Re: RARA-AVIS: Neo-nah...

From: Jacques Debierue (
Date: 02 Jul 2007

I don't think one can have a meaningful discussion of current noir, or neonoir, without being specific: which authors, which books. The only general thing that occurs to me is that good books are invariable believable psychologically, they have to be. This was noted by Twain and later by Chandler, and probably by countless other writers and critics. I have no particular interest in psychopaths, but in the right story a psychopath can have a place. I do think these psychos have been overdone. It is an easy way to allow things in a novel that would not normally have a justification. The psycho did it, he's a psycho, what do you expect!

A marvellous example of a psycho is Kent Harrington's _Dark Ride_. The character is thoroughly explored, as is his milieu, what made him, and the ending is beautifully ironic. Elmore Leonard has also managed psychos with mastery. On the other hand, when Ellroy, and later Connelly, started going heavy on psychos, my interest in the work of these authors died pretty quickly.

So it all depends on which authors, which books and which psychos for what reason.



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