Murder at the Mushroom Festival is the fourth in the Kelly Jackson series and my first experience with the series or the author. In this installment, Kelly Jackson has been named permanent manager of the Redwood Cove B&B and is gearing up for the festivities by bringing in Elise Jenkins to host a cooking class featuring mushrooms. Continue reading “Murder at the Mushroom Festival – a #BookReview”
Remember back in December 2015 when I investigated all these new-to-me genres? Nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk?
Well, it’s happened again. A number of bloggers I follow have reviewed stories recently they’ve categorized as “Noir.” If it sounds French, it is, and means “dark” or “of the night.” It is usually a genre that deals with violence or sex, but definitely corruption in some manner. (BTW, noire is just feminine for noir, but you knew that, huh.)
Yes, I remember film noir, but “classic” (or roman) noir is considered a “hardboiled” genre that usually includes a self-destructive protagonist. I’m not writing the rules here, only relaying what I found in research–and it’s not pretty folks. Although I must say, we’ve definitely done a number on the original noir fiction spawned from Dashiell Hammett( 1894-1961) “the dean of the… ‘hardboiled’ school of detective fiction.” The protagonist is not a rumpled, raincoat cloaked, cigar-chomping thoughtful-hearted protagonist, but rather a perpetrator. Forget Columbo! Think Humphrey Bogart. No, much worse. Think Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential. But there is a huge difference in the definition of “noir” and what we are calling forms of noir today.
Harking back to the Huff Post updated in December 2017 by Otto Penzlerwho didn’t mince words when he described the genre, “noir is about losers,” not private detectives.This is the down and dirty–doesn’t do well and never will. The protagonist in a noir story is driven by just about everything bad a human can exhibit: greed, lust, jealousy. They aren’t ever going to triumph. They can’t! (It’s noir.) And this is what separates the private detective or family noir from noir fiction–the moral ground.
The problem then, as Noir Fiction has splintered off as many sub-genres as the previously discussed fiction novels, is the evolution. Here are just a few:
I think it was the Scandinavian noir that set me to scratching my head. A Scandi noir? Certainly, it was the film industry that influenced the change of the hardboiled nuance into a neo-noir flavor. Definitely a contemporary or more modern version of film noir, the term neo-noir was popularized by two French critics back in 1955. It appears these were retro-actively applied to much earlier crime movies including the 1940s as well as the 1950s in the U.S. (Think Bogey)
It was Hammett who created Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon after a character he knew living in San Francisco. His authentic period dialogue was included in the movie famously played by Humphrey Bogart.
Raymond Chandler? Really? Because if you were surprised by Hammett’s life dates, Chandler is right there, born in 1888 and died in 1959. Wikipedia notes he began writing after losing his job as an oil company executive. He published a short story in Black Mask Magazine, a pulp magazine in 1933. (First issue April 1920-final issue 1987) Along with Dashiell Hammett and other Black Mask writers, he is considered to be a founder of the hardboiled detective fiction. Philip Marlowe, his protagonist, was also played by the quintessential Humphrey Bogart. He said of the hardboiled detective, “he is the white knight who walks the mean streets, but is not himself mean.”
Cinematically, Lee Marvin cemented the neo-noir style of film when he starred in Point Blank (1967), introducing a new level of violence in film and established the foundation for later escalation of ferocity and brutality.
I suspect there would be some argument over whether the film Pulp Fiction is actually pulp noir or film noir. Jessica Jones – pulp noir? Where would you classify any of the dark noir books (Gone Girl) (or movies) that you’ve read (seen) lately?
But really, a family noir? OMG–it’s gotta be sad, depressing, and can never be made right.
I don’t need it.
I want peaceful.
I want happy–if not happily ever after–a light at the end of the tunnel. Some small promise it’ll be okay.
Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.
This week I am presenting Jonathan Kellerman and his book Night Moves. I received this download from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books and #NetGalley. The book will be released on February 13, 2018. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and crime and is 416 pages.
I will be presenting my review on February 13, 2018. In the meantime (from Amazon), here is the
Even with all his years of experience, LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis knows there are crimes his skill and savvy cannot solve alone. That’s when he calls on brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware to read between the lines, where the darkest motives lurk. And if ever the good doctor’s insight is needed, it’s at the scene of a murder as baffling as it is brutal.
There’s no spilled blood, no evidence of a struggle, and, thanks to the victim’s missing face and hands, no immediate means of identification. And no telling why the disfigured corpse of a stranger has appeared in an upscale L.A. family’s home. Chet Corvin, his wife, and their two teenage children are certain the John Doe is unknown to them. Despite that, their cooperation seems guarded. And that’s more than Milo and Alex can elicit from the Corvins’ creepy next-door neighbor—a notorious cartoonist with a warped sense of humor and a seriously antisocial attitude.
As the investigation ensues, it becomes clear that this well-to-do suburban enclave has its share of curious eyes, suspicious minds, and loose lips. And as Milo tightens the screws on potential persons of interest—and Alex tries to breach the barriers that guard their deepest secrets—a strangling web of corrupted love, cold-blooded greed, and shattered trust is exposed. Though the grass may be greener on these privileged streets, there’s enough dirt below the surface to bury a multitude of sins. Including the deadliest.
Congratulations to you for surviving the holidays and making it through January! Isn’t that considered the worst of winter is over? We can only hope! It’s certainly been a frantic month for me, back to reading, reviewing, and concentrating on “stats.” (Yes, I know. I’m not supposed to think about those, but…)
I have achieved some goals:
Blog stats (hit 1,000 followers–Thank you all–again!), Goodreads stats (made my Book Challenge!), Amazon reviewer status (now down under 15K), and NetGalley stats achieved 80%–gonna keep it that way and pushing for my 50 reviews badge. (As a new reviewer on NetGalley, it’s easy to fall into that trap–BOOKS! All those BOOKS! I want them all–no, wait…oops!)
So, besides the ARC’s from NetGalley, there was #ThrowbackThursdays highlighting two of my favorite authors (Jodie Bailey and Linda McDonald). Spent some heavy time doing #AmReading posts, #TBR posts, and #Bookstagrams, the latter of which has fired up new ideas for “staging” books and that’s been fun.
Eleven January reads, most ARC’s through NetGalley and one read (#11) by my associate, the CE (If you haven’t caught his review yet, check it out!):
January 02 – No Turning Back by Nancy Bush
January 04 – The Last Homecoming by Dan Chabot (author request)
January 07 – Grist Mill Road by Christopher J Yates
January 09 – Strangers by Ursula Archer and Arno Strobel
January 10 – Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
January 14 – An Engineered Injustice by William L Myers Jr
January 16 – Dark Ocean by Nick Elliott (author request)
January 21 – Deep Zero by V S Kemanis
January 23 – An Eye for an Eye by Caroline Fardig
January 28 – Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall
January 30 – The Yanks Are Starving by Glen Craney (author request)
See anything here that catches your eye? These run the gamut from historical fiction to psychological and legal thrillers and I know you’ve read at least one of them.
I’m having a tough time keeping up with reading and commenting on all your reviews! I comment when I can and I enjoy receiving all your comments here as well as the likes and comments on Bookstagram.
Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, “It’s Book Talk“ to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).
This week I am highlighting author Melissa Stevensand stepping considerably beyond my comfort zone in genres (shape-shifting, fantasy). I met Melissa when I also had a table at the craft fair in Yuma at the Country Roads RV Park, probably my favorite of the delightful RV parks where I sold my grandfather’s books during the winters of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Melissa published Change, the first in the Kitsune series in January 2012 (which I reviewed on Goodreads), and was light years ahead of me in promotion. She obviously had a solid marketing plan and knew how to manipulate the ins and outs of Kindle and Smashwords. Change was newly revised in 2017. She is a prolific author who has gone on to writing stand alones, another series, as well as collaborating with another author. She was part of Wicked After Dark, a paranormal romance anthology that hit #13 on the New York Times Bestseller’s list in October of 2015. It would appear she is progressing nicely!
Welcome to Mystic Bay and the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack where the proprietor, Aunt Gully, is a combination of your favorite aunt and feisty grandmother (my favorite character)–and her lobster rolls are to die for. Protagonist Allegra (Allie) Larkin has returned to this small New England hamlet to help Gully Fontana with the Memorial Day Lobster Roll contest and to rest an ankle now in a boot from a ballet dance injury. Her Aunt Gully recently opened her lobster shack to accolades with her lobster roll with secret sauce and was invited to participate in the contest covered by the YUM Food Network. Winning the contest would more than boost her little endeavor. Unfortunately, one of the four judges doesn’t make it alive to the next contestant. Continue reading “#CursesBoiledAgain – a #BookReview”