Friday, December 21, 2018

Noir Fiction and Non-Fiction, My Favourites from 2018

It was a good year for noir fiction. But these were the books that stood out for me.  I've included links to those that I reviewed. A couple came in a bit late to be reviewed on this site. Maybe I'll get to them at some point in the near future.

-Give Me Your Hand, Megan Abbott

-Green Sun, Kent Anderson

-November RoadLou Berney

-The Lonely WitnessWilliam Boyle- 

-The Syndicate, Clarence Cooper Jr.-

- Pulp According to David Goodis, Jay Gertzman

-So Many Doors, Oakley Hall 

-The Annotated Big SleepHill, Jackson, Rizzuto- 

-Ivory PearlJean- Patrick Manchette

- I'll Be Gone In the DarkMichelle McNamara-

 -Only to SleepLawrence Osborne- 

-The Long TakeRobin Robertson

-The Prague Coup, Jean-Luc Fromental, Miles Hyman


Thursday, December 06, 2018

On Dangerous Ground: The Killing (1956), Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

These, quotidian vagaries. As in the 
perfect crime, watch it breaking into 
pieces. Just like George and Sherry's 
marriage, a misdemeanor consummated 
somewhere down Thanatos Road, 
that  cul-de-sac where low-intensity 
warfare is routine. Proper Thompson 
machine-gun spew, as in: Saw somethin' 
kinda sweet comin' home. This couple 
sittin' in front of me. The woman was 
about your age. With one foot and a big 
toe in the graveThey were in front of 
me and she called him poppa and he 
called her momma. And you want me to 
call you poppa. And you'd call me momma. 
You know all the answers. Don't suppose 
there's anything for dinner? Of course 
there is.  I don't smell nothin'. That figures. 
You're too far away from it. You don't think 
had it cooked, do you? It's down at the 
shopping center. Tell me something.  Why 
did you marry me? George, if people didn't 
have headaches, what would happen to the 
aspirin industry? As if everything were so, 
wherever plans invariably stray. A dead race 
horse, cop with no way out, the score of a 
lifetime, lost, in a year of cheap paperbacks, 
cold wars, Elvis, and, glued to the radio, 
against all odds, finally, a perfect game.

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

Va-va-vroom, declaims the Greek mechanic, 
blown to rags. It’s the American way, atomic 
L.A. devolving into the future.  Everyone
assimilated, yet isolated. Hammer, more 
self-deceptor than detector, over-powering 
women like hoodlums. Not Christina. Quoting 
poetry, straight out of the loony bin. Yet it
hardly takes a lunatic to see through Hammer’s
tough-guy pose. You're one of those self-indulgent 
males who thinks about nothing but his clothes, 
his car, himself. His only response, to sneer
something about the importance of staying 
in shape. Even though her signifiers- headlights, 
white lines, shoes, legs, overcoat- enough to 
make his sap spin. As for the Great Whatsit- 
“Cerebus barking with all his heads”- who 
could blame  Lily, all Seberg wihtout a new
wave to latch onto, for lifting the lid on that 
particular can of worms? Viewing its effect 
from the shoreline. Va-va-vroomwhere neither 
the literal, nor the literate, can escape unscathed.