I've noticed a lot of "mystery/thriller" books are dressed up romances.  I actually like some of them.  What I wonder is this.  How do you characterize your own work?

Me:  Hard core noir mysteries.

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Noir means black in French.  I think there is a large audience specifically for film noir and the other art forms like photography, movie set design, books, and lighting.  Here is a good explanation: HERE!

Yep, means black in French.

Hardly the point.  And I'd say it's a pretty well-known term around crime fiction.  Not just film by any means.  It's a good solid word for a book, almost a genre, no?

Lucie, that's what I was talking about up above:  you don't have to write deliberately to category in order to be able to figure out what your category is after the fact, and people can help with it.

Not to be over-diplomatic, but you're both right. It IS terribly important to be able to describe the book in a minute, and "noir" does mean black, but very few shops have a shelf labelled "noir." That agent, Josh Getzler, explained that what they want to know really is where the book will be shelved in a bookshop.

At the same time, what I think helped me the most was spending just two words on that categorization and the rest of the pitch on telling what's unique about it. "It's a dark mystery about an artist who paints a crime scene in reverse perspective and flips a murder investigation backwards--onto her friends."

Josh considered a mystery to be where you don't know who did it. The point of the main storyline is solving the crime. A thriller is a battle between two minds. You know who did it or at least get his viewpoint through the book. There's a lot of overlap, but that's what the reader expects.

Well I've taken to calling my take on crime fiction "Dark Hat Noir" entries (Came up with a logo that I thought would help associate me with a brand and stand out) I would probably call what I do street crime thrillers.

This whole business confuses me. Walk into any bookstore. You see shelves of crime fiction (usually with the generic label of Mystery) that contain everything we're talking about here: mysteries, thrillers, procedurals, espionage, capers, private investigator, stripper-turned-PI, you name it. I call what I write crime fiction and leave it at that, as they tend to fall in the crack between mysteries and thrillers. (The mystery gets solved pretty early on and the rest of the book is spent figuring out what the hell are they going to do now?)

A lot of the thrillers are in general fiction in libraries. Possibly suspense, too. I think of thrillers as masculine and suspense as feminine.  :)

Yes, I've always liked crime fiction, but that is the British term. Mystery reminds me of the traditional puzzle variety. I really write something closer to a police procedural if there were such a thing in historical mysteries.

For me hardcore urban noir fantasy.

hardcore= minimalist prose with surface description.

noir = anti hero, redemption, flawed

Back to the film noir, from what I remember, it was tagged that way to describe the low budget crime films from that time that just did not have the budget for lights. At least that's what i remember from my film noir class back in film school :-)

My latest book, "THE KILLING DEPTHS," is a military mystery thriller. My first, "DUTY," is a collection of previously published and new mystery and suspence short stories dealing the idea of military service and it's impact on the individual. The book I'm finishing up right now is somewhere between hardboil mystery and mystery thriller. Actually, I'm not really sure how to categorize it. It's a mystery, there's some action, some suspense, and a sarcastistic world-weary protagonist. And the novella I'm currently writing is sci-fi. Guess I'm hard to peg down.

I'm not sure if "dressed-up romances" is the idea.  (Though I'm not sure which books we're talking about.)   Instead of, say, romance injected into thrillers.   Thinking, something like the romantic aspects of "Die Hard".  I guess it's a matter of balance between two elements. 

I agree with Martin that it's not always easy to peg.  My latest,  BAILIN'  says "Comic Crime Romance" on the cover, but I don't think if's much like "romance novels".   It's more like a Westlake novel, really.  But features a really romantic couple. 

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