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Ken Bruen recently wrote an article with his favorite noir novels. I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't see Jim Thompson, Donald Westlake, Hugh B. Cave or Andrew Vacchs on this list. Any of you have particular favorites? 

 

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/67271-10-best-noir-novels.html#path/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/67271-10-best-noir-novels.html

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Ken Bruen recently wrote an article with his favorite noir novels. I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't see Jim Thompson, Donald Westlake, Hugh B. Cave or Andrew Vacchs on this list. Any of you have particular favorites? 

 

http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/67271-10-best-noir-novels.html#path/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/67271-10-best-noir-novels.html

Yes, disappointed also add: 

 

Cornell Woolrich & his various pseudonyms

Horace McCoy 

John D. McDonald

Ross MacDonald

Mickey Spillane

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Yes, disappointed also add: 

 

Cornell Woolrich & his various pseudonyms

Horace McCoy 

John D. McDonald

Ross MacDonald

Mickey Spillane

good choices

some that just came to mind:

Chester Himes

Day Keene

Gil Brewer

Harry Whittington

Bruno Fischer

Wade Miller

 

i'm sure i could think of more given time, there's just no end to this list

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James Ellroy. I'm a huge fan.

 

Some of Elmore Leonard's stuff is pretty good - kind of straddles that line between noir and straight-up crime. Jim Thompson is amazing. 

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oh man, can't believe i forgot Richard Prather. i have tons of his Shell Scott novels.

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Outside of the classics, Ariel Winter wrote one recently called The Twenty Year Death. It's actually 3 novels with separate-though-connected storylines(and the paperbacks actually do split it up into three volumes). Each novel takes place in a different decade and is written in the style of an author popular at the time. Georges Simenon, French author of the Maigret detective novels for the first story, Raymond Chandler for the second, and Jim Thompson for the third. It's utterly fantastic.

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I'm a tremendous Cornell Woolrich fangirl (who'd a thunk it?). Charles Willeford is another fave; Wild Wives is a hysterical genre send-up.

 

Donald Goines wrote some amazing "ghetto" noir. 

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I'm a tremendous Cornell Woolrich fangirl (who'd a thunk it?). Charles Willeford is another fave; Wild Wives is a hysterical genre send-up.

 

Donald Goines wrote some amazing "ghetto" noir. 

 

NICE AVATAR!

Charles Willeford is great.

 

ps- Olive films recently released NO MAN OF HER OWN (1950) on DVD. It's a less-floridly titled, but very faithful, adaptation of I MARRIED A DEAD MAN! and it is EXCELLENT. Mitchel Leison directs and Barbara Stanwyck is- as always- wonderful. It's really worth netflixing on buying used on amazon.

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what the hell?

I was just in the middle of writing a post when this thread disappeared. took me a few minutes to relocate it....

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Well, as I already stated before this thread suddenly lept into the land of wind and ghosts- I think top ten lists are dumb, but this one is especially galling.

 

to include almost no titles written before 1960 is puzzling; to pick DARK PASSAGE as one of the best examples of noir is perplexing (it's a mediocre novel by a mediocre writer) to not include Hammett is surprising, to omit Chandler inexcusable, BUT TO NOT INCLUDE JIM THOMPSON?

 

There are no words.

 

(well, there are words, but they'd get censored.)

 

THE GUY WHO WROTE THIS LIST DOES NOT KNOW SHINOLAH FROM "THE OTHER STUFF."

 

(Thanks though to the OP for starting the debate; and nice avatar.)

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as long as you found  your way back

 

what the hell?

I was just in the middle of writing a post when this thread disappeared. took me a few minutes to relocate it....

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Ken Bruen is himself a pretty good writer of noir fiction. i never make much of top lists, but i thought it might be interesting to hear what the folks in this group like to read.

 

Bruen gave some nods that i was impressed with like Piccirilli, Matthew McBride, and Rob Leininger. I don't mind that he didn't include Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. everyone knows them. Bruen does start the article with a disclaimer, and we don't know how he decided his list. If i were to list those who had an impact on my own writing, i wouldn't include Hammett or Chandler either.

Well, as I already stated before this thread suddenly lept into the land of wind and ghosts- I think top ten lists are dumb, but this one is especially galling.

 

to include almost no titles written before 1960 is puzzling; to pick DARK PASSAGE as one of the best examples of noir is perplexing (it's a mediocre novel by a mediocre writer) to not include Hammett is surprising, to omit Chandler inexcusable, BUT TO NOT INCLUDE JIM THOMPSON?

 

 

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my personal favorite noir novels of the 20th century*

*(in no particular order, and I may be forgetting some)

 

The Grifters- Jim Thompson

 

The Transgressors- Jim Thompson (not one of his better known titles, but excellent)

 

Pop1280/The Killer Inside Me/ Wild Town- Jim Thompson (grouped together because they all center around the same protagonist, forming a sort of "unholy trinity.")

 

Serenade- James M. Cain (maybe not strictly noir, but I recently read this and was BLOWN AWAY)

 

Red Harvest- Dashiell Hammett

 

The Maltese Falcon- Dashiell Hammett

 

The High Window- Raymond Chandler (I love all the Marlowe novels, but this one just encapsulates everything good about the series)

 

Pick-Up by Charles Willeford

 

The Hot Spot (aka Hell Hath No Fury ) by Charles Willeford

 

The Asphalt Jungle by WR Burnett

 

Laura by Vera Caspary

 

The Far Cry by Fredric Brown

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it was acting odd last night, also. not sure what's happening

 

the boards are being really wonky today...they keep reloading on me, and in bits and pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.

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NICE AVATAR!

Charles Willeford is great.

 

ps- Olive films recently released NO MAN OF HER OWN (1950) on DVD. It's a less-floridly titled, but very faithful, adaptation of I MARRIED A DEAD MAN! and it is EXCELLENT. Mitchel Leison directs and Barbara Stanwyck is- as always- wonderful. It's really worth netflixing on buying used on amazon.

 

I have seen it! Love Stanwyck, too. I've actually seen all the US Woolrich adaptations between 1934-1954, and a fair number of both foreign and US ones after. Barring the TV stuff; I haven't seen much of that. I was a little disappointed that only two of his made it into the line up this summer. 

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I realized I forgot to include the novel CLEAN BREAK by Lionel White, which later became the (vastly inferior) movie THE KILLING and is often retitled as such.

 

A very, very strange case of a book with a terrific plot and ending which is completely ruined by the film, only to have the film become far more heralded and well-known.

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Having a slow work day, so I figured I'd take a moment to salute Jim Thompson- one of my absolute favorite writers and someone whose name really should come up when people talk about "Great American Writers of the 20th Century"- but for some reason they find the lifeless prose of Hemingway and plot-lite showboating of Fitzgerald preferable. 

 

(there's just no accounting for taste.)

 

Maybe- aside from the subject matter- a reason his name is quite unfortunately left off that list is because his work covers a breadth in quality that ranges from truly great to utterly awful (he had a bad drinking problem, and quite a few of his unpublished works have seen the light of day that should have remained at the bottom of a drawer.)

 

I don't think I have ever read another author whose output ranged so drastically in quality. Everything from "A+" to "F."

 

PERFECT NOVELS, NO ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:

The Grifters and The Transgressors

 

GREAT NOVELLA:

After Dark, My Sweet

 

ALMOST PERFECT NOVELS THAT COULD'VE USED A SLIGHTLY TIGHTER ENDING BUT STILL ROCK:

The Killer Inside Me, Pop 1280

 

WONDERFUL NOVEL THAT IS OSTENSIBLY A THRILLER, BUT IS REALLY A BLACK COMEDY IN DISGUISE:  A Hell of a Woman

 

SOLID MURDER MYSTERY NOVEL;

Wild Town, A Swell-Looking Babe, The Nothing Man

 

SOLID DRAMATIC NOVEL:

South of Heaven

 

MEDIOCRE WORKS:

Nothing More than Murder, Recoil, Cropper's Cabin

 

MISFIRED MEMOIR:

Now and On Earth

 

FASCINATING CONCEPT NOT EXECUTED TO ITS FULLEST POTENTIAL:

The Criminal

 

FORGETTABLE WORK:

The Alcoholics, The Golden Gizmo,

 

HORRIBLE:

The Kill-Off

 

FASCINATING STORY THAT TAKES A WRONG TURN AND BECOMES A REAL DAMNED MESS:

The Getaway

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HORRIBLE:

The Kill-Off

 

 

The film version is quite good, it's on DVD it's all reworked, but I enjoyed it.

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