For a number of years now, book publisher Akashic Books has been publishing collections of noir fiction short stories set in cities around the world. From Chicago and Miami, to far-flung cities such as Addis Ababa, Hong Kong, and Vancouver, these collections always feature a selection of writers local to the city their stories are set in. But there is no place like home, so I was very happy to see that Akashic finally published a collection for Cleveland.
Like the other collections, Cleveland Noir features a diverse “who’s-who” cast of local authors who each write stories set in the various neighborhoods around Cleveland. From the Flats, to Parma, to Hough, to Lakewood, this collection of stories offers noir short stories with a local twist. To get you started, here are my brief summaries of four stories set in and around the Heights.
Sugar Daddy by Abby L. Vandiver: An East Cleveland cop gets a phone call from the sister of an old associate with whom they feel obligated to help. After their attempted cover-up a crime fails, and the blame squarely falls on the girl, he tells the girl’s grandmother about her crime. Just another sad story of lost youth from a once-proud suburb.
The Fallen by Thrity Umrigar: A young couple from Cleveland Heights get into an argument after a party, accusing each other of gaslighting and jealousy. Meanwhile, a former US Army soldier reflects on their life and their time in the army.
The Ultimate Cure by Michael Ruhlman: A woman down on her luck meets an extraordinary man at a bar in Shaker Square. He is also down on his luck, but has a plan that will turn everything around. And now that they’ve found each other, things are looking up.
Lenny, but not Corky by Daniel Stashower: An old man with a guitar sits down for an interview with the Cleveland Scene to discuss an infamous murder from the 1970s. The interview takes place at, where else, Tommy’s on Coventry.
Other Akashic Books Noir Collections available at Heights Libraries: