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The Big Book of Noir edited by Ed Gorman, Lee Server and Martin H. Greenberg

This big collection of short articles, memoirs and interviews makes an excellent reference volume for the bookshelf or a terrific read straight through. Its bulk is split between film and fiction. The film coverage centers on directors, but it's sprinkled with enough material on screenwriters and actors to keep the essays varied and fresh. Subjects include Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, Marc Lawrence, Daniel Mainwaring, Abraham Polonsky, Phil Karlson, A. I. Bezzerides, Orson Welles, John Huston, Leigh Brackett, William Faulkner, and others. It's a rich resource, uncovering hidden noir treasures and revealing new insights on classics. 

The fiction section is primarily focused on the noir of past decades. When it does devote a few pages to the contemporary scene, the cut-off is the late 90s (the volume was published in 1998). It is a golden harvest of paperback original era authors and publishers. The influence of Hammett and Chandler ever looms in the shadows, but the bright pool of the lamppost illuminates the work, and sometimes the lives, of Cornell Woolrich, Frederic Brown, Gil Brewer, Harry Whittington, John D. MacDonald, Arnold Hano, Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, Charles Williams, Peter Rabe, Donald Westlake, Chester Himes, Donald Hamilton, Patricia Highsmith, Charles Willeford, Lawrence Block, and publishers Lion, Dell, Gold Medal, Lancer, Série Noire, etc. 

Ron Goulart ably handles the lone essay on noir in comic books, as the big book winds up with four fascinating treatments on radio's dark gold and television's adoption of noir's torch, left languishing by that time at the movies.

The writers who wrote all the material for The Big Book of Noir is another long list of experts in the genre. I'll be treasuring and revisiting this one for a long time. Five Stars.


You're right.  "The Big Book of Noir..." is a great book.  Also "The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories," and "The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps."  Although they are fiction alone, they are excellent also.  I have them all and I've been studying the stories in these anthologies, and others, for years, trying to figure out how they did it.  It's part of my daily ritual.


Jed Power

Thanks for the tip Jed, I'll check out those Black Lizard collections at Powell's city of books!

Just finished Michael Connelly's THE BLACK BOX.  Up to snuff.

Am reading Jasper Fforde's latest, THE WOMEN WHO DIED A LOT.  I'm not sure this series qualified for inclusion on this forum, but a few good bellylaugh's is worth a mention.  

The REALLY interesting book I'm reading is Barry Forshaw's DEATH IN A COLD CLIMATE, an excellent survey/analysis of Scandanavian crime writers.  It gave me a lot of insight into the relationship between published/translator/author.  Also attempts to describe the differences based on the differences between the geography and history or the countries.  Interesting reading, the b

ook has also given me a few new authors to sample.  

Just finished SUSPECT by Robert Crais. Fantastic story. Fantastic writer. I highly recommend it.

For a change of pace I decided to read a Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt novel. It's been awhile. Always have loved his plotting and outrageous action scenes. The one I'm reading now is ARCTIC DRIFT.

My compliments to our two members who finally posted something here.  The place has been dead.

I'm finishing Helene Tursten's TORSO. As you might suspect, this is a thriller about dismembered bodies. A tad too much, I thought, especially when combined with homosexual necrophilia, disembowelment, and snuff films. Otherwise this is a police procedural with a married female lead who gets distracted by handsome colleagues, decisions about what to wear, and (in view of rather sickening crime scenes and autopsies), too many lunches in gourmet restaurants.

Tursten is not bad, but this book should have been edited!  

Right.  I plead guilty.  Have been on a months-long kick of reading Alexander Kent.  Not mystery, so not appropriate here. I'm slowly getting back.

Guilty as charged, too. I've had my head down writing for the past few weeks, working on a novella I've finally wrestled to the ground. In doing so, I've only read a little (and I'm a notoriously slow reader anyway) and nothing seemed to hold my interest (my fault more than the writers, just too distracted to concentrate). As for buzz, If I may since you opened the door, my recent short story COP SHOT is available for free today and tomorrow from Amazon. Would love for people here to give it a try, and let me know what they think.

I'm guilty as well - can I plead the drought from hell and overly distracted.... I'm currently reading John M Green's new thriller The Turning, and from there some more local debut's - The Robbers by Paul Anderson, Rotten Gods by Greg Barron, The United States of Air by J.M. Porup will probably be the order but then again it probably won't be ... that distraction thing :)

Last night I started reading James Rollins' Altar of Eden. I do enjoy a Rollins' penned adventure.

Heartsick  by Chelsea Cain


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