Re: RARA-AVIS: Bouchercon Noir Panel

From: Curt Purcell (
Date: 15 Sep 2007

--- In, William Ahearn <williamahearn@...> wrote:
> I disagree. And it's not neo-noir either. I've read
> several of them. Basically, Ken Bruen's series is a
> cosy in Halloween drag. And I like the guy's writings.
> I own several of his books. But take them apart and
> see what makes them tick. Jack does not meet his
> inevitable end or justice as the result of his folly
> in these books. That's the definition of noir. Or a
> truncated one. I could go on. He's sleuth with David
> Goodis' map. It's dressed up with alcohol and violence
> but Jack doesn't change, isn't changed. What Bruen is
> doing is very cool and I like it in doses but it
> becomes as predictable as any series with the usual
> convienent characters and recurring roles. Why is it
> noir? Because it's dark and about lowlifes? I don't
> think that covers a noir definition.

William, would you consider Aleas's John Blake novels as a possible candidate for a noir series? I just finished LITTLE GIRL LOST, and am about halfway through SONGS OF INNOCENCE. At the end of the first, Blake really seemed to have reached a tragic conclusion, and to have been changed by it. At the beginning of the second, he's not even working as a P.I. any longer. I've heard the end of that one's a stunner, too. It would be interesting to see how many tragically transforming shocks a noir hero could believably absorb as a series character.

Vachss's Burke character strikes me as another possibility, based on your rules-of-thumb above, since his stories often end very unhappily, and the transformation is evident in the scars and baggage he accumulates from novel to novel.

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