduction that he left the definition of “noir” wide open when working with the contributing authors, to give them the widest possible latitude for creativity.

I respect that, but the problem is that noir is, in fact, a fairly specific literary style. When I pick up a book
I was delighted with every single story in this book. I loved knowing the streets, the cops, the bars and restaurants, and especially the Kansas City culture.
Chris Minor
Jan 11, 2016 Chris Minor rated it really liked it
Fun read, especially if you know much about KC, either present or historically. I don't know he city super well, but enough so that this was an interesting collection of short noir stories. It's part of a pretty large series of different cities. I'll definitely check out some of the others. I will say that I have trouble with the endings of many of the stories, but I think that's more part of the genre, not any fault of the writers. I'm fairly green when it comes to noir writing, so I would defi ...more
Mar 24, 2014 William rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Easy for me to rate highly since I know the city, its neighborhood, and its streets that appear in the stories. So for such a reader, the book holds much interest. For those not familiar with KC? Hmmm. As in all the "noir" series by the publisher, the stories are uneven, but that is to be expected. Targeting local audiences like this can be audacious but risky.
Deb Morgan
Mar 04, 2013 Deb Morgan rated it liked it
Good discussion everyone at book club over the weekend! I liked several of the stories and very much enjoyed the local references throughout the stories. There are even a few stories that I initially skipped but will give another chance after our meeting. I mostly skipped them because the writing style didn't "grab" me right away. Congrats to our local contributor Cate...hers was one of the best in the collection.
Jul 29, 2015 Tuxlie marked it as to-read
Shelves: crime

"Light Bulb" by Nancy Pickard was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013, edited by Otto Penzler and Lisa Scottoline

"Kansas City, famous for its jazz, its barbecue, and its shady history, provides the venue for this solid addition to Akashic's acclaimed noir anthology series."
--Publishers Weekly

"Hard-used heroes and heroines seem to live a lifetime in the stories...Each one seems almost novelistic in scope. Half novels-in-waiting, half journalistic anecdotes that are

Rogue Reader
Nov 03, 2012 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it
The cover says it all - a polished Packard in the dim glow of city lights - Kansas City Noir is a classic fusion of film, music and food as true in the 40s as it is today. Set at the crossroads of the country, Kansas City is a jumping off place, and a nexus that draws you inexorably into it's guts. It's a raw noir of crazy bright insanity and dark blues and barbeque.

There's three sections to the work: Heartland, Crazy Little Women and Smoke and Mirrors - I loved them all. It's hard to choose sta
Chuck Barksdale
Nov 06, 2012 Chuck Barksdale rated it liked it

“I deliberately failed to define “noir” to prospective contributors. As previous anthologies in this series have shown quite effectively, the term represents a big tent. So here you will indeed find serial killers, moral turpitude, and police detectives at work. But you are just as likely to encounter quieter tales of inner turmoil, troubled reflection, and anxiety.” –Steve Paul

One of Akhasic Press’ newest collection of new Noir stories is Kansas City Noir, with 14 stories based in various parts
Apr 18, 2013 Scott rated it really liked it
This was a fun selection of 14 short noir stories. Each of the stories is more or less "noir," in that the settings are often bleak, the characters desperate and/or self-destructive in some way, there are elements of crime or transgression at the center of the stories, and the writing style is lean and tends toward the "hard-boiled." As in any anthology, there were stories that moved me more than others. I especially liked the frightening "Cat in a Box" by Kevin Prufer, the haunting "The Inciden ...more
James P.
Dec 31, 2014 James P. rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable collection of short stories about Kansas City. Really cool reading about the happenings, people, and landmarks of my hometown. Not all the stories are great, but overall, it is a solid collection by Kansas City writers.
David F.
Mar 28, 2014 David F. rated it really liked it
A fine collection of stories of outsiders and the disadvantaged -- noir in the broadest sense of the term. Quality ranges from okay to truly excellent, with most being really good.
Aug 31, 2013 Kenneth rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of short stories and as usual with such anthologies, some were better than others. That being said, you really do get a sense of the flavor of Kansas City, MO, from the "noir" angle. "Noir" can be defined, I guess, as the depiction of the seamier side of life, where Murphy's Law will usually prevail, friends will betray you, women are bitches, politicians are corrupt, despair is rampant and the outlook is heavily nihilistic. The book is one of a series of noir anthologi ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Cari rated it liked it
This compilation of short stories was more gruesome than I like and definitely showed the worst side of people. Some of the stories settings brought back memories of my youth- I can remember driving through Mission Hills and wondering what the people who lived there were like...the characters presented, at least in that story, didn't stir up any envy!
Sara Habein
Jan 24, 2013 Sara Habein rated it liked it
Shelves: own, arc
I thought I would like this book more than I did. The book has definite highlights, but not enough of them. Perhaps I'd feel more fondly towards some of the so-so stories if I had a nostalgic connection to their setting. I don't know, but I'm still curious about several other Noir collections.

(My full review appears on Glorified Love Letters.)
Feb 04, 2016 Valerie rated it really liked it
Most of the stories are pretty good. One was so odd I had trouble figuring out what was happening and a few ended before they began. I read it in chunks and recommend doing it that way as the stories tend to shift focus and style abruptly. I really think this is more of a three and half stars, but give it up because most of the writing was good even if the story itself was mediocre
Guinotte Wise
Feb 03, 2013 Guinotte Wise rated it really liked it
Nice bunch of KC stories, places I know, knew, like the back of my hand. Great tough noir, some stories bummers but hey noir isn't usually happy stuff, though some could've used some humor. Some were outclassed. Woodrell had a kickass, hurtling, pell-mell story, breathlessly poetic. I recommend this and other city akashic noir books pretty highly.
Greg Curtin
Feb 14, 2013 Greg Curtin rated it liked it
There are some really good short stories that will surprise you as a reader...and as someone from Kansas City really good descriptions of some of the areas. One of note that I really enjoyed was Catherine Browder and her contribution of The Incident. Oh...and I want to read more about the history of The Dollmaker!
Apr 01, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this book although some of the stories were too dark for me. I loved reading about familiar locations in Kansas City. After discussing this at the NE book club, I definitely appreciated the book more. Cate Browder was a joy to listen to.
Jan 27, 2013 Jerome rated it liked it
I just picked this up at the library and thought I would give it a try.
I like short stories in general, from O'Henry to Kafka. This book is a mixed bag of 14 short stories that take place in and around Kansas city. Some better than others.
Mar 03, 2015 Vincent rated it it was ok
If I could give 2.5 stars I would. I liked the KC themes and settings, but not drawn to noir as I had hoped. I was drawn to the earlier tales like "The Pendergast Musket" and the sordid stories involving lost youth, like "Lightbulb."
Aug 31, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Have enjoyed other (city) Noir collections I've read, didn't like the stories in this one. Am not familiar with Kansas City, though, or any of the authors who contributed to this, so that may be somewhat to blame.
Linda K
Oct 07, 2012 Linda K rated it it was ok
Very rough and raunchy tales of murder in the Kansas City area. As a "cozy" mystery lover, these stories were not my type, but I wanted to read them as they related to the city and the landmarks around town.
Walter Przybylowski
May 24, 2016 Walter Przybylowski rated it did not like it
Shelves: clear-shelf
Kansas City bore. Ideology swamps storytelling for a mostly dross collection of short fictions. The idea that these are our future storytellers is more threatening than anything found on the pages. Eh, skip.
Jan 22, 2013 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Overall I really liked this collection of stories. Some stories were too violent for me but they were written really well and that's all that matters to me.
Richard Daley
Oct 04, 2012 Richard Daley rated it it was amazing
Love this book!
Masterful story telling on every page.
Buy this book.
Support Kansas City writers.
I will read this book over and over.
Jan 06, 2013 Sara rated it liked it
I love film noir so I expected to really like this book but ended up only enjoying about half of the stories in it.
Dec 30, 2012 Pureschmaltz rated it it was amazing
Beautiful textures.
Jun 13, 2013 Jessica rated it did not like it
Not my kinda book.
Kerry rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2016
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