THE COOL OF CLASSIC NOIR – Janet Roger

Here’s something that quite startled me not that long ago, from a eulogy given in Washington Cathedral for a remarkable American. The speaker was recalling a capacity John McCain had, for what she called …a stoic silence that was once the mark of an American man. So why should that startle me? Well, I suppose…

Overlooked Crime: Rebuilding Coventry – Sue Townsend by K. A. Laity

Best known for the Adrian Mole books, the late Sue Townsend wrote a variety of other interesting novels, memoirs and plays. I picked up this one after Beth Jellicoe mentioned it on her piece about Muriel Sparks’ Loitering with Intent, the latter certainly one of my faves amongst her many fine novels—and a book that…

Renegade by Mark McConville

She spoke to me behind a mask. Her hands shook but her legs were still, her voice broken, but I could hear what she was expressing. She then sang the REM hit It’s The End Of The World As We Know It. Clarity and assurance went hand in hand, the rendition of a beautiful touch,…

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One by Paul D. Brazill

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Ginger Ronny had told Burkey about the murder towards the bitter end of one of their occasional raucous Tuesday night drinking sessions, as the dawn had desperately begun to grasp for life and Malcolm Duffy was grumpily getting ready to close up Le Duffy. But it wasn’t until…

Pest Control by Jason Beech

Pest Control by Jason Beech   It took Jeff ten-or-so steps out of his van to loosen his sore back. The old lady who opened the door released him from the mood that grabbed him up the long solitary road to her house. That sweet smile, a waft of home cooking, and a phrase all…

Noir Classics: Those Who Walk Away – Patricia Highsmith by K. A. Laity

Don’t let the pull quote form Slavoj Zizek put you off. This too-little read classic by Highsmith is a cracking read. It’s suffused with an existential dread so thick you could cut it with a Derwatt paint knife. It starts in Rome and quickly moves to Venice, currently repopulated with swans and dolphins, which is…

Kiss Like a Fist by Graham Wynd

She had a mouth that could raise the dead. It had raised me plenty over the years, but I’d never been close enough to Rosaline’s orbit to do anything about it. Until tonight. I brought her a third martini and her tongue had loosened enough to share some sage advice with me as she leaned…

Hammett by K. A. Laity

Oh a whim (sorry) I decided I really needed to finally see Wim Wenders’ Hammett, which might also be Francis Ford Coppola’s Hammett. Or not. In any case, it’s not the film Wenders envisioned. In the 70s war-fatigue fueled the neo-noir revival that gave us films like Chinatown, Farewell My Lovely, and Altman’s The Long…

Yesterday’s Wine by Paul D. Brazill

Pauline Williams really hadn’t wanted to talk to her brother. Not for a while, anyway. She’d been giving him the cold shoulder recently. She’d had more than enough of Billy’s shenanigans over the years, so she started to ignore his text messages and calls. She’d even unfriended him on Facebook. But when she found out…