RE: RARA-AVIS: good man Michael Connelly

From: Brandt Dodson (
Date: 05 Mar 2008

Is Michael truly noir?


Not by the way I define noir. And by the way, an extensive discussion of a definition for noir came up a few years ago.

To my way of thinking, Noir involves more than plot line and character arc - although those are certainly important elements and cannot be excluded in any definition - it is more a 'feeling'. The city or other setting becomes as much a character in the book as do the protagonist and antagonist. Chandler's LA is almost palpable and greatly lends to the noir "feel" that is so prevalent - yet often so indefinable. On the other hand, even with the right emphasis on setting, a novel can still not be noir.

Take, for example, the alphabet series by Sue Grafton. You have a PI, you have a city that is a major character in her books (her Santa Teresa is a fictional Santa Barbara) and yet I don't think anyone calls her work - noir.

I don't think Robert B. Parker's Spenser series -although he does an excellent job, in most cases, of keeping the paradigm established by Chandler and Hammett - represent noir either.


On the other hand, I think Loren Estleman does. Again, my opinion.


I like Michael's work, though I must admit I haven't read a lot of it. I enjoyed The Closers and Blood Work, though this wasn't a Bosch novel.

But I think if you compare his writing with novels that most people would agree are noir, you will find some stark discrepancies.


Brandt <>



Is Michael truly noir? Any thoughts?


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