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'Baghdad Noir' Presents A City Of Diverse Experiences

Akashic Books' Noir series visits Baghdad for its latest installment, and the talented writers collected here manage to wrest compelling noir from a place that's plenty dark already.
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Just when you think the Noir Series from Akashic Books has gone everywhere — Lagos, Montana, and earlier this year, Prague — editors Tim McLoughlin and Johnny Temple (the publisher of Akashic) find a new city or country or locale. The latest entry, Baghdad Noir, edited by Samuel Shimon, identifies neighborhoods and places in which the stories happen, with a frontispiece map showing city districts.

However, as Shimon by Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sayed, was published in 1928. The act of writing crime fiction is even more recent: Shimon notes that is the first such collection that he's aware of, and also says "In the Arab world we are not fully accustomed to the concept of commissioning stories around a specific theme or of a specific length — then working with the author on revisions." He continues, drily: "... which posed some challenges."

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