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Boston Noir (Akashic Noir)

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  964 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Featuring "Animal Rescue," the basis for the motion picture The Drop by Dennis Lehane

"Dennis Lehane advises us not to judge the genre by its Hollywood images of sharp men in fedoras lighting cigarettes for femmes fatales standing in the dark alleys. . . . [Lehane] writes persuasively of the gentrification that has . . . left people feeling crushed."—New York Times Book Rev
Paperback, 236 pages
Published 2009 by Akashic Books
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That Old Cape Magic by Richard RussoHouse of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus IIIWoodsburner by John PipkinMid Ocean by T. Rafael CiminoThe Convalescent by Jessica Anthony
Boston Book Festival 2009
12th out of 92 books — 18 voters
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyMystic River by Dennis LehaneThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodConfidential Communications by J.R. ReardonJohnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Boston Books
60th out of 177 books — 172 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,171)
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James Thane
This is another in the series of books published by Akashic devoted to crime fiction centered on a particular city. In this case, the city is Boston and the collection of stories is edited by Dennis Lehane. Lehane contributes an introduction and a story of his own, "Animal Rescue." In addition, he has corralled a number of writers with ties to the Boston area, and they have produced a number of very good, often quirky stories.

MIA is Robert B. Parker, whose Spenser is perhaps the most famous of
The series is such a great idea -- noir stories set in various beloved cities -- but the publisher really should have been much more patient in soliciting and selecting submissions! The stories chosen here beg the question: What is noir? Apparently it's any story that has at least one character who's mean, as that seems to be the only characteristic common to all the stories in this collection. The best part of the collection is Dennis Lehane's introduction, where he characterizes noir thus: "No ...more
Sep 27, 2009 A rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: read-2009
A decent but pretty mixed bag, which I guess is to be expected when you throw into said mix everyone from Pulitzer Prize winners (her story was unreadable) to first-time writers (his story was great, classic Boston). Very few of the stories were actually noirish, unless your definition of "noir" is nothing more than "logic-straining plot contrivances." Even fewer nailed a particular Bostonianness -- most either tried too hard and felt fake (the "white" noir of the pedophile priest story was part ...more
Joseph Gravellese
I'm a sucker for anything that tries to tap into the character of Boston, and most of these short stories do just that. The stories themselves are, in my mind, of varying quality and interest. Some sucked me in whole, wrapped up in the characters and their situations and what they reflected about this place we call home; others were not as great, and I skated through them on the strength of the "oh hey, I've been there" moments as cafes and bus routes and stores were described.

Some of the storie
Heather Letalien Costa
Much like what the other reviewers have stated. The first stories were really good. Exit Interview, Femme Sole, Dark Island and Animal Rescue. Towards the end I just didn't think it had the same quality. The Hair Poets and The Collar I was just thinking to myself........."Really this got published?"
There were only about 3 stories in here, I think, that were worth the price of admission. Stewart O'Nan's was pretty good and John Dufresne's story was gorgeous. Both very impressive authors who's work I will now look for.
I found this book at the library book sale and was eager to read noir for the first time (at least something identifying itself as noir) and revisit the capital of my home state. Boston is a fantastic setting for noir.

Much of what I have to say about this book has been said by others.

I like the Introduction more than any story in the collection. "In Shakespeare, tragic heroes fall from mountaintops; in noir, they fall from curbs." The description of a changing Boston on pages 12-13 is excellent.
May 20, 2011 Geoff added it
I assumed this was a random small collection of short stories as I picked it up for very cheap at the 2010 Boston Book Festival, but this past week I was in a Barnes and Noble (resisting going off on a ridiculous rant about BN) this past week and it was on display with other ‘New Fiction.’

Overall I enjoyed the various short stories, but a lot of them didn’t really connect me to Boston, the feeling of Boston. Quite a few of them took the typical route – through the Irish connection or the crime,
Eileen Souza
Generally short stories aren't my thing, but this was recommended at Brookline Booksmith and as it was a Boston themes book, I felt like it was necessary to pick up during my trip.

Dennis Lehane has yet to let me down, and I loved not only his short story (one of the best in the book) but also his intro about the loss of the Boston ways - culture, humor, language.

Half of the stories were great - I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of Exit Interview(Financial District), Animal Rescue(Dorches
Michael Beeman
The Boston Noir collection marks our fair city’s induction in the roving city-themed noir series, “Book Noir,” from Akashic Books. Already the series has seen collections from Brooklyn, San Francisco, Baltimore, and Phoenix, among others. Dennis Lehane is an obvious choice as editor -I’d be be hard-pressed to come up with a close second in terms of Boston crime novelists. He proves a smart choice, as well, and has put together a collection of noir stories as he defines them: working-class traged ...more
OK - so I did not actually read this entire book; I checked it out just for the story "Animal Rescue" by Dennis Lehane, from which the recent movie "The Drop" was adapted (with a screenplay by Lehane, himself). At 26 pages, it's a quick and gripping read, and a much tighter and more interesting narrative than the film. I enjoyed getting inside the protagonist's head, and marveled at how much information was conveyed in so brief a story. I highly recommend.
Not every story in this collection is 5-star (or even 4-star) but it's a pretty enjoyable collection. They do sprawl all over the greater Boston area, and it's fun to read about places from Beacon Hill to Watertown to North Quincy. Some of them have more "placeness" than others, in how they describe the scenes, the language, the accents, the attitudes, etc., which is to be expected.
Some good stories; some not-so-good stories.

Frustratingly, my favorite of the bunch, "Animal Rescue," could have used some better proofreading: a character's name gets changed from Nadia to Natalie and back again at one point, and it seemed surprisingly noticeable. And a dog that couldn't be mistaken for anything but a boxer turns out to be a pit bull two pages later; maybe, we're supposed to infer something about the narrator's judgement, but it mostly seems like a mistake.

I guess those are jus
Diane Maggie
I loved this collection of stories. Of course Lehane's was my favorite! But the first story "Exit Interview" is very good as well. And the "Cross-Eyed Bear" is not to be missed. Not every story is top notch, but on balance, the collection is well worth your time.
Kristine Finocchario
I enjoyed this collection of short stories. I am not a huge short story fan, and had to put my brain on short story mode. I did like how these stories unfolded and wrapped up leaving me wanting to know more. There were a couple that did not resonate with me, but most were captivating.
The Crime Scene Scene
If you like your crime fiction hard boiled then I can highly recommend the Noir series published by Akashic Each book in the series takes a particular city and has authors from those city write a noir short story set in one of the city's districts.

As the title rather obviously suggests, this edition is set in Boston and is edited by Dennis Lehane, best known for the novel Mystic River. The other Bostonian authors include Ross Aborn, Dana Cameron, Brendan DuBois, John Dufresne, Jim Fusilli, Lynne
Karl Glazier
Good fast read

Good fast read

Great reading for a commute. Gripping, tightly written stories. The collection gives a wide variety of cultural perspectives from a place that many consider homogeneous & parochial
I was surprised at the number of stories that seemed unfinished. It seemed they were trying to go after a certain style that ends the narrative in medias res, but were unsuccessful and so the stories just felt incomplete. That's too bad. But there were a couple of standouts. There was also one story I wish I had never read ('The Cross-Eyed Bear' by John Dufresne - read at your own risk!), and not in a good "it's so haunting" sort of way but in a "that was horrible, please erase it from my brain" ...more
This was disappointing. I was pretty excited about it as it was an impromptu buy and I was looking for something short to read. Short it was but good it was not. Their definition of noir was extremely loose. Anything dealing with deception in any way. There were several I really liked a lot. Lehane, Cameron, Dufresne and Lee's in particular. Heitman, Powell, DuBois and O'Nan were OK. Fusilli, Njeri and Aborn I actively did not like. I think I'm giving it two stars because besides Dufresne's stor ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Denise added it
This book consisted of a few short stories.
I enjoyed it because they took place in Boston. However, I did find a few of them a little weird. Would I read another Dennis Lehane???? Probably.
Paul Rubin
Mixed quality, as others have said; there were only a few of the stories I really liked. I don't usually read this genre, preferring science-fiction and thrillers, so it's outside my usual read.
Dennis Lehane's intro and story are the best parts of this, but every piece brought a bit of home back to me, and the first few were very, very good. The stories seem to get progressively less well-written and less interesting as one goes on. Njeri's story was so poorly written, so abruptly ended, and so gratuitously spiked with sex at the end that I have to wonder how it EVER got published anywhere. I guess being nominated for a Pulitzer means people think you can write anything well, whether t ...more
I am a sucker for two things in books: Noir and Dennis Lehane. This gives me both.
This is a great collection of short stories that meet the noir theme and are based all over Boston, Mass. From the get-go, the very first story is exciting and sets the page-turning pace for the book.
Dennis Lehane, the main reason I picked the book up, wrote a great story as well that lived up to his usual quality and expressed his passion for the city.
Really, the only stories in this book that I did not enjoy were
a bit up and down enjoyment wise. Some I really liked, some I didn't.
I almost always have mixed feelings after reading a book of short stories. I really enjoyed a few of the pieces; knowing Boston made the stories seem more real. However, a few totally lost me. "Exit Interview", "Animal Rescue", and "The Dark Island" were my favorites. One aspect I particular enjoyed about this book was that the stories span hundreds of years and give the reader a glimpse not only of the different areas in and around Boston but also of Boston's past. This book is a quick and easy ...more
Omar Bonilla
It had been some years since I'd finished an entire book for pleasure, but I'm glad this particular Christmas gift came along to both get me back in the habit of reading and to introduce me to the noir genre. The first two stories by Heitman and Lehane along with the introduction were particularly strong, and kept me hooked long enough to coast through the rest. Some stories are more captivating than others as with any anthology, but if you've spent any meaningful time in Boston the novelty of k ...more
Lauren Monsey Nagel
Jul 01, 2011 Lauren Monsey Nagel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: helen Freeby
Shelves: own, mystery-thriller
I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a collection of short stories, each one is written by a different author. I love the way Mr. Lehane put all these together in this book.
Each one takes place in a different part of the city of Boston,(where I was born) but he included No. Quincy which happens to be where I grew up.
I must admit, I personally have always read far more non fiction than fiction but at this point I cannot understand why!
This is a great book to read and I am very pleased that I
Nikki Frankel
As with every collection of short stories, some stories are better than others. I enjoyed this collection overall because I live in Boston and got off on references to people and places that I know. It is interesting to imagine what life was like at different times in my city.

However, most of the stories were just not well written. I found myself frustrated with the predictable prose and silly metaphores.

It might be worth a skim if you have an affinity for Boston, but otherwise- don't bother.
I wasn't crazy about this book of short stories. Lehane's "Animal Rescue" was my favorite overall, but compared to his own book of short stories "Coronado," it fell short of my expectations. Some of the stories didn't seem to fall into the category of "noir" at all. Some were so short that they were over practically before they'd begun. Two were particularly unappealing to me and seemed contrived and dull: "The Place Where He Belongs" and "The Collar". As a whole, a disappointing read for me.
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Dennis Lehane (born Aug 4th, 1966) is an American author. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award winning film, also called Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The ...more
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