Friday, April 19, 2013


I love the genre of Noir. Noir is more than just films there are many books written in this genre as well. If you’re not familiar, Noir is the darker side of life. Characters have a hard edge, often sharpened with cynicism. The settings most often are bleak, possibly on the wrong side of the tracks, the underbelly of the shiny city above.

It keeps your pulse jumping when the action gets started, and seduces you with sultry fem fatales. Noir stories are layered and filled with twists and turns that keep a reader on edge and turning pages.

Most genres want a happily ever after or a well tied up ending without loose ends.  Life doesn’t always give us a satisfying ending and neither does noir. Many times the hero or heroine you’ve been rooting for will be lost in the end. Not really many sequels in this genre, most stories are written purposely as one offs.

The draw of Noir is its characters. They’re heavily flawed and almost unlikable at times. Yet there is something redeeming in them. A quality that makes them overcome or fall deeper into the problem. A good noir gets you emotionally attached to the characters.

In crime noir the main character might not be one of the good guys. It may be the fem fatale, or a bad guy trying to get a break. The lead in the film noir A Bullet for Joey (1955), is a thug for hire. He starts to have second thoughts when he finds out his latest employer is a communist.

In Kiss of Death (1947) jewel thief Nick refuses to rat out his pals and goes to jail. His wife commits suicide

and angry Nick spills the beans. When he gets out of the clink, Nick starts a new life and family….until the psycho he snitched on gets out of his prison stripes.

You might be more familiar with Film Noir than fiction like some of these films that went from book to screen.  The Black Delilah and LA Confidential both part of the LA Quartet series by James Ellroy,The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, Touch and Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard, The Maltese Falcon by Raymond Chandler, The lady in the Lake also by Raymond Chandler.

Noir is a darker slice of fiction it can be tragic and at times uplifting. You get characters that make you feel. Settings that make you want to look over your shoulder and a desire to seek out more. 

Part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the letter N 

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