The Jook

Zelmont Raines has slid a long way since his ability to jook, to out maneuver his opponents on the field, made him a Super Bowl winning wide receiver, earning him lucrative endorsement deals and more than his share of female attention. But Zee hasn’t always been good at saying no, so a series of missteps involving drugs, a paternity suit or two, legal entanglements, shaky investments and recurring injuries have virtually sidelined his career.

That is until Los Angeles gets a new pro franchise, the Barons, and Zelmont has one last chance at the big time he dearly misses. Just as it seems he might be getting back in the flow, he’s enraptured by Wilma Wells, the leggy and brainy lawyer for the team–who has a ruthless game plan all her own. And it’s Zelmont who might get jooked.

Las Vegas Noir

In 2004, Akashic Books launched a groundbreaking series of original noir anthologies, starting with the award-winning best-seller Brooklyn Noir. Each book is comprised of new stories, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the city of the book.

In this chilling portrait of America’s Sin City, lady luck is just as likely to dispense cold hard cash as a cold-hearted killing.

Brand-new stories by: John O’Brien, David Corbett, Scott Phillips, Nora Pierce, Tod Goldberg, Bliss Esposito, Felicia Campbell, Jaq Greenspon, Jose Skinner, Pablo Medina, Christine McKellar, Lori Kozlowski, Vu Tran, Celeste Starr, Preston L. Allen, and Janet Berliner. — See below for full table of contents.

Las Vegas provides the classic sophistication and darkness necessary for a deadly noir story. Stylish, sultry, brimming with ambition and greed, the characters that populate this literary Las Vegas are pushed to the extremes of human experience. From the neon glitter of the Strip to the treacherous views of Red Rock Canyon and Boulder City, from the desperation of Naked City to the racial tensions of the Westside, no other location offers so many different avenues leading to serious trouble.

Many legendary authors have turned their attention to Vegas to investigate the city’s moods and mysteries. Now, the most recent crop of acclaimed writers explore the secret neighborhoods and byways of America’s most sinful city, offering readers not only compelling noir tales but also an insider’s understanding of this steamy oasis. These authors take readers beneath the surface flash of Freemont Street and the Strip and into the gritty multicultural environs of underground Vegas.


Table of Contents
Part I: Sin City
“The Tik” by John O’Brien (Scotch 80s) — Narrator: Darla Middlebrook
“Pretty Little Parasite” by David Corbett (Fremont) — Narrator: Arielle Lipshaw
“Mitzhav” by Tod Goldberg (Summerlin) — Narrator: Mike Vendetti
“Babs” by Scott Phillips (Naked City) — Narrator: Charles Bice
“This or Any Desert” by Vu Tran (Chinatown) — Narrator: Mike Vendetti

Part II: Neon Grit
“Benny Rojas and the Rough Riders” by Pablo Medina (West Las Vegas) — Narrator: Mike Vendetti
“Bits and Pieces” by Christine McKellar (Green Valley) — Narrator: Lee Ann Howlett
“Crip” by Preston L. Allen (Nellis) — Narrator: Darla Middlebrook
“Three Times a Night, Every Other Night” by Lori Kozlowski (North Las Vegas) — Narrator: Arielle Lipshaw
“Disappear” by Jaq Greenspon (Sunset Park) — Narrator: Charles Bice
“All About Balls” by Jose Skinner (East Las Vegas) — Narrator: Mike Vendetti

Part III: Tales from the Outskirts
“Atomic City” by Nora Pierce (Test Site) — Narrator: Charles Bice
“Dirty Blood” by Celeste Starr (Pahrump) — Narrator: Darla Middlebrook
“Guns Don’t Kill People” by Bliss Esposito (Centennial Hills) — Narrator: Diane Havens
“Murder Is Academic” by Felicia Campbell (Mount Charleston) — Narrator: Denice Stradling
“The Road to Rachel” by Janet Berliner (Area 51) — Narrator: Kenneth Campbell

One O’Clock Jump

Halfway around the world, war has begun, but for Dorie Lennox, a newly-minted private eye on her first tail, danger is more immediate. The dark streets of Kansas City of 1939 offer swing music, fast cars, gangsters, and the chance to forget about the Depression and her own murky past. But first she must conquer her fears and save a woman on a bridge high above the muddy Missouri. Dorie is thrown into a quickly unraveling scam that offers salvation to few — and misery to plenty — in the high stakes world of machine politics and desperation deals.

With vivid prose and sharp dialogue, the world of Dorie Lennox comes alive, behind the wheel of her Packard in jazz-age Kansas City. The landscape of America and the homefront of World War II are evoked in a thoughtful mystery that lingers for the force of characters and keen sharpness of a slice of history seen through the perceptive, compassionate eyes of Dorie Lennox.

Cover background image from shog9 – flickr CC-BY-SA

The Vaults

In a dystopian 1930s America, a chilling series of events leads three men down a path to uncover their city’s darkest secret.

At the height of the most corrupt administration in the City’s history, a mysterious duplicate file is discovered deep within the Vaults—a cavernous hall containing all of the municipal criminal justice records of the last seventy years. From here, the story follows: Arthur Puskis, the Vault’s sole, hermit-like archivist with an almost mystical faith in a system to which he has devoted his life; Frank Frings, a high-profile investigative journalist with a self-medicating reefer habit; and Ethan Poole, a socialist private eye with a penchant for blackmail.

All three men will undertake their own investigations into the dark past and uncertain future of the City—calling into question whether their most basic beliefs can be maintained in a climate of overwhelming corruption and conspiracy.

Cover background image from Boston Public Library