Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fifty must-read noir detective novels

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged "50 noir books ... that any fan of detective fiction should have on their shelves," including:
Miami Purity, by Vicki Hendricks

Hendricks’ story of low expectations and murderous lovers comes very, very close to going too far, and then nimbly steps back each time. Sherri Parlay has just violently rid herself of an unwanted husband and decided to give up exotic dancing for a Day Job, applying at Miami Purity dry cleaners. There she meets mama’s boy Payne Mahoney and his domineering mother, who doesn’t like Sherri much. Payne likes Sherri a lot, however, and soon Mom is dead—and that’s when the story gets weird and violent.

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Die a Little, by Megan Abbott

Abbott’s modern noir takes a different approach to an old setup: when spinsterish teacher Lora King meets her brother’s new wife, the gorgeous and mysterious Alice, you might expect her to be suspicious and hostile. Instead, she’s falls under Alice’s glamorous spell, too, and only slowly—and somewhat reluctantly—comes to worry about Alice’s missing pieces, ominous friends, and reluctance to answer questions. Abbott captures the hopelessly grim tone of noir without giving into clich├ęs, reinventing as she goes.

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Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan

Science fiction often crossbreeds with other genres, but rarely as perfectly as in this cyberpunk story of a future where sleeving in and out of bodies is common—and complicated. Takashi Kovacs is as pure an antihero as you’ll find, and for all the mind-bending technology and sci-fi concepts, at its heart this is a bloody, moody noir story.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue