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D.C. Noir (D.C. Noir #1)

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  385 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Brand new stories by: George Pelecanos, James Grady, Kenji Jasper, Jim Beane, Jabari Asim, Ruben Castaneda, James Patton, Norman Kelley, Jennifer Howard, Richard Currey, Lester Irby, and others.

Mystery sensation Pelecanos pens the lead story and edits this groundbreaking collection of stories detailing the seedy underside of the nation's capital. This is not an anthology o
Paperback, 325 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Akashic Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Another few months, another Akashic Books noir anthology. Check out previous reviews Brooklyn Noir, Brooklyn Noir 2: The Classics, San Francisco Noir, Chicago Noir) for the remit - put simply, crime stories in locale (x).

So this time it's Washington, D.C. and those of any political leanings could easily say a bigger town for real crime doesn't exist. Glibness about politics and power-brokers aside, D.C. also has the some of the largest economic/racial disparity going, rampant poverty, a high mur
Apr 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Short stories from all four quarters of DC. A good read for locals--various neighborhoods, restaurants, parks worked into the stories. At times worked in with events like the King and Mount Pleasant riots. General disdain for suburban kids and hill staffers. Some stories far better than others--Pelecanos, Peterson, Castaneda--while some are quite bad. But overall, recommended for lovers of the seedy underbelly.
Wyckliffe Howland
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories, each by a different mystery/noir writer, set in various parts of D.C. The first story is by Geo. Pelecanos, who I admire highly. The other stories were chosen by him. This collection was dark, gritty, suspenseful. I enjoyed the diversity of approaches, and perspectives. I very much recommend this book for those of us drawn to this kind of story telling.
Robin Friedman
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I felt a strong sense of recognition in reading these stories of the underside of life in Washington D.C. "D.C. Noir" is an anthology of sixteen new stories by as many authors chosen and edited by the noted author of crime and detective novels, George Pelecanos. Pelecanos also contributed one of the stories to this collection.

There is an astonishing sense of place in this collection for a city in which I have lived and walked for many years. I live near a large thoroughfare, Georgia Avenue, whic
Sam Bledsoe
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Just very good SS noir fiction set in a familiar city-- the literary equivalent of comfort food to me. But all Akashic's "City Noir" series is delectable; this one happens to be both a familiar city and contained one very good SS: "Solomon's Alley", by Robert Andrews. Before writing this, I looked to see if any other Goodreader/Reviewers had found it-- sure enough, check out John's review. But Shawn Garrett's tome of a review also noted it-- "...some snappy writing... Good stuff."-- while treati ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gritty-fiction
This was kind of a letdown. I've read books by both Pelecanos and Lippman that I've really enjoyed, but their pieces in this collection were rather sub-par compared to their excellent full-length novels. The same goes for the other writers as well. Although I enjoyed the DC backdrop in all of the stories, (as would anyone who has ever spent time in DC), I must say that all of the geographic familiarity in the world can't make up for amateurish writing. There were a lot of O. Henry-type endings a ...more
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
A collection of dark short stories set in DC, some were better than others. I don't usually go for mystery/thriller novels, so it was interesting to get a short dose of this kind of writing. My favorites were stories by Jennifer Howard, Laura Lippman, Quintin Peterson,Ruben Castaneda, Jim Beane, David Slater, and Richard Currey.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved these short stories from all across DC. I appreciated the mix of history, humor, crime, and emotion. Most stories don't revolve around politics or anything in the national spotlight. This would be a great read even if you aren't from the region... you'll get a taste of DC that's rarely shown on film or television.
Jane Anne
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
BING! As someone who remembers getting all dressed up w Mom, walking kitty-corner across F Street, this story collection rang my bell. Fave is the first one, by Pelicanos. Ca. "Confidential Informant," I believe. About a hard-luck guy. Also enjoyed the one about the white lady who finds a dolly - will knock yer socks off!
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Another solid entry into Akashic's Noir series. I may have enjoyed this more because I know the locales firsthand, which breathes additional life into it, but the authors did a great job of peeling away the onion-skin layers of this deep and diverse city. There were some weak entries in this run, but overall, a quite enjoyable read.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone familiar with DC or any short-story/mystery lover. Every story takes place in a real neighborhood and location in the District. The twists and turns are surprising. It is a very satifying read.
Steve Henry
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: washington-dc
Pretty good collection of crime fiction. Fun to read especially if you know the locales. Some stories I liked better than others. None were mind-blowing but all were enjoyable. Definitely a few authors in here I would like to read more of.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love George Pelicanos, and naturally liked his story the best. Very good book.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Normally when someone puts an Akashic publication into my hands I settle down for a long joy, and I was expecting to do as much with this book. It's one of a long series of noir anthos that Akashic has been doing; I hope the others have been better.

Let's make no mistake: The best among the 16 stories in D.C. Noir are good. They're not the kind of good that makes you think the short story is breaking new ground, but they're excellent nonetheless. Jim Patton's "Capital of the World" is an extreme
Jan 05, 2009 added it
Shelves: interviewees
Read the STOP SMILING interview with Akashic Books founder Johnny Temple:

This interview appeared in the STOP SMILING DC Issue


Eighteen years before Johnny Temple founded the indie publishing company Akashic Books in 1997, he was just another geeky white kid growing up in Chocolate City.

“I always thought that Washington, DC was a great place to live,” remembers Temple, who hails from the black middle class hood of Shepherd Park. “It’s a disenfranchise
David Cooke
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Collections of short stories are often a mixed bag, but the unevenness of this one was kind of ridiculous. And unfortunately the first section of stories, including the story by the editor, are definitely the weakest of the bunch.

While the collection does a great job of covering the different neighborhoods of the city, some of the stories really miss their mark and feel like someone clearly writing about something with which they aren't familiar, including really bad attempts at dialect. But the
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This little compilation of stories seemed interesting, but wasn't quite what I'd hoped. The theme being "noir," the stories were naturally on the dark side and involved quite a bit of crime drama. While some of them were very interesting and well-written, some of them were less so. Very few of them popped to me as truly great. I also didn't much like the way they were arranged within the book. Sometimes I would go through several stories thinking, Okay, I think I'm done with this, before I would ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a disappointing read, coming as it did on the heels of the Balto noir collection. And it's not anything I can necessarily put my finger on -- the stories just fell a little flat for me. Must admit that I DID love reading the story set in my old Hill East neighborhood, because it referenced places and people I know so well that it gave me that warm, fuzzy, "insider" feeling. But yeah. This collection was a bit of a bust.
Chris Perry
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Slightly disappointing because of my high expectations, this book was a solid read, but more for the locations than the stories themselves. I would recommend it to someone who is familiar to DC and like noir, but not anyone else. Mostly I feel disappointed because this collection could have been great if it had an excoriating editor.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
The collection overall was a little hit-or-miss, but luckily the good stories and writers outnumber the bad. Come for the George Pelecanos, stay for the wealthy (and deadly) Chevy Chase housewives and the Georgetown street vendors. Bonus points for DC residents who will get a kick out of seeing their neighborhood or block or favorite bar as the setting for a story.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-reads
I don't know why I didn't like this book - a lot of great authors were represented, including one of my favorite local authors, Laura Lippman. Maybe short-story mysteries just aren't my thing. I kept wishing for more detail, and that I knew what happened next.
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
There is a sequel to this one now. Cool to read stories from a wide array of DC neighborhoods, easy to think that DC is just a small city west of Rock Creek, though there is a story about sexually curious housewives in Chevy Chase.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
If it doesn't include my quadrant of the city, does that mean we're a safe haven from crime? Thoroughly depressing novels, but effective and persuasive portrayals of the identity and history of the city that time didn't forget, but just didn't really care much about.
Ed Killingsworth
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Mixed bag. Some of the stories were great: 'Confidential Informant' 'The Names of the Lost', a few were so-so, and a couple were poor. Overall an interesting collection of short stories with neighborhoods and streets that I am familiar with from my time in DC.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Collection of short stories by various authors over the last 75 years. Focused on the psychological aspects of noir, rather than crime or visuals. It was pretty interesting. The stories are all set in and around or about DC.
Alex Rogers
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
A good selection of stories, quite varied within the theme, quality ranging from so-so to excellent. Overall an entertaining read.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Uneven quality
Brittany Larson
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
So much betrayal! Maybe Pelacanos is trying to communicate that's what DC is about?
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Completely and utterly underwhelming. This is the best you can do, DC? Some of the stories weren't necessarily bad, but they were weak and unmemorable.
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
the first two stories were a little lacking in nuance, my expectation for noir is that there is some tension and complexity, not just "watch it all go down the drain"
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George Pelecanos was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. He worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman's shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992.

Pelecanos is the author of eighteen novels set in and around Washington, D.C.: A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, Shoedog, Down By the River Where the Dead Men Go, The Big Blowdown, King Suckerman, The Sweet Forever, Shame the Devil
More about George Pelecanos

Other Books in the Series

D.C. Noir (2 books)
  • D.C. Noir 2: The Classics

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