Brian, that's the thing--one person's disarming humor is another person's flame. But enough of that.
About "over-the-top" noir, I think this is a growing trend now in publishing, although I'm not sure how noirish these books really are. But I do think publishers are trying to attract more male readers with books that bridge the gap between novels and graphic novels, and these tend to have way over the top violence that to some at least can be labeled comical, and they also tend to move faster, with less reality or believability, and usually populated with more cartoonish unrealistic characters. Beat the Reaper and Severance Package are two recent examples, and Huston's pulp noir trilogy probably fits here also, although I think his protagonist was strongly developed in Caught Stealing, with the later two books showing more of the cartoonish characterizations. At the same time as publishers are gravitating towards these more over-the-top faster-paced books where the violence tends to be too unrealistic to be felt as real, they're also shying away from books that they feel are too dark and the violence has a more realistic punch to it (more of what we tend to think of as noir).
At least that's my take on it.
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