Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Portland Noir” as Want to Read:
Portland Noir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Portland Noir

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  409 ratings  ·  61 reviews
In a city full of police controversies, hippie artist punk houses, and overzealous liberals, Portland, Oregon, is a place where even its fiction blurs with its bizarre realities.

Brand-new stories by: Gigi Little, Justin Hocking, Christopher Bolton, Jess Walter, Monica Drake, Jamie S. Rich (illustrated by Joelle Jones), Dan DeWeese, Zoe Trope, Luciana Lopez, Karen Karbo, Bi
Paperback, 300 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Akashic Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Portland Noir, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Portland Noir

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  409 ratings  ·  61 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Portland Noir
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I edited this really fun and gritty collection of literary crime fiction for Akashic. It comes out in early June. Some great Portland lit stars like Monica Drake, Ariel Gore, and Zoe Trope team up with seasoned mystery authors like Jess Walter ad Bill Cameron. But a couple of my favorite pieces came from lesser-known Portlanders like Dan DeWeese and Megan Kruse.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever nursed a drink in a dive downtown
Recommended to Alan by: The setting, and Roberta
Portland Noir will give you false impressions of Portland, Oregon. This town's not nearly as uniformly seedy as these pages portray. Nor is it as smoky, especially after the indoor-smoking ban went through, a year or more after most of these stories were written. Nor will you be tripping over a body every block or so in real life here. Honestly, I know... this is the town where I live.

However, Kevin Sampsell's book does contain a wealth of local color—the gray of drizzle and the green of moss; t
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthology
Another anthology, this one based in Portland Oregon. Not bad. There's a graphic story included that helps make this one stand out a little.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This should be required reading for the Portland State Univ. Pop Culture cluster... course titled “Olde Portland” if there was one.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it did not like it
since this is a series of short stories - each written by a different author, I kept reading think that the next one HAS to be better than the one I just finished. NOPE! they all were horrible.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst
i literally threw this book away after i had finished it because it was so terrible.
Joy Cartier
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Dim the lights, put on some slow-burning jazz, and loosen your tie as you take the craft of flash fiction writing and apply it to the seedy, crime-riddled world of noir fiction. Your job is to present an engaging story in 500 words or less in that grand tradition of Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, or Jim Thompson. This contest is a fundraiser for p:ear, a program for homeless and transitional youth, and will be judged by Kevin Sampsell, editor of the bestselling anthology, Portland Noir (A ...more
Carye Bye
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a book we read for the Hidden Portland book. It's a collection of 16 new short stories by local or localish authors who were asked to write on the theme of Noir. There are other Noir cities in the collection, but Portland has a great underbelly and fringe culture so it's a perfect fit. I'm not really a fiction writer, and I admit I got frustrated at time at how just when I was getting interested, the story was wrapped up ( sorta ) and then on to the next. I took notes about Portland men ...more
I read an interview with Meghan Abbott recently in which she described noir as a story in which everyone is fallen, and right and wrong are not clearly defined and maybe not even attainable. That description certainly seems to fit the stories in the book. They're bleak and often bloody with little in the way of redemption or even justice. There are no heroes. With several of the stories, it felt less like reading a story with a beginning, middle, and end and more like a series of reports of crim ...more
May 31, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: e-books
What a disappointment. The only worthwhile pieces are those of Jess Walter and Floyd Skloot. Others are so self-indulgent and overwritten that I was turned off from this whole series, and indeed from some of the local authors whose other works I was planning to read.

It's not my main complaint, but the fact that this is an all-white-but-one book is not only irresponsible but a missed opportunity.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fantastic read (and such a good idea!) of short stories written by local authors. Noir is such a specific type of writing style that it took me a couple of stories to get over feeling that the authors were "overwriting." Once I got into it though I had SO MUCH FUN. Reading about all the places in Portland was great and being able to picture them added to the experience.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great group of short stories by very talented Portland area writers. Ready to hit Powell's Books, Shanghai Tunnel, Tik Tok and Voodoo Doughnuts.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Cool to see stories in my favorite genre set in Portland. Felt uneven in quality and, much like the city, lacked diversity. A few standouts and a few clunkers.
Aug 29, 2018 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Tried reading a couple of the stories and just couldn't get into them.
Kyle Porter
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was ultimately underwhelmed, but maybe that was due to having misplaced, too high expectations. I was expecting morally ambiguous, slow burning, tales of mystery and intrigue (possibly thinking of Hard-boiled fiction instead of Noir), and instead largely got stories of lousy people doing lousy things to each other. Also, it felt the majority of the stories were merely SET in Portland, rather than using the city's unique culture, vibe, and geography to weave tales that could only occur there. T ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
My daughter and son-in-law live there, and I know Portland just well enough that many of the locations are familiar to me, so I enjoyed this quite a bit. All the stories were of pretty high quality. I am enjoying the Noir series quite a bit, but I enjoy them more when they are about places I know at least a little.
Lara Seven
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Better than the Seattle one, plus one of the stories works in an appearance by Extremo the Clown's artcar!
Thomas Holm
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Three of the stories are good. The rest are so-so.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Almost all of the stories are misses and few of them are actually noir.
Elevate Difference
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Noir is easier to recognize than to define. The best dictionary definition I found was, “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.” Portland Noir, then, has a self-explanatory title: it is a collection of short, dark stories that take place in Portland, Oregon. Akashic Books has published a whole series of similar collections set in numerous cities in the U.S. and around the globe.

Reading this book made me want to immediately find a copy of Chicago Noir. S
Karla Carlson
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Meh. Quirky little short stories that take place in Portland. They are not connected, just quirky. I wouldn't have read it, but someone gave it to me. I will pass it on to a used book store though.
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
After having visited Portland, Oregon a few times, it is definitely true that the city of roses has a personality all its own. From the twee humor of the modern gentrified Portlandia to the seedy history of Old Town and its shanghai tunnels, this entry in the Akashic Noir series reflect the conflicting and quirky nature of the Pacific Northwest city. I have enjoyed this series’ explorations of world cities, and this is a good example of taking full advantage of an idiosyncratic place and explori ...more
Jun 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tinea by: Zoe
Shelves: place, brain-candy
Oooh, delightfully creepy stories all set within very specific locales in Portland. I read this during the week I spent in Portland, while sitting in the Red and Black Cafe, which gets a mention in one of the stories. I then had to walk 50 blocks to the house I was staying at, which had been pleasant enough every other night, but was absolutely terrifying after reading this book. At one point on the walk home some bushes in front of me suddenly came alive, parted... and a raccoon hopped out. He ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
A fairly recent Portland transplant, I bought this book as a gift for a guest and read it before the book left with them. Admittedly I'm not a regular reader of short stories -- in fact, this might have been the first compilation of short stories I've ever read. Noir is also not a genre I normally read. In other words I didn't have expectations.

I enjoyed the stories by Luciana Lopez, Floyd Skloot, Dan DeWeese, and Kimberly Warner-Cohen the most. Overall the stories that make up the compilation
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I interviewed Monica Drake for a zine I worked on. I didn't really know what I was doing, but she was good humored and gracious. Haven't run across anything by her since Clown Girl.

Loved it. No surprise, there is something particularly sexy about Monica Drake's lushy characters. They nurse red beers and always keep at arm's length. The rest: classic noir with distinctive Northwest attributes. Raymond Chandler's dark alleys and long shadows have streams of water coming down from the spouts. The d
Edwin Battistella
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Portland Noir, editor Kevin Sampsell takes us through the Rose City’s wilted flowers with 16 stories by Oregonians including one illustrated story and another set in Powell’s City of Books. Some of my favorite Oregon writers were represented including Bill Cameron, Flood Skloot, Karen Karbo and Monica Drake, and I was introduced to some new-to-me folks—like Gigi Little, Justin Hocking, Zoe Trope, and Luciana Lopez. Great crime fiction, gritty local color, an edge depiction of the seamy side o ...more
Nov 02, 2014 added it
With a title 'noir' you know the stories will be gritty and dark and indeed most of the stories were. But there were flashes of dark humor, like the story where the protaganist is the feature page editor and decides to get back at his ex by tweaking her horoscope. Or the girl with 'hair the color of velveeta'.
I enjoyed the descriptions of Portland neighborhoods, some of which I will probably avoid.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Short stories that take place in different areas/neighborhoods of Portland. I picked this up when I was in Portland last October and enjoyed reading it. The stories are solid and of interest. Each story, as the title suggests, reflects some dark corner or inhabitant's bent. Initially reading I would have given the book four stars but as it neared the end I was happy to finish - didn't need more Portland Noir - as books I really like or love leave me wanting.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Since I am new to Portland, this book proved to be an interesting way to get to know the neighborhoods. As it usually goes with collections, not every is a winner, but there are enough wacky and singularly Portland mysteries that make this worth the read. People Are Strange and Julia Now are both excellent.
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I realize the title of the book is Portland "Noir" but I never realized I was living in such a creepy city. None the less I had a hard time putting the book down. I would not recommend reading this book before going to sleep. I did and it resulted in some strange dreams.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Stories You Tell (Roxane Weary, #3)
  • What You Want To See (Roxane Weary, #2)
  • The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary, #1)
  • Seattle Noir
  • Watch Over Me
  • The Heatwave
  • Everything Sad Is Untrue
  • Santa Fe Noir
  • Little Disasters
  • The Dark Flood Rises
  • The Invention of Sound
  • Santa Cruz Noir
  • Hieroglyphics
  • Wow, No Thank You.
  • Life on Earth
  • Paper Girls, Vol. 6
  • Frida
  • Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery
See similar books…
I am the publisher of Future Tense Books in Portland, Oregon. I work at Powell's Books and also make collage art. I have written reviews and articles for various papers and mags. I have a few books out. My memoir, A Common Pornography, was published by Harper Perennial and my novel, This Is Between Us, was published by Tin House Books. I also edited Portland Noir, a book of crime fiction published ...more

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
29 likes · 15 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Lore is my favorite kind of story. Because it's not only historical, it's a lie everyone knows is a lie but tells anyway. I love that. Of course every story I tell is true. Completely true. Completely and utterly at least five-eighths of the way to being true, which is truer than any piece of lore and truer than most truths you'll hear.” 1 likes
More quotes…