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Las Vegas Noir (Akashic Noir) Paperback – May 1, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Just because mystery fans will be unfamiliar with many of the 16 contributors to Akashic's latest entry in its acclaimed noir series (Brooklyn Noir, etc.) doesn't mean the quality isn't up to volumes boasting bigger names. The late John O'Brien, best known for his novel-turned-film, Leaving Las Vegas, offers a typically warped and nihilistic vision of the city with The Tik, about a thrill-killing duo, narrated by the male half, whose indifference to his prey is chilling. Columnist Tod Goldberg's Mitzvah makes good use of the Las Vegas myth that people come to the city to bury their past identities and reinvent themselves. His antihero, mobster Sal Cuperine, has for years posed as Rabbi David Cohen, managing to handle the demands of the pulpit until the strain of his charade becomes too much to bear. While some readers might regret that no tale other than Janet Berliner's The Road to Rachel explores Las Vegas's past, this anthology does a fine job of illuminating the dark underbelly of Sin City. (May)
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From the Publisher

Launched by the summer '04 award-winning bestseller Brooklyn Noir, Akashic Books continues its groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies. Each book is comprised of all-new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.
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Product Details

  • Series: Akashic Noir
  • Paperback: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The latest compilation in Akashic Books' fine Noir series takes us on a wide-ranging tour de force of Las Vegas, America's own City of Lights. Here, the standard cliches are out, while a fresh literary degustation is in. Nicely edited by Jarret Keene (author of 2000's 'Underground Guide to Las Vegas') and Todd James Pierce, Las Vegas Noir avoids ubiquitous Hollywood-driven conventions regarding that which exists away from showgirls, poker geeks, and high roller suites on the Strip. Instead, we are treated to 15 highly original stories by a fresh roster of writers who capture the surprising diversity of voice and millieu that is 21st Century Las Vegas. From Felicia Campbell's riotous take on the University of Never Leaving Vegas ('Murder is Academic') to Tod Goldberg's knowing snapshot of my home neighborhood of Summerlin ('Mitzvah'), Las Vegas Noir vindicates a Southern Nevada literary scene slowly emerging from its clique-ish, native-born treehouse of not long ago - and gives Akashic's well-earned national readership another Noir collection to feast upon.
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I was hoping for a little more casino action, but the 16 stories comprising this great new addition to the Akashic noir series conceived by Tim McCloughlin is one of the better ones. The best thing about the Akashics is how they introduce us to some of the finest new talent writing in this genre today. It's where I discovered Charlie Stella and Ken Bruen, amongst many others. This is the 10th title of the already-published 20; another 15 are forthcoming. All have thumbnail photos and bios of the authors at the end of the books, giving further information about the writers and their other work. This one is divided into three sections: Sin City, Neon Grit, and Tales from the Outskirts. My favorite stories are the five in the first section. John O'Brien's "The Tik" is about a man who returns to his woman's house after a prolonged absence and re-enacts a dark ritual with a strange drug and a woman the couple picks up on a late-night prowl of the strip and lures home. David Corbett's "Pretty Little Parasite" concerns a woman drawn into the world of cocaine dealing and the junkie undercover cop she enables. Tod Goldberg's "Mitzvah" is about a pair of aging Chicago gangsters who for years have posed as rabbis and preside over a private cemetery which is a perfect dumping ground for the Mob. Scott Phillips' "Babs" covers an ex-stripper he visits while on his way back to L.A., to pick up a package of meth for a friend. One of the finest stories is Vu Tran's "This or Any Desert" about an Oakland cop who travels to Vegas to avenge the abuse his ex-wife suffers at the hands of her new husband. In Part Two, my favorite was Pablo Medina's "Benny Rojas and the Rough Riders" whose protagonist is a Cuban exile landing a new life on the boulevard of broken dreams.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Akashic Noir series publishes short mystery stories with various locales as a common theme. They are all written by authors from the particular locale. Some of those writers are great story-tellers. Some authors just live and write nearby.
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I read this while in Vegas for a work trip. Couldn't wait to pick up the book every chance I had free time!
I enjoyed reading about the things you don't see when youre exploring the neighborhoods during the day,
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Format: Kindle Edition
Not a bad collection. Plenty of fun stories. It's just that very, very few of them have anything to do with noir. In all of the stories there's an element of crime, primarily murder, but what lacks is that dreadful sense of a "lose-lose" situation where no matter what choices our protagonist makes (and often choices that should be preceded by a sense of no other options being left) they're going to lose, and, in fact, were doomed from the start.

The strongest story of the bunch, and the most "noir" of the collection, is "Crip" by Preston L. Allen.

Other highlights include "Mitzvah" by Tod Goldberg, "Pretty Little Paradise" by David Corbett, "Three Times a Night, Every Other Night" by Lori Kozlowski, and "The Road to Rachel" by Janet Berliner.
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This time there are sixteen short stories by authors for the most part that are not well known. Some of the reads are quite gruesome. Particularly I liked Tran Vu's Chinatown about a cop who's wife left him and how he tried to get revenge on her new husband and Preston Allen's Nellis about a tough, ugly,large,tender hearted black body guard/enforcer who had a traumatic childhood but became a gentle giant giving up his life for a young girl. Worthwile read.
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Format: Paperback
I'd ignore the 1-star review here as this is not an action book and doesn't pretend to be. It's a collection of evocative and atmospheric noir/crime stories that explore the face of Vegas that most people never see. Not every story is a success, but there are enough good ones to make it worth buying if you're at all interested in Sin City.

One of the best stories for me was "This or Any Desert", which is set in Vietnamese-Chinatown and brings it to life wonderfully - all its sights, sounds, and smells. I was looking forward to reading "The Tik", which was written by John O'Brien whose novel Leaving Las Vegas was made into a good Vegas movie. But the story here is very predictable and totally unbelievable. It's a story that tries too hard to shock the reader, but all I did was yawn.

But that poor story is an exception. Most of the stories are well-written and gripping, and create a Vegas world that is going on all around the casinos and shows. A good read, definitely.
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