Texas Book Festival: A Very Texas Panel and Preview of Dallas Noir


The Texas Book Festival began in 1995 with Laura Bush wanting to honor and celebrate Texas authors. Almost two decades later, the Texas Book Festival attracts fans and authors from across the nation and celebrates all literary types.

Despite the Festival’s national growth, it still remains a Texas Festival at its heart. I stopped by the Lone Star Tent on Sunday to hear what some home grown talent had to say about upcoming crime anthology Dallas Noir.

Dallas Noir is one of dozens of crime anthologies, a series started by independent publishing house Akashic Books. Johnny Temple, publisher and editor of Akashic, tapped Dallas based literary agent David Hale Smith to edit and represent Dallas Noir.

Smith, born and raised in Dallas, was the obvious choice because with over 14 clients’ works nominated for Edgar Awards he has “done a lot of work in that arena.”  Smith quickly reached out to some of his favorite Texas authors and friends Kathleen Kent, James Hime and Ben Fountain. All were present at the panel, except Fountain who became unfortunately stranded at home due to yet another Austin monsoon.

If you think you’ll be uninterested in Dallas as either a city or fictional setting, give it a chance—Dallas Noir has something for everyone. “The publisher of this series has a couple of rules about these anthologiesm and no two stories can be set in the same geographic neighborhood,” Smith explained. That means readers can look forward to a cast of interesting characters and settings all through the Dallas, Fort Worth area.

Kathleen Kent’s story takes place in small town Cleburne where detective Betty takes on the Mexican drug cartel with the help of some Civil War reenactors. James Hime pulls Jeremiah Spur from Hime’s previous novels and sets Texas Ranger Spur against the Dixie Mafia. Smith describes Fountain’s story featuring“ the ultimate black widow of real estate”.

If you love crime, Texas, or just a good short story, Dallas Noir will be released on November 5th.