The book marks one of many in a series spanning the globe, including a recent Columbus edition and noir books from Ghana, the Netherlands and other American regions including Alabama and Brooklyn.
For Cleveland’s edition, the authors again split stories by neighborhood — Downtown, East Cleveland, Coventry and beyond received their own grim tales, marked on a map at the start of the book with body-shaped chalk outlines.
The writers themselves exemplify the mini mixing pot that is The Land, a goal of editors Michael Ruhlman and Miesha Wilson Headen. The collection of stories features works by New York Times bestselling author Paula McLain, historical nonfiction author Daniel Stashower and Thrity Umrigar, whose 2022 novel Honor reached international acclaim as a part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club.
“It was really cool when they decided to bring Cleveland into it,” says award-winning Roseneath author Dana McSwain, who wrote “Bus Stop” for Cleveland Noir. “From the beginning, they were determined — and they made this very clear to all of us authors — that they were trying to recruit a group of writers that represented the diversity of Cleveland. And I personally feel like they really nailed the reality of Cleveland with regards to race, gender, sexuality, social and economic classes.”
McSwain’s piece revolves around an investigative journalist chasing old cases as he speaks, however briefly, with the deceased. More than a detective’s tale, though, McSwain says the story aims at the common dangers faced by women in Cleveland.
“It is frightening to be a woman in Cleveland,” she states, “and you do not receive the same level of respect and attention from the police. There's a handful of these old-school journalists in Cleveland, like the main character of my story, who make it a point of remembering these dead women on the anniversaries of their death.”
For noir lovers and interested Clevelanders, Music Box Supper Club will host a reading with dinner on Aug. 31, featuring editors Ruhlman and Headen, and several authors including McSwain and Umrigar reading their contributions.You can find the book on Akashic Book’s website, local shops including Mac’s Backs Books in Coventry, Amazon and perhaps a copy or two at the upcoming Music Box Supper Club event.