Without getting bogged down in a discussion of definitions, it is
entirely possible for a noir novel to not destroy the protagonist at
the end or stop him or her forever. An example is Kent Harrington's
Dark Ride. Another is the Ripley series by Patricia Highsmith. Another
is Charlie Huston's _Caught Stealing_. There are many examples, even
in Woolrich (Rear Window is a very well known one).
Noir allows for many variations, from simple bad luck that engulfs and
tries to destroy a person, to a psychopath doing things, to petty
crooks getting into something way worse that they can't stop, etc.
Noir is not a formula nor does it depend on a formula. That is why is
such a vital genre and why, for example, Jason Starr's novels are so
totally different from one another but they're all noir, without
question. Or Patricia Highsmith's large variety of noir stories. What
do Ripley, Strangers on a Train, Edith's Diary and That Sweet Sickness
have in common? Not a discernible formula, I would say.
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