So as Noir seems to be making a comeback I thought I’d give my take on it. According to the Wikipedia which is not the most reliable of sources, Noir fiction is dark and generally from the point of victims or non police people, normally in a corrupt decaying world (a very pessimistic view of things).
This is quite a broad and somewhat academic description, and I always think of Noir as being very gritty disturbing fiction sometimes set in a very remote location, which is why the Scandawegians are so good at it. When I think of Modern Noir my thoughts mostly go to Comics and superhero adaptations, probably more because of the visuals than the content. Sin city for example is a great example of modern film noir (but never watch the sequel). I would also recommend Marvels Daredevil and Jessica Jones for great Televisual Noir, they definitely fit the trends of corruption and moral ambiguity. But when I set my mind to thinking of books I really struggle to name them apart from the obvious classic American Noir Authors. Which makes me wonder how the anthologies of Noir are selected.
For British Noir however here are some suggestions that I have thought of for good Noirish reads, this list is in no way accurate or exhaustive just my honest opinion.
Owen Mullen – New friends and old enemies – A Scottish detective investigates a crime involving the Glaswegian mafia, this has all the darkness and violence you could want from a Noir Novel.
Maggie James – Is an excellent author for a take on crime from a non police perspective, her books can be quite dark at points but she is a fantastic writer.
Katerina Diamonds – the Teacher – looks at the effect of powerful people and the steps taken to deal with them
Jeanette Hewitts – Exclusion Zone – is also a great Noirish book set between London and chernobyl in Ukraine
and not to forget the Fantastic Angie Smith Author – Who can fit more darkness and corruption (on every level of power) into a book than you can shake a stick at, all set in our beloved West Yorkshire and you can come meet her in April in the White Swan in Leeds.
I guess what I’m saying is Noir when you think about it is a fairly all encompassing umbrella and often the ideas of what makes Noirish literature comes from Film Noir. If you write a novel that addresses corruption or is from the point of view of a detective or Victim then welcome to the wonderful world of Noir fiction, Maybe one day your novel will be given the Modern film Noir treatment and be turned into a kind of Sin city type film. Or you could just realise that you’re a great author who writes amazing stories like the ones listed above and not be to worried about any other labels attached to your work.