I suppose this all falls into the "slapstick silly" discussion.
I believe that in the noir that defined the genre, there was an arc of interest and action. Paraphrasing Eddie Muller, the protagonist starts in a hole and digs himself or herself deeper--he said it much better than that but I've had only a few hours sleep, so I don't remember the words exactly.
Of the newer writers' books, Vicki Hendricks' MIAMI PURITY fits the old profile perfectly.
Too much of the noir I have read recently has no ongoing story, is more a series of action and violent confrontations--episodic. This happens, then that happens, and then all hell breaks lose and the protagonists fails--or doesn't fail and life goes on. To me, there seems to be no real build-up--just a startling opening followed by mildly related violence, if related at all, leading to the story's end.
At the opening is the slapstick that gets the story started. By slapstick I mean just something so weird that it's funny. Very often it continues through until the novel ends. Usually, it does not come to a conclusion. Sometimes, the protag is not even screwed, but just has come to the end of a bloody trail, suffering some loss. In the best, it loss of life or freedom. Others just end. Most: "Dark and Sinister?" Yes. "Screwed?" Occasionally.
That's my take.
Read, read, read. Write, write, write.
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