Akashic Books, publisher of the successful city-based Noir Series, is branching out from locale-centric stories with a new sister series focused on drugs, called the Akashic Drug Chronicles Series. The first two titles in the series, The Speed Chronicles and The Cocaine Chronicles, will be released on December 1.

"Given our success with the city-based Noir Series," said Johnny Temple, publisher at Akashic Books, "we feel like we've figured out smart, effective ways to publish anthologies, which are famous for not selling well. We feel like we've cracked the code. Not to mention the fact that we really love our Noir books. So we've been searching for a new series idea for the past several years."

The Speed Chronicles is edited by Joseph Mattson and features stories by William T. Vollmann, Sherman Alexie, James Franco, Megan Abbort and Jerry Stahl, among others. The Cocaine Chronicles is a reissue previously published by Akashic but one they are revisiting because, said Temple, "it got a great response, and helped to inspire this new series." It is edited by Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon, and features stories by Susan Straight, Lee Child, Laura Lippman and Ken Bruen, among others. All the stories are original to the series.

Temple said: "Drugs have obviously played a vital role in some of the finest literature of the 20th and 21st centuries as well as music and other art forms. What would contemporary literature be without Burroughs, Irvine Welsh, and so many other drug users and former drug users? What would popular music be without the Beatles or Sly Stone or Nirvana or Jay-Z?"

Future titles in the series include The Heroin Chronicles (edited by Jerry Stahl), The Marijuana Chronicles and The Caffeine Chronicles.