Plot Your Heists: June Is International Crime Month

Not crime per se, mind you. June will see a month-long celebration of crime fiction, as well as its notable authors, editors, critics, and whatnot. Crime novels and stories are a big enough business that they get their own section in the New York Times Book Review, and universal enough that people who never ordinarily read will lug around giant hardcovers by someone named “Stieg Larsson.” So how are we marking the occasion?

Well, officially there are a great many readings and events around New York, thanks to some outstanding independent publishers and bookstores: the kick-off is today at Book Expo America, where editors from Grove Atlantic, Europa Editions, Melville House, and Akashic Books will lead a panel discussion. Throughout the next weeks, there’s plenty to be excited about—a reading by awesomely-named author Wolf Haas sounds cool, you definitely want to hear about the adventures of Detective Brenner in Austria. Then there’s Jessica Hagedorn, whose work tackles the dark side of the Philippines. So much seamy filth to learn about!

But your observance of International Crime Month really shouldn’t end there. This is your chance to go around talking like the private eye in a classic noir film, calling ladies “dames” and such. It’s also an excellent occasion to start plotting that insanely overcomplicated burglary you’ve been keen to get going on. Or just spend a day trying to think like a psychopathic killer. Soothing, isn’t it.

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Bloody Pulp!

According to Merriam-Webster, gentrification is defined as “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” The editors of independent New York publisher Akashic Books, however, pride themselves on their “reverse-gentrification of the literary world.” They might just be right. Focusing on urban literature and writers all too often sidelined into obscurity, the feather in Akashic’s cap is its noir series, which includes collections of pulp rooted in Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Toronto, and Trinidad, among others. Toronto Noir, in particular, revels in the alleyways and shadows of a metropolis not often recognized for its dark side. Trading in flannel and “aboots” for sexual deviance and the Austerian allure of strangers, Akashic promises you’ll never look at your city in the same way again.