Archive for the ‘Noir’ Category

THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Danish Detective Carl Morck is a walking tormented shell of his former self. Recently returned to work, he is living with post-traumatic stress disorder following an incident that ended with the shooting death of one of his colleagues and a shot that paralyzed his friend, Detective Hardy. Morck was also injured by a shot to the head. So far the perpetrators have not been found and Morck lives with survivor’s guilt. He is difficult to get along with, often late to work, and no longer has his heart in his work.

September 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Denmark, Drift-of-Life, Noir, Sleuths Series

THE BAYOU TRILOGY by Daniel Woodrell

WINTER’S BONE was one of the best crime films I saw in 2010. I discovered that it was based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, and I was surprised that I’d never heard that name before. But I’m apparently not the only one, and the success of WINTER’S BONE is guaranteed to bring this author new readers. Woodrell is best known as a writer of Ozark Noir, but the Bayou Trilogy is, as the title suggests, set in a different geographical region. The trilogy is composed of three novels from Woodrell’s early writing career: UNDER THE BRIGHT LIGHTS, MUSCLE FOR THE WING and THE ONES YOU DO. The protagonist of the trilogy is Cajun cop Rene Shade. Shade hails from the fictional Louisiana city of San Bruno: “a city of many neighborhoods, Frogtown and Pan Fry being the largest and most fabled, and great numbing stretches of anonymous, bland, and nearly affluent subdivisions.”

April 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Sleuths Series, US South, y Award Winning Author

WHAT YOU SEE IN THE DARK by Manuel Munoz

What do you see in the dark? Well, that partly depends on your perspective. In Munoz’s stylistic mise-en-scène novel, the second-person point of view frames the watchful eye and disguises the wary teller. Reading this story is like peering through Hitchcock’s lens—the camera as observer’s tool and observer as camera–with light and shadow and space concentrated and dispersed frame by frame, sentence by sentence.

March 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Whiting, y Award Winning Author

DOPE THIEF by Dennis Tafoya

Dennis Tafoya’s first novel, DOPE THIEF, published in 2009 is an excellent novel and more emotional of a book than I thought it would or could be. Ray, a young man of 30 who has spent time in “Juvie” and prison for much of his life, has found a way to get some money with his friend Manny by stealing from independent drug dealers. These mostly small-time dealers are unlikely to seek help from the police or the mob in getting back their money or drugs. Ray and Manny even have the DEA jackets to scare the dealers into submitting to them. This seems like a good deal for Ray and Manny until they find much more money and drugs than they expected from some hick drug dealers working out of a farm in northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

March 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Noir

STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson has written a number of novels that feature ex-cop turned PI Jackson Brodie: CASE HISTORIES, ONE GOOD TURN, WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?, and now the fourth novel, STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG. I had read a total of zero novels in the series when I picked up Atkinson’s latest. This is a novel that can be read as a stand-alone, and although there were threads to the other stories, Atkinson’s novel is so very well-written, it’s not essential to begin with the first novel in the series.

STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG is ostensibly a crime novel, but to try and slot this excellent tale into such a neat and ultimately limiting definition is a mistake. While crimes take place, the emphasis is on the crimes that slip silently into simple everyday living: cruelty, casual violence, lying and possibly most importantly–failing to take a moral stand.

March 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Noir, Reading Guide, Sleuths Series, Theme driven, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

SNOWDROPS by A.D. MIller

A.D. Miller’s noir thriller is nearly impossible to put down once started. Moscow, “that city of neon lust and frenetic sin” is skillfully painted in all its contradictions and juxtapositions. It is “a strange country, Russia, with its talented sinners and occasional saint, bona fide saints that only a place of such accomplished cruelty could produce, a crazy mix of filth and glory.” Nothing is as it seems in this book and ethics are continually stretched to the limit.

February 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Noir, Reading Guide, Russia, Thriller/Spy/Caper