In Requiem for a Heavyweight, Jackie Gleason's character Maish says, "I'm in Pittsburgh . . . and it's raining."
Pittsburgh has recently (and more than once) been called the most livable city in America; yet the old image of smoky skies and steel mills spewing forth grit has never quite disappeared. Our history as a dirty industrial center is a part of us, a part of our toughness. The three rivers were the very reasons the city was founded—river trade, industry—and the very reasons the views from the hills are now (smoke gone) spectacularly beautiful. The citizens of Pittsburgh are sports crazy because the sports narrative is always a fight—a contest—the best story being the miracle of an underdog victory. Not long ago, Tom Hanks on the David Letterman show imitated a crazed, bellowing Steelers fan. The city, perhaps the most livable in America, is an underdog itself, still the easy target of jokes. Black and gold are it's colors. Black. And gold. Underdogs do what they have to do.
Rivers, bridges, parks, hills, and back alleys are the settings for fourteen startling stories set in Pittsburgh neighborhoods—among them Bloomfield, Lawrenceville, Point Breeze, Homewood, Squirrel Hill, Wilkinsburg, Forest Hills, Schenley Farms, the Mexican War Streets, McKee's Rocks. Death and sex, part of any noir tapestry, are to be found here. But so are trickery and toughness. The people of the steel city fight.
Brand new stories by Stewart O'Nan, Hilary Masters, Reginald McKnight, K.C. Constantine, Lila Shaara, Nancy Martin, Kathleen George, and many others.
Read Kathleen's interviews, articles and blogs
Akashic Books, paperback, June 2011, ISBN-13: 978-1936070930
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Praise for PITTSBURGH NOIR
"Despite Pittsburgh being labeled the country's most livable city, the fictional citizens populating the 14 high quality stories in Akashic's noir anthology centered on the Steel City have the same dreams, frustrations, passions, and vices as anyone else. Lila Shaara gets things off to a nice start with "Atom Smasher," an ironic story of a laid-off journalist preoccupied with his youthful sexual conquests at the local particle accelerator. An apparently straightforward justified homicide, involving a homeowner protecting his attractive teenage daughter, rankles the investigating officers in editor George's "Intruder," but she packs a wallop into the ending in perhaps the volume's best entry. A similar lethal bite is in store for the reader in Rebecca Drake's "Loaded," which shows that something new still can be done with the repercussions of a married man's affair. Other contributors include Stewart O'Nan, Nancy Martin, and Kathryn Miller Haines."
"For my money, the "Akashic Noir" series has been one of the best bargains of the past decade. Started in 2004, the series has almost 50 titles thus far. These regional gems give us a chance to sample new stories from the locals, writers who know the dark sides of their cities, regions, or even countries. The introductions, maps, and author bios all enhance the respective volumes. George, author of an Edgar®-nominated Pittsburgh-based series (Hideout; The Odds) shares the "dark underbelly" of her city, sectioning her anthology off thematically: "Prime Real Estate"; "Three Rivers"; "Universities, Parks, Recreation"; and "Neighbors Who Care." The volume is solidly anchored with familiar names like K.C. Constantine, Thomas Lipinski, and Nancy Martin—plus others you might not have expected."