RE: RARA-AVIS: good man Michael Connelly

From: Patrick King (
Date: 05 Mar 2008

--- Brandt Dodson <> wrote:

> 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.
***************************************************** I don't think Connelly or Chandler are "noir" by any stretch. To me, that term belongs to writers like Jim Thompson and James M. Cain who write about desperate people in desperate circumstances who make poor choices. I think both Connelly & Chandler are hard boiled authors who write about people struggling to do the right thing in the face of deadly opposition. I believe it takes much more than atmosphere to make noir. The plot has to drive in a specific direction.

While great hard boiled characters may have feet of clay, their motives are usually to protect those weaker than they are. The motives of main characters in "noir" fiction are to advance their own agenda whatever they have to do. They inevitably come to ruin however complex they may be as people.

Patrick King

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