Blogs by J.B. Kohl
Noir's New Age
4/6/2008 12:10:58 PM
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.
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More Blogs by J.B. Kohl
Noir's New Age - Sunday, April 06, 2008
Shame on amazon.com - Friday, April 04, 2008
This Life - Thursday, April 03, 2008
Dora; Dame in a Straw Hat - Thursday, April 03, 2008