Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Noir is the New Black

Just finished Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas. Quite good. If you like noir/hardboiled, you’ll like this. The story has to do with John Blake, a PI who investigates when his high school sweetheart turns up dead. The prose is pretty tightly wound, the voice of the 1st person narrator is sharp throughout. Having read Ed McBain’s early novel The Gutter and the Grave recently, this novel compares well. The ending might have been telegraphed a bit too much, but maybe I’m just getting better at figuring these things out. I’d like to think so.

Anyway, gets me thinking as to why noir/hardboiled seems to be everywhere now. Hard Case Crime is one new provider of this kind of literature, but so is Akashic Books . There are others I’m sure. Then there is Murdaland (really? No link? What’s up with that?) and a host of fine online noir/hardboiled short story venues. Is this all part of a giant cycle that is hard to predict because its movements are slow? Poe was pretty noir. Fifty years later, Doyle was not. Chandler/Hammett (Chanmett? Hamler?) were noirish. What about whoever led the way in crime writing in the seventies and eighties? Don’t know who that would be really. Of course, it would help my theorizing if I knew what I was talking about. I don’t really.

Here’s a thought, in a world without much to believe in, one constant rings true – Pain. Yes, with a capital P. And so we read Noir seeking the real experience, the spiritual truth. The only tue thing available in a cynical world. Ow. Well, anyway, if that’s the experience you’re looking for, Little Girl Lost has it in spades.


Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

What a coincidence! I finished Little Girl Lost last night.

Excellent book. Now I'm going through it, summarising every scene, and throwing it in a spreadsheet so I can see how it's done.

March 02, 2006 2:36 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

I'd say it was a very good book. I guess now that I've thought about it a little more, the ending was really telegraphed. I don't usually catch on to these things, but I did this time.

Gee I hope you're kidding about the spreadsheet thing. You are aren't you?

March 02, 2006 9:34 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

The few twists in there ended up being of the 'no, it was them' variety, but I generally read more for the characters which were excellent.

Umm, I wasn't kidding.

But it's not as geeky as it sounds, it's just an easy way of reading things as a list. I'm just doing a one sentence summary of each scene next to it's chapter and page number.

It really helped me see the structure of my novel, so I thought I should try it on someone else's.

These are the occupational hazards of being a programmer by day.

March 02, 2006 4:37 PM  
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March 31, 2006 11:29 PM  

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