Noir and neo-noir fiction and movies.

Noir was an easy choice for today’s letter ‘N’ for the April A to Z Challenge.

Noir is one of my favourite genres in both books and movies. The core of popular noir stems from authors such as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain – “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, Patricia Highsmith – “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1955), and David Goodis – “Down There” (1956), which is a moody, intense novel of a musician who’s fallen on hard times, and gets caught up in his family’s criminal activities.

You’ll find plenty more in list such as this one on Goodreads.
And there’s even a list of chic-noir there as well!


Neo-noir is probably more widely-known and popular that true noir. Much of the reason for that is the popularity of some very well made neo-noir movies.

One of the stand-out neo-noir movies is L.A. Confidential, based on James Ellroy’s novel of the same name. It has all the ingredients of a great book and movie, tension, intrigue, duplicity, romance, and of course, the stunning Kim Basinger.

noir - LA Confidential

Same goes for The Black Dahlia, which is another from Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet. I was surprised that this film didn’t get a better reception. It’s one that I’ve enjoyed many times, and has a great script and cast.

noir - Black Dahlia

There are many other noteable neo-noir movies including, Miller’s Crossing, which is an interpretation of the classic ‘The Glass Key’. And more recently, Gangster Squad, in which Sean Penn plays an old noir favourite, Mickey Cohen.

There is a plethora of neo-noir novels to choose from other than the mega names above.

noir megan abbott

Die a Little by Megan Abbott

Before Dare Me, and before her Edgar-winning Queenpin, and her other superb novels, there was Die A Little. This stifling tale set in 1950s L.A. features Hollywood in all its nasty glory. There’s usury, addiction, prostitution, and maybe even a little true love.

shutter Island book

Possibly the best-selling author of neo-noir fiction is Dennis Lehane. You may recognize the work of Dennis Lehane from the films that have sprung from his novels: Shutter IslandGone Baby Gone, and Mystic River being some of the most successful, and deservedly so.

He takes the lives of ordinary people in less than ordinary situations involving abductions, murder, and departure from reality, and weaves them into a complex, multi-layered plot.

Dennis Lehane’s work has wide appeal. The novels that are easy to read, but at the same time, complicated in their layers of imagery, plot, and depictions of the truth, and somebody’s reality.

Today’s music clip comes from Chet Baker, and really catches the mood of classic noir.

Thanks for stopping by, and call in again tomorrow for a look at ‘O’

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Author: A.J.

I have written as far back as I can recall. Until 2011, that writing was just for me, or as rambling letters to friends and travelogues to the family. I never thought about why, or if others did similarly, and the thought of publishing never entered my head. Since I left England in 1979, I have been collecting experiences, people, and places. From the blood-soaked streets of Kampala, the polluted dust bowls of the Sahara, or the pristine ice floes of the Antarctic, I have gathered and filed them away. Some have recently squeezed through the bars of insecurity and are now at large in the pages of my first three novels. Others await their future fates.

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