Read Portland Noir by Kevin Sampsell Karen Karbo Bill Cameron Ariel Gore Floyd Skloot Kimberly Warner-Cohen Jonathan Selwood Justin Hocking Online


In a city full of police controversies, hippie artist punk houses, and overzealous liberals, Portland, Oregon, is a place where even its fiction blurs with its bizarre realities.Brand-new stories by: Gigi Little, Justin Hocking, Christopher Bolton, Jess Walter, Monica Drake, Jamie S. Rich (illustrated by Joelle Jones), Dan DeWeese, Zoe Trope, Luciana Lopez, Karen Karbo, BiIn a city full of police controversies, hippie artist punk houses, and overzealous liberals, Portland, Oregon, is a place where even its fiction blurs with its bizarre realities.Brand-new stories by: Gigi Little, Justin Hocking, Christopher Bolton, Jess Walter, Monica Drake, Jamie S. Rich (illustrated by Joelle Jones), Dan DeWeese, Zoe Trope, Luciana Lopez, Karen Karbo, Bill Cameron, Ariel Gore, Floyd Skloot, Megan Kruse, Kimberly Warner-Cohen, and Jonathan Selwood.Editor Kevin Sampsell is a bookstore employee and writer. He is the author of a short story collection, Creamy Bullets (Chiasmus Press), and the upcoming memoir The Suitcase (HarperPerennial, summer 2009). He is also the editor of The Insomniac Reader (Manic D Press) and the publisher of the micropress Future Tense Books....

Title : Portland Noir
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781933354798
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 300 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Portland Noir Reviews

  • Kevin
    2019-05-28 02:00

    I edited this really fun and gritty collection of literary crime fiction for Akashic. It comes out in early June. Some great Portland lit stars like Monica Drake, Ariel Gore, and Zoe Trope team up with seasoned mystery authors like Jess Walter ad Bill Cameron. But a couple of my favorite pieces came from lesser-known Portlanders like Dan DeWeese and Megan Kruse.

  • Alan
    2019-06-17 02:05

    Portland Noir will give you false impressions of Portland, Oregon. This town's not nearly as uniformly seedy as these pages portray. Nor is it as smoky, especially after the indoor-smoking ban went through, a year or more after most of these stories were written. Nor will you be tripping over a body every block or so in real life here. Honestly, I know... this is the town where I live.However, Kevin Sampsell's book does contain a wealth of local color—the gray of drizzle and the green of moss; the rich, dark browns of strong roasted coffee and microbrewed porter—and those details all ring true to me. Or true enough, anyway; storytellers lie to us, you know, dark and beautiful lies that we invite with our eyes... and that's just what you'll get here: dark and beautiful lies, though the beauty's often in the shine of a bruise or the slick of rain-washed blood under a streetlight.Each story is keyed to a particular area of Stumptown, and there's even a map at the front to show you where each one lies. Oregonian readers (and others) will recognize Floyd Skloot's name among the contributors; the other names didn't ring many bells with me, but their work stands on its own: every story is consistently strong and emotionally charged.If I had to pick three favorites, it'd be very tough to do. Sampsell did a stunning job assembling this book. Looking back over the Table of Contents... the new homeowner who turns amateur detective in Luciana Lopez's "Julia Now"; Bill Cameron's "Coffee, Black" from the Crooks & Cops section, with its adroit mix of global and local politics; and the graphic (as in, black-and-white art) story "Gone Doggy Gone," by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones. And oh, okay, toss in Jonathan Selwood's "The Wrong House," which 'happened' just up the street from me.I suppose it's unfair of me to complain about the fact that all of these stories are dark; it is a noir anthology, after all. Happy endings aren't in the cards. The most you can hope for is bittersweet. And for that reason I would recommend reading this book in small doses, one or two tales at a time, rather than all at once—unless you think you're tough enough to handle it.

  • Mandy
    2019-06-22 04:09

    This should be required reading for the Portland State Univ. Pop Culture cluster... course titled “Olde Portland” if there was one.

  • Joy Cartier
    2019-05-29 04:07

    Dim the lights, put on some slow-burning jazz, and loosen your tie as you take the craft of flash fiction writing and apply it to the seedy, crime-riddled world of noir fiction. Your job is to present an engaging story in 500 words or less in that grand tradition of Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, or Jim Thompson. This contest is a fundraiser for p:ear, a program for homeless and transitional youth, and will be judged by Kevin Sampsell, editor of the bestselling anthology, Portland Noir (Akashic Books). The top three stories will be read at p:ear noir the fundraising event on October 7th from 7-9p, benefiting p:ear, and located at 338 NW 6th Ave. Author of the winning story will receive a $50 gift certificate to Powell's Bookstore (available on line), a signed copy of Portland Noir, and a chapbook from IPRC containing the top 10 flash fiction entries.Entry fee: $15, a mighty portion of the proceeds benefit p:ear.Deadline: please submit Flash Fiction entries by September 11th online at or or mail them with check to Flash Fiction, p:ear, 338 NW 6th, Portland OR 97209 As in the rest of the series from Akashic, all the stories in Portland Noir are set in a specific city. If you live in Portland, OR read this book. If you don't live in Portland, read this book. It details the underbelly of any city. It's got everything - cops and robbers, otherworldly Twilight Zone stuff, and other stories that defy easy categorization in a voice that keeps you listening.Portland Noir is so good and well, so darn fun I have to recommend the fund raiser that's being based on it for p:ear, a program for homeless youth in Portland ( In collaboration with Wordstock ( and Kevin Sampsell, the editor of Portland Noir, readers from the book and flash fiction contest winners will come together on October 7th from 7-9pm at p:ear to indulge in the dark and bring a little light into the lives of homeless kids. This is going to be good. Save the date.

  • Carye Bye
    2019-06-07 08:22

    This was a book we read for the Hidden Portland book. It's a collection of 16 new short stories by local or localish authors who were asked to write on the theme of Noir. There are other Noir cities in the collection, but Portland has a great underbelly and fringe culture so it's a perfect fit. I'm not really a fiction writer, and I admit I got frustrated at time at how just when I was getting interested, the story was wrapped up ( sorta ) and then on to the next. I took notes about Portland mentions and enjoyed little snippets such as Extremo the Clown, the Portland Horse Project, Sam Adams campaign sign, a queen bee bag, that you know a lot about if you live here. Some authors did a great job describing locals such as Dots Cafe or the Oaks Bottom. Some were great at descriptions of people or good at getting under your skin, some seemed less noir and more erotica. Over all I may have not finished the book if not for book club but it gave me a sampling of local writers and editor Kevin Sampsell writes a really good intro. The book was published in 2009 and still does pretty well. Had a chance to talke with KS at our book club and he expressed an interest to do another and had ideas, but didn't know where or if he had the time or the publisher was interested in revisiting Portland again.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-20 09:59

    Fantastic read (and such a good idea!) of short stories written by local authors. Noir is such a specific type of writing style that it took me a couple of stories to get over feeling that the authors were "overwriting." Once I got into it though I had SO MUCH FUN. Reading about all the places in Portland was great and being able to picture them added to the experience.

  • Elvira
    2019-06-18 07:13

    since this is a series of short stories - each written by a different author, I kept reading think that the next one HAS to be better than the one I just finished. NOPE! they all were horrible.

  • Babs
    2019-06-23 02:09

    Great group of short stories by very talented Portland area writers. Ready to hit Powell's Books, Shanghai Tunnel, Tik Tok and Voodoo Doughnuts.

  • Chris
    2019-06-08 05:06

    i literally threw this book away after i had finished it because it was so terrible.

  • lara
    2019-06-12 07:18

    Better than the Seattle one, plus one of the stories works in an appearance by Extremo the Clown's artcar!

  • Elevate Difference
    2019-05-26 08:05

    Noir is easier to recognize than to define. The best dictionary definition I found was, “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.” Portland Noir, then, has a self-explanatory title: it is a collection of short, dark stories that take place in Portland, Oregon. Akashic Books has published a whole series of similar collections set in numerous cities in the U.S. and around the globe.Reading this book made me want to immediately find a copy of Chicago Noir. Since I’ve never been to Portland, I felt like I was missing out. I was unfamiliar with the neighborhoods and businesses mentioned, and could not judge the accuracy of Portland’s portrayal. It was clear that the city was more than just a setting; Portland is almost another character in many of the pieces.Despite my ignorance of Portland, I still found the stories very creative and enjoyable. Some of the tales were more traditional noir pieces, with Philip Marlowe-type protagonists and centering around crimes. Other stories had the feel of noir, but might not fit the classic definition.As with most short fiction collections, the stories vary greatly. Few readers will enjoy every story, but many will enjoy several. Characters include cops and private eyes, drug addicts and prostitutes, murderers and artists, hipsters and activists. Stories involve murder, blackmail, burglary, torture, vandalism, and even a little romance. There is even a comic book style illustrated story, “Gone Doggy Gone” by Jamie S. Rich & Joëlle Jones. Truly, this book has something for every noir fan.I felt deep disdain for the narrator of the opening story, “The Clown and the Bard,” by Karen Karbo, in which a sexist low-life gets away with killing his ex-girlfriend. But,I was captivated by the next story, “Julia Now,” by Luciana Lopez, in which a woman becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to a previous tenant of her home. I was strangely captivated by “The Sleeper” by Dan DeWeese, a wandering tale of a newspaper delivery man with a possible substance abuse problem. “Virgo” by Jess Walter is a surprising, and surprisingly funny, story about a disgruntled newspaper employee who alters the horoscopes to harass his astrology-believing ex-girlfriend. The narrator is completely unlikable, yet laugh-out-loud funny:"We’d had the same old fight, with the same stale grievances Tanya had been lobbing at me for three months, almost since the day I moved in: Blah, blah, stalled relationship; blah, blah, stunted growth; blah, blah, I worry that you’re a psychopath…"“Burnside Forever” by Justin Hocking–which opens with the two-word sentence, “Fuck Hawaii.”–reminded me strongly of Michael Hornburg’s novel Bongwater, which is also set (mostly) in Portland. “People Are Strange” by Kimberly Warner-Cohen, is a disturbing story about a woman determined to track down her missing identical twin sister. I’d hate to ruin the twist, but know this: Happy endings are rarely found in noir.Review by Kellie Powell

  • Jacob
    2019-05-30 04:03

    Cool to see stories in my favorite genre set in Portland. Felt uneven in quality and, much like the city, lacked diversity. A few standouts and a few clunkers.

  • Harris
    2019-05-27 10:18

    After having visited Portland, Oregon a few times, it is definitely true that the city of roses has a personality all its own. From the twee humor of the modern gentrified Portlandia to the seedy history of Old Town and its shanghai tunnels, this entry in the Akashic Noir series reflect the conflicting and quirky nature of the Pacific Northwest city. I have enjoyed this series’ explorations of world cities, and this is a good example of taking full advantage of an idiosyncratic place and exploring its shadows. Like others in the series, this collection has some stories that work better than others, but for the most part this is an effective collection linked strongly to the Portland setting, and from a variety of noir styles and approaches. The Red Room, set in Powell’s City of Books, is a good example, along with Hummingbird, and Shanghaied. One interesting aspect of Portland Noir, unlike the others I have read in the series, is that all of the stories contained inside have contemporary settings; while a few delve into the mysteries and horrors of the past, none are period pieces. While I do enjoy stories set in the past, in this case it almost gives the stories a more coherent, unified feeling. All in all, a satisfying collection that captures, I feel, the mood of the place.

  • Tinea
    2019-06-15 10:07

    Oooh, delightfully creepy stories all set within very specific locales in Portland. I read this during the week I spent in Portland, while sitting in the Red and Black Cafe, which gets a mention in one of the stories. I then had to walk 50 blocks to the house I was staying at, which had been pleasant enough every other night, but was absolutely terrifying after reading this book. At one point on the walk home some bushes in front of me suddenly came alive, parted... and a raccoon hopped out. He sauntered in front of me for a block and a half before jumping back into someone's landscaping.Some stories were better then others. A few were quite gruesome, most spooky, and there was a disturbing theme of abusive relationships as told by the abuser. As always, the tale of one of my all time favorite authors ever in the universe, Ms. Zoe Trope, was the best. Fun.

  • Kate
    2019-06-24 03:22

    A fairly recent Portland transplant, I bought this book as a gift for a guest and read it before the book left with them. Admittedly I'm not a regular reader of short stories -- in fact, this might have been the first compilation of short stories I've ever read. Noir is also not a genre I normally read. In other words I didn't have expectations. I enjoyed the stories by Luciana Lopez, Floyd Skloot, Dan DeWeese, and Kimberly Warner-Cohen the most. Overall the stories that make up the compilation paint a dark but humorous portrait of the city of Portland's inhabitants.Front to cover I should think that not every single story will appeal to any individual reader, but, if you're happy to skip over the bits you don't like, many Portlanders will find enough within to be sufficiently entertained, especially for those with a fondness for short stories. However, I'm not sure I'd recommend the book to anyone unfamiliar with Portland and its quirkiness.

  • Nick
    2019-05-30 05:13

    I interviewed Monica Drake for a zine I worked on. I didn't really know what I was doing, but she was good humored and gracious. Haven't run across anything by her since Clown Girl.Loved it. No surprise, there is something particularly sexy about Monica Drake's lushy characters. They nurse red beers and always keep at arm's length. The rest: classic noir with distinctive Northwest attributes. Raymond Chandler's dark alleys and long shadows have streams of water coming down from the spouts. The dark, burnt coffe is a frothy latte. The blue grey tobacco smoke is smoke of high grade marijuana, sweet and earthy and musty, sucked from glass pipes. The body floating in the river is a lesbian artist. The hard boiled, hard drinking detective must catch a band of anarchists running amok. Makes me crave a hand rolled cigarette and a shot of bourbon.

  • Edwin Battistella
    2019-06-23 02:06

    In Portland Noir, editor Kevin Sampsell takes us through the Rose City’s wilted flowers with 16 stories by Oregonians including one illustrated story and another set in Powell’s City of Books. Some of my favorite Oregon writers were represented including Bill Cameron, Flood Skloot, Karen Karbo and Monica Drake, and I was introduced to some new-to-me folks—like Gigi Little, Justin Hocking, Zoe Trope, and Luciana Lopez. Great crime fiction, gritty local color, an edge depiction of the seamy side of present dya Portland and a fine tribute to Portland’s noirish history.I’m from the other end of the state—Ashland, near the California border, and so Portland is always a little new to me every time I go. Portland Noir gives me some new things to watch for next time I visit.

  • Sonia
    2019-06-04 04:12

    What a disappointment. The only worthwhile pieces are those of Jess Walter and Floyd Skloot. Others are so self-indulgent and overwritten that I was turned off from this whole series, and indeed from some of the local authors whose other works I was planning to read.It's not my main complaint, but the fact that this is an all-white-but-one book is not only irresponsible but a missed opportunity.

  • Maureen
    2019-06-23 02:28

    Short stories that take place in different areas/neighborhoods of Portland. I picked this up when I was in Portland last October and enjoyed reading it. The stories are solid and of interest. Each story, as the title suggests, reflects some dark corner or inhabitant's bent. Initially reading I would have given the book four stars but as it neared the end I was happy to finish - didn't need more Portland Noir - as books I really like or love leave me wanting.

  • Elise
    2019-06-13 02:24

    With a title 'noir' you know the stories will be gritty and dark and indeed most of the stories were. But there were flashes of dark humor, like the story where the protaganist is the feature page editor and decides to get back at his ex by tweaking her horoscope. Or the girl with 'hair the color of velveeta'.I enjoyed the descriptions of Portland neighborhoods, some of which I will probably avoid.

  • Amy
    2019-05-31 10:13

    Since I am new to Portland, this book proved to be an interesting way to get to know the neighborhoods. As it usually goes with collections, not every is a winner, but there are enough wacky and singularly Portland mysteries that make this worth the read. People Are Strange and Julia Now are both excellent.

  • Mary
    2019-05-25 06:59

    I've read a few of the short stories. When I bought this book I thought it was more short stories about Portland's dark history, but turns out it is more dark stories set in Portland. So, not exactly what I was looking for, and have set this book aside for now. Might pick it up again later.

  • Donna
    2019-06-15 06:05

    Very enjoyable. I found ninety-five percent of these stories, which are set in specific neighborhoods in Portland, Or., written by very strong writers. This was a great find. Now I can explore the rest of the series, each a collection of stories that are set in cities all over the world.

  • Linda
    2019-06-19 10:23

    Portland is one of my favorite cities - Portland Noir - definitely a darker, sometimes haunting look into the seamier side of life. Sixteen short stories by Portland authors, among them Bill Cameron whose books I enjoy.

  • Matt
    2019-05-30 09:23

    Dark, brooding, intense, and's essential winter hibernation reading for Portlanders. That said, these stories lose much of their charm for the uninitiated...may seem like a rather pedestrian collection for non-PDXers.

  • Roxane
    2019-06-03 09:03

    Excellent! Great fun reading short stories using Portland as the backdrop - such as Powell's Books, 82nd, St. Johns, and Mt. Tabor. A couple of of the stories were a bit too dark for me but enjoyed the majority of them (even the graphic story).

  • Terry
    2019-06-04 02:04

    There were some interesting short pieces in this collection (I'm not a big fan of short fiction). It makes me appreciate even more what a stellar job the likes of Raymond Chandler did in capturing a whole city neighborhood by neighborhood in his L.A. novels.

  • Thoreau
    2019-05-25 10:08

    It's great to see the town you love from another angle, though it can be hard too. This is old-school noir: no happy/hollywood endings here, but it's not all bleak either, and irony abounds. If you love Portland but want to appreciate it blemishes and all, this is a good read.

  • Vickie
    2019-06-24 03:19

    I realize the title of the book is Portland "Noir" but I never realized I was living in such a creepy city. None the less I had a hard time putting the book down. I would not recommend reading this book before going to sleep. I did and it resulted in some strange dreams.

  • Jessica
    2019-06-03 03:15

    An enjoyable trip through my city's seedier side. I assume I don't need to mention that there are no stories set in the bucolic L.O.?