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Publisher's Summary

Launched with the summer '04 award-winning best seller 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. Reflecting a city still divided, Belfast Noir serves as a record of a city transitioning to normalcy, or perhaps as a warning that underneath the fragile peace darker forces still lurk.

Featuring brand-new stories by: Glenn Patterson, Eoin McNamee, Garbhan Downey, Lee Child, Alex Barclay, Brian McGilloway, Ian McDonald, Arlene Hunt, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Claire McGowan, Steve Cavanagh, Lucy Caldwell, Sam Millar, and Gerard Brennan.

From the introduction by Adrian McKinty & Stuart Neville: "Few European cities have had as disturbed and violent a history as Belfast over the last half-century. For much of that time the Troubles (1968–1998) dominated life in Ireland's second-biggest population centre, and during the darkest days of the conflict - in the 1970s and 1980s - riots, bombings, and indiscriminate shootings were tragically commonplace. The British army patrolled the streets in armoured vehicles and civilians were searched for guns and explosives before they were allowed entry into the shopping district of the city centre... Belfast is still a city divided... You can see Belfast's bloodstains up close and personal. This is the city that gave the world its worst ever maritime disaster, and turned it into a tourist attraction; similarly, we are perversely proud of our thousands of murders, our wounds constantly on display. You want noir? How about a painting the size of a house, a portrait of a man known to have murdered at least a dozen human beings in cold blood? Or a similar house-sized gable painting of a zombie marching across a post-apocalyptic wasteland with an AK-47 over the legend UVF: Prepared for Peace - Ready for War. As Lee Child has said, Belfast is still 'the most noir place on earth.'"

©2014 Akashic Books (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • carmen
  • OFallon, MO, United States
  • 04-09-15

Not what I expected

I thought it was going to be all about the troubles( not the place) but actually there are different stories mostly crime but there are modern stories about Belfast. I really liked the one by Lee Childs that put an American spin on it. I also enjoyed the one by Garvin Downey How to Kill a Rat. It was about a journalist and it showed his process of uncovering stories. And a twist ending. Plus half of the stories are narrated by Gerard Doyle who could read the phone book while the listener goes through a whole range of emotions.

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

The Most Noir City in The World

I love noir films - dark, atmospheric. I was excited to read this one, not sure why Belfast is particularly noir but willing to find out. The first stories in this series of short stories set the scene. Before, during and after "the troubles" in the 80s, Belfast has been a city of ghosts. In struggles against the English, between Catholic and Protestant, Belfast is full of pubs, allies and squares where this one was martyred and those died for no reason or she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stories are of children whose bombs went off early and simple folks caught in the cross fire. Dark, cold for much of the year and haunted by needless deaths, the editors begin by asserting that Belfast is "The Most Noir City in the World".

As the book progresses, the hard boiled crime dramas that define noir make their appearance. McKinty is rather clever in his arrangement of stories and though it starts slowly, it makes sense in the end.

I'd also like to mention that this was a real education for me. As bad as I was aware Belfast was in the 80s, the stories provide a window into the ongoing struggles of the good people of North Ireland. These stories are raw, direct, quintessentially Irish and gripping. Again, the dark shadows of the genre extent as the stories progress but all are well crafted, entertaining and educational in so far as they communicate the pain of the Irish experience and the legacy of the struggles of the 80s.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Teriffic!

Superb, inventive and varied collection of place-and-time themed noir short fiction. Expertly read by the four narrators.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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mixed bag

some stories were very good, but some were terrible. also, there's an existing mistake, where a narrator starts talking to the editor that was left in

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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dark glimpses

great narration of high quality. short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I highly recommend this audio book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • San Jose, CA, United States
  • 12-11-17

Enjoyable, Right Up To The Dog Baiting/Fighting

I found some of these stories compelling, some less so, but couldn't get past the bit with the dog fighting and the sacrifice of the bait dog. I don't need to see those images in my mind's eye. The story I liked most was with the teen-aged private eye, a plucky fellow who gets into things a lot deeper than he ever imagined.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ky
  • 05-24-17

Interesting

An interesting read if you're interested in Belfast but needlessly edgy at times and graphic. It seems like its trying to be dark by way of over compensation

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 05-17-15

The Dark, the Doomed and the Damned

I have half a dozen "Noir" books sitting on my bookshelf. Each book is a collection of short stories by top notch writers. They're fun to read when traveling to a new city, or revisiting a favorite place. If you live in Southern California, "Los Angeles Noir" (2007) and "Los Angeles Noir 2" (2010) are an eerie homage to Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane.

I'm not familiar with most of the writers in "Belfast Noir" (2014), except Lee Child, a British writer who created the adventurer investigator and hero, Jack Reacher. Well, I'm not as familiar with those authors - yet. What's neatest about each book is there's always a story that resonates with me. Ruth Dudley's "Taking it Serious" is going to echo always - and so is Glenn Patterson's "Belfast Punk REP." I'll be able to think of the stories, close my eyes, and remember where I was when I heard them the first time. Unfortunately, that was on the 605 North stuck in unrelenting early evening "rush hour" traffic that really should be called "slow to stop hour traffic". That's the drawback of an Audible listen, but it's a small sacrifice for a good story instead of inane radio hosts chattering on about celebrity arrests.

Like so many Americans, I've got a strong Irish immigrant background. I grew up knowing about 'The Troubles', but I hadn't really thought much about them since the Good Friday Agreements of 1998. Some of the stories - like Lucy Caldwell's "Poison" are time and location independent. A lot aren't, so the book has a historical and geographic introduction that helps put those stories in perspective. Almost all of "Belfast Noir" is narrated by voice actors using Ulster accents, which I enjoyed.

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20 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Susie
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 05-12-15

Belfast, My Dark Heart!

What made the experience of listening to Belfast Noir the most enjoyable?

Superb casting and great authors

What other book might you compare Belfast Noir to and why?

It’s among the best of the Akashic Noir series. I would say this one, and Tehran Noir are my very favorites, and I’ve read them ALL, every single one.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

Great dialect and Irish sensibility, timing, these are all actors who love this material and can bring it to life, for American audiences, too!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"I'm f’in' Irish, so I'll deal with something being wrong the rest of my life."

Any additional comments?

Yes. I was the acquiring editor and producer on this title, so DUH! I’m prejudiced. But I don’t write reviews for everything I produce, this one is special. I was honored to work with all these authors.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great tales amazing narration

Makes you feel like you were there! Only one story was kind of not so good, but all were very Irish.