Europa Editions has long been a publisher of renowned international crime fiction, but its newest imprint, World Noir, marks the publisher’s rededicated effort to the genre—with a distinctive look and personality. Europa’s editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds pointed back to his company’s publication of Jean-Claude Izzo’s Marseilles Trilogy, which, he said “is a remarkable literary achievement by any standard,” but was the type of book that Europa wasn’t publishing consistently enough. The plan is to change that with World Noir.

“There is a kind of crime fiction practiced by authors like Izzo, Gene Kerrigan, Benjamin Tammuz, Maurizio de Giovanni, Massimo Carlotto, and others on our list that I think exemplifies the goals of World Noir and those goals go beyond entertainment,” said Reynolds. “In the works of each of these writers there is an element of melancholy injected into the work by the juxtaposition of setting and criminality.”

Reynolds is particularly excited about the reissue of Izzo’s trilogy as well as Minotaur by Benjamin Tammuz, which Reynolds said is “a bona fide masterpiece that has been compared to books by Kafka, Faulkner, Laurence Durrell, and Nabokov” and was Graham Green’s favorite book. Look for all of these books to kick off World Noir’s list on May 7, 2013. The imprint will publish 10-12 titles per year, and does not have a separate staff from Europa Editions, but is rather a sign of the publisher’s reaffirmed enthusiasm for noir.

That enthusiasm is evident in hearing Reynolds talk about the capability of what great books in the noir genre can accomplish. “In many places, traditional investigative journalism is failing citizens, and noir fiction is filling the void, leading to its being hailed by some as ‘the literature of truth,’” Reynolds said. “From this point of view, it would be remiss of a publisher like Europa not to include crime fiction on its list.”

Check out World Noir’s Facebook page for more information.