RARA-AVIS: British "Neo-Noir"?

From: Mark D. Nevins ( nevins_mark@yahoo.com)
Date: 11 Oct 2007

A few years ago I picked up David Huggins's THE BIG KISS--I've not yet read it, but it looks like it might be a decent "neo-noir" (I'm not getting into that terminology debate here).

Below is a description from GoogleBooks, including a quote from Will Self, a peer of Barnes and Amis (as I try to retro-actively bring a previous post of mine on-topic ;-)

If anyone has an opinion, let me know if I should move THE BIG KISS higher up in my towering "to read" stack.

Also, any thoughts on James Hawes? I liked A WHITE MERC WTIH FINS
(though I felt the ending did not pay off)--perhaps I'd describe it as Jason Starr meets TRAINSPOTTING. I did not read his later RANCID ALUMINIUM.

Mark Nevins


"If Chester Himes had an obsessive-compulsive disorder or Raymond Chandler went on Prozac, they might have written something like The Big Kiss.David Huggins's prose is a delight."--Will Self

Steve Cork's marriage to ex-model Liz has gone from seven-year itch to nine-year eczema, his best friend and business partner Tony has wrecked his own marriage and now his Porsche in a long-running battle with the bottle, and their knock-off designer clothing company is being taken over by Alan Denton, a man with the brand of self-confidence you can't buy from a therapist or a drug dealer. Plus, either Steve has begun hallucinating, or London's buildings are bursting into psychedelic bubbles--and the brash Mr. Denton is a rapist and a murderer.

Even with a fresh lithium prescription, Steve is convinced that his mental instability is not entirely to blame for the way his life is unravelling. Someone here in glamorous '90s Swinging London is out to get him, and all of his friends are now the most obvious suspects. He has no idea whom to trust, including himself, and no one seems to trust him--either because he's crazy or because they're conspiring against him.

But what is clear is that in the Hitchcockian thriller his life has become, someone will end up the hapless victim, someone the evil villain, and someone the triumphant hero. And Steve, hampered by hallucinations, psycho-active drugs, and a long string of very bad luck, is running out of time to choose which role he gets to play.

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