Chicago Noir: The Classics

By Joe Meno

105 ratings - 3.41* vote

"In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime fiction....Familiar bylines abound: Max Allan Collins, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, Sherwood Anderson, Fredric Brown, Patricia Highsmith (with an excerpt from her novel The Price of Salt), Stewart M. Kaminsky, Sara Paretsky. Others may be less familiar to mystery specialists, "In this superior entry in Akashic's noir series, Meno offers nearly a century of Chicago crime

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Book details

Paperback, 288 pages
September 1st 2015 by Akashic Books

(first published August 10th 2015)

Original Title
Chicago Noir: The Classics
1617752940 (ISBN13: 9781617752940)

Community Reviews


Good compilation of short stories. It is best read with a noir film accent in short staccato phrases. As someone from Chicago, this was a fun read to see how things have changed in various neighborhoods over the years!

Jeremy Hornik

Meh. Collection of short crime set in Chicago. Not enough memorable stuff.


There is a whole series of city specific "noir" books and as a result I'm going to write just one review rather than a review of each one that I read.

As with any book of short stories you'll have some bad stories, some "meh", some that are okay and others that just might encourage you to check out a new author or two. As said before each of the books are city specific (i.e. Chicago, Manhattan, Detroit, Venice, Montreal and so on - you get the idea.) There is approximately a dozen or stories in each book.

If you're looking for one particular genre (i.e. mystery) then don't expect to get just that. One definition of the genre is "Taken from the French word meaning "darkness" or "of the night," noir is a category of modern crime fiction. Used for fiction of crime and detection, often in a grim urban setting, featuring petty, amoral criminals and other down-and-out characters, and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism and despair." (

The series, published by Akashic Books, seem to be about the same length (about 250 pages) The stories for the most part are enjoyable and I will look for more in the series (especially the Canadian locales)

Fun books to read. Recommended.


Solid 3 stars for this group of short stories in the Noir series. In particular, I liked how the stories/authors were broken up into different eras: Jazz Age, Noir and Modern Crime. Some of the authors were not known, while others familiar - which is what always makes these books fun. For example, an easy read by Percy Spurlark Parker and a rather weird story by Sherwood Anderson - which may not (really) be weird (for him). [email protected]


Good collection of Chicago based short stories- made better by my recent trip to Chicago: I recognized many of the places discussed. The best of the group: Sandra Cisneros, Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Stuart Dybek.

Eli Poteet

i personally disliked the modern crime ending but rejoiced in the discovery of the excerpt from the price of salt. happy ending lesbian pulp from the 50s, mind blowing!

Carol Havlik

Sent book to Chris


Loved the Sara Paretsky story. I tried to read several stories but I'm not a noir fan.


Very solid, as always.


I have never really delved into noir stories before, and this was a great read to get started! Looking forward to reading more anthologies in this series (Los Angeles, New York).