Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Five top modern LA noir titles by women writers

Alex Kenna is a lawyer, writer, and amateur painter based in Los Angeles.

Before law school, Kenna studied painting and art history at Penn. She also worked as a freelance art critic and culture writer. Originally from Washington DC, Kenna lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and giant schnauzer, Zelda. When she’s not writing Kenna can be found nerding out in art museums, exploring flea markets, and playing string instruments badly.

Her debut novel is What Meets the Eye.

[Q&A with Alex Kenna; My Book, The Movie: What Meets the Eye]

At CrimeReads Kenna shared "a short list of modern LA noir books by women writers sure to keep you flipping pages well after the lights should be out." One title on the list:
Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara

Naomi Hirahara’s prolific repertoire includes the engaging Mas Arai series, starring a toothless, grizzled Japanese American gardener from Hiroshima. When we first meet Mas, he’s had his share of trouble: still mourning the wife he loved but didn’t fully appreciate, trying to keep his gambling-addicted best friend from self-destructing, and dealing with decades of guilt after surviving the fall of the A-bomb.

Despite his troubles, Mas has worked hard and built a life for himself in the LA suburbs, running his own lawn care business. Then one day, two strangers show up and start asking questions that threaten to reveal long buried secrets. When a body drops and an innocent man is arrested, Mas has to confront his past, connect with an old friend, and help right a wrong that is half a century in the making. In addition to telling an engaging story, Hirahara confronts tragic historical events, and themes of inherited trauma, survivor’s guilt, and intergenerational miscommunication.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue