Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day / Thursday, September 20, 2012 / “St. Petersburg Noir” Edited by Julia Goumen & Natalia Smirnova / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is St. Petersburg Noir Edited by Julia Goumen.

Why I chose this book:

ST. PETERSBURG NOIR / Julia Goumen & Natalia Smirnova, editors

The short story collection, “St. Petersburg Noir,” was an absorbing trip for me. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you completely why without taking the fun away for you. A short story is a one-punch treatise so if someone gives away what the story is really about, especially if it falls into the categories of mystery, suspense, or thriller (as these short stories do), they’ve given away the goods. There’ll be no spoilers here. I will say this anthology of Russian short stories is a riveting collection. An insightful “tour” of St. Petersburg. And a spellbinding introduction to Russian literature and perspective. I like the idea of taking in the literary flavor of different areas and find this whole series of “noir” books from Akashic Books intriguing. These stories are grown indigenously and give such a regional flavor that I feel I’ve been to the places in this series and know them as I know my own. Some of these stories were so interesting, the voices so clear, that I looked up the authors hoping to find more of their books in English, but alas, I’ll have to wait until some translator takes mercy. Until then, we have “St. Petersburg Noir.”

From Amazon:

“The Russian soul is well suited to a style defined by dark, hard-edged moodiness in underground settings. With St. Petersburg, the tsar’s ‘Window on Europe,; we get European-style existential angst as well – not to mention the scary sociopolitical realities of the new Russia … For all sophisticated crime fiction readers.” – Library Journal

Fourteen uniformly strong stories in this outstanding noir anthology devoted to Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg. With its rich if often tragic history, deep literary traditions, inspiring landscape, famous architecture, and an aging population stuffed into overcrowded ‘kommunalkas’ amid a post-Soviet decline and soaring crime rates, the city provides an ideal backdrop for crime fiction …The diversity of these skillfully crafted tales testifies to the vigor of contemporary Russian writing.” – Publishers Weekly

Original stories by: Lena Eltang, Sergei Nosov, Alexander Kudriavstev, Andrei Kivinov, Julia Belomlinsky, Natalia Kurchatova, Kseniya Venglinskaya, Evgeniy Kogan, Anton Chizh, Konstantin Gavrilov, Vladimir Berezin, Andrei Rubanov, and others.

Natalia Smirnova was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia. In 2006 she co-founded the Goumen & Smirnova Literary Agency with Julia Goumen, representing Russian authors worldwide. She and Goumen were also the co-editors of Moscow Noir.

Julia Goumen was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1977. With a PhD in English, she has been working in publishing since 2001, and since 2006 has run the Goumen & Smirnoval Literary Agency with Natalia Smirnova.”

If you want to make your own comments on this selection, we would love to hear from you. Join ourFacebook Killer Nashville group page or our blog and join in the discussion.

Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!

Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville


About Clay Stafford

Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker ( and founder of Killer Nashville ( As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” ( and the music CD “XO” ( A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
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