Get Out of the Ghetto with Montreal Noir

Photo by Nathan Drezner

Disclaimer: Akashic Books generously provided The Bull & Bear with a review copy free of charge. We were not obligated to reciprocate with a positive review.

Content warning: terrorism, violence, abuse, rape, racial slurs, mutilation, suicide.

Two things McGill students don’t do enough of: read for pleasure, and explore outside the “McGill bubble.” The latest in Akashic Books’ Noir series, Montreal Noir ventures into the city’s shadows, capturing our diversity, our downtrodden, and the hidden history underneath the glossy, cosmopolitan sheen. Edited by John McFetridge & Jacques Filippi, and featuring brand-new pieces by both Anglophone and Francophone writers, each story exposes the darker side of a different Montreal location. The settings are recognizable yet inconsistent, revealing the cracks and crevices that the characters have fallen through, people students see on the street but are privileged enough to ignore. Even if you’ve been to these places before, with Montreal Noir you’ll experience them in a whole new light.

Click on the images to find out more about the story.

Montreal Noir is available for purchase at your local independent bookstore, Akashic BooksChapters, and Amazon.ca.

Downtown Montreal
Rush Hour
by Patrick Senécal
Ville-Marie
Such a Pretty Little Girl
by Geneviève Lefebvre
Centre-Sud
Three Tshakapesh Dreams
by Samuel Archibald
Boulevard Saint-Laurent
The Haunted Crack House
by Michel Basilières
Mile End
Wild Horses
by Arjun Basu
Hochelaga
Driftwood
by Ian Truman
Saint-Henri
Joke’s On You
by Catherine McKenzie
Westmount
Coyote
by Brad Smith
L’île Sainte-Thérèse
The Crap Magnet
by Peter Kirby
Little Burgundy
Poppa
by Robert Pobi
Plateau Mont-Royal
Journal of an Obsession
by Johanne Seymour
Côte-des-Neiges
The Sin Eaters
by Melissa Yi
Rue Rachel
Milk Teeth
by Howard Shrier
Rue Sherbrooke
Other People’s Secrets
by Tess Fragoulis
Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery
Suitcase Man
by Martin Michaud
Downtown Montreal
Photo by Amina Magnin

Radio traffic reporter Hugues gets a call from Philippe Létourneau saying he’s planted a bomb somewhere downtown. The ex-air traffic controller is trying to get back at Hugues for saying he “lacked professionalism” and “failed to manage the stress of his job” on air, by showing him what “stress” means and forcing him to solve the mystery. Time is ticking.

Ville-Marie
Photo by Amina Magnin

Géraldine Mukasonga and David Catelli are called to investigate the mangled body of a wealthy man, found in a dumpster behind the Palace on Rue Ontario. A trail of bodies follows – the pair quickly figure out that he was a pedophile, and someone is going around killing people who let this rapist get away with his gruesome crimes.

Centre-Sud
Photo by Nathan Drezner

Simon is dead. The Indian goes after the culprit. People disappear easily in Centre-Sud.

Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Photo by Nathan Drezner

Ryan’s usual panhandling spot outside Schwartz’s has been stolen by Cane Man. The narrator finds the homeless man and his friend Billy a place to sleep, in wannabe-sculptor Max’s studio. Cane Man comes to find them.

Mile End
Photo by Sarah Waters

Albertson sees horses galloping through Mile End in the middle of the night. Albertson thinks he’s lost his mind, and he puts his horse-shit encrusted Oxfords in the freezer for proof. Surprisingly, there is no news about horses tearing through the city. Then Albertson gets kidnapped by one of his shoe-store clients’ husbands. Unsurprisingly, corruption is involved.

Hochelaga
Photo by Sarah Waters

The Hells want a meeting because Julien was bragging about selling dope from a Blood connection out of Richard’s microbrewery a few blocks from La Pataterie. Richard goes to smooth things over, and throws Julien to the wolves to try and keep the driftwood afloat.

Saint-Henri
Photo by Elena Symmes

After the narrator’s grandfather dies, she inherits her grandfather’s old coat and a card saying, “I did not die of natural causes.” Her granddad loved mysteries, but he also had money. Her grandparents lived on Vendôme and de Maisonneuve, the house featured in the Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang film. She goes from card table to card table around the city, trying to find her gambling father, trying to decide whether she’s being played.

Westmount
Photo by Elena Symmes

In the mornings, the coyote hunters convene at the Sunflower Diner in Westmount for brunch. Joanna’s ill father has let them hunt on his residence in Howick. Joanna, staying on the farm partly to take care of him, partly to escape her dead marriage, is sick of it.

L’île Sainte-Thérèse
Photo by Nathan Drezner

L’île Sainte-Thérèse is a no-man’s land in the middle of the Saint-Lawrence, and that’s where assassin John Webster goes to escape a vindictive cop. His new neighbour, Maude, has long been suffering at the hands of her husband, Ace. “[This time] he uses his powers for good,” chuckled the author, Peter Kirby.

Little Burgundy
Photo by Elena Symmes

Tiny Rockatansky has crossed into Canada through the Champlain Bridge for a twenty million dollar hit. Jimmy’s father, the Franken-Don, thinks Nikolai hired the killer. Their families have been feuding for decades.

Plateau Mont-Royal
Photo by Zeyna Benbrahim

A writer sits in a hipster café, tortured by the void in his head and the blank page on the screen. He is taunted by Mozart, a younger version of him, sitting at a reserved table with fingers flying over keys. The writer loses his mind.

Côte-des-Neiges
Photo by Elena Symmes

Hope Sze is a doctor moonlighting as a detective. There is something about the aesthetic surgery patient she saw at the hospital that nags at her, so she digs deeper. There are pictures of mutilated animals all over his social media.

Rue Rachel
Photo by Nathan Drezner

Nine year-old Irene Czerniak’s badly beaten body was discovered in the back alleys of Rue Rachel, after days of decay. Sergeant Max Handler investigates the little girl’s brutal murder.

Rue Sherbrooke
Photo by Zeyna Benbrahim

Dr. Schmidt, whose prostate cancer treatment had been going well, committed suicide seemingly out of the blue. Catalina Thwaite has left her past behind to take over his Sherbrooke Street therapy practice.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery
Photo by Elena Symmes

An old man with a suitcase has collapsed next to a tombstone in the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. Robitaille and his partner Lessard answer a dispatch code 063, child abuse. “Together for eternity” is written in fresh blood on the floor of the Suitcase Man’s house.

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