Noir Now

April 6, 2008

It started with Brick. Then came Black Dahlia, which was actually a “true” twist of an unsolved murder in Hollywood. Close on its heels was “Hollywoodland” with the pseudo-reality look at the death of Superman star, George Reeves. Of course, everyone remembers L.A. Confidential…that was a good one too.

But you gotta love that writers are getting in on the action now. I just finished Linda L. Richards book, Death Was The Other Woman…a nice read. Simple, but nice. Gas City is another new one by author Loren D. Estleman. Add to that the Hard Case Crime tales by various authors and it’s easy to see that Noir is back…and even in demand in some respects.

So what is it about these titles that tickles our fancy? Is it the crime? Nah. We can read about crime in 8 out of every 10 fiction works sold. Sex? Nope. Not that either. If one out of every two fiction books sold is romance, clearly, the sex reader could just pick something up from the romance section of the book store. But increasing numbers of people are picking up books on Noir…with their pulp-like covers sporting scantily clad femme fatales and their catchy “Up Yours” titles. Maybe it’s the marriage of sex and crime that draws us in…but if that was the case, why not just read about prostitution?

The truth? Noir is situations. Noir is character. Of course noir has plot, but plot comes AFTER the character dilemma. Flawed characters drive the plot. And that makes Noir. Maybe a happy ending. Most likely not. Crime? Of course. Murder? Hell yes. Sex? Maybe, but it isn’t necessary. A good detective is getting some someplace. We don’t need to read about it to know it.

Reading Noir is like belching through your nose after drinking straight Coca-Cola. It burns like hell but, in a strange way, it offers clarity…and it makes your eyes water.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: