Good/great modern/contemporary noir/hard-boiled fiction

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Good/great modern/contemporary noir/hard-boiled fiction

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Feb 23, 2010, 12:55pm

I'm really in the mood for some noir or hard-boiled fiction.

I've read both Lehane and Ellroy and of course much of the classics (Chandler, Hammett, Thompson and such). Anyone have any good suggestions?

Feb 23, 2010, 11:13pm


Feb 23, 2010, 11:45pm

You have probably already read Ross Macdonald, one of my favorites.

Feb 24, 2010, 12:03am

Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter or anything Hard Case Crime publishes.

Modificato: Feb 24, 2010, 7:42am

For someone writing now Megan Abbott is top notch. to go across the pond Ken Bruen

Feb 24, 2010, 7:46am

All the 'Maigret' books by Georges Simenon.

Modificato: Feb 24, 2010, 12:36pm

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I have some Simenon I haven't read yet but I thought those were less noir hardboiled and more the general detective novels/stories.

I have some Ross Macdonald as well but I didn't even think of him. I bought them a while ago and they were shelved and forgotten until I read you response.

Feb 24, 2010, 12:17pm

Please try one of the the MacDonalds! I think you'll like them.

Feb 24, 2010, 12:49pm

will do...

Feb 25, 2010, 4:27am

Then, I think, the one you want is Mickey Spillane, with the Mike Hammer stories.

Feb 25, 2010, 7:00am

for the classic stuff also try Cornell Woolrich

Mar 2, 2010, 12:07pm

Have you tried David Goodis and Charles Willeford? Both wrote some good noir novels.

Mar 6, 2010, 8:53pm

Try James Lee Burke. He's the best!

Mar 10, 2010, 5:05pm

Questo messaggio è stato segnalato da più utenti e non è quindi più visualizzato (mostra)
My new collection SHOT TO DEATH was called "New England noir." As far as I'm concerned, some of the stories are noir, some are hardboiled, and some are just crime/mystery. If you want to get a feel for them, you can jump onto my month-long blog tour where I discuss a story a day. The schedule is up at if you care to check it out.


Mar 11, 2010, 6:50am

Andrew Vachss

Mar 11, 2010, 7:58am

The early Matthew Scudder books by Lawrence Block -like Sins of the Fathers is pretty noirish

Mar 12, 2010, 3:16am

Modificato: Feb 27, 2012, 10:45pm

Modificato: Mar 14, 2010, 2:30pm

There is also the Thraxas series (for example, Thraxas and the Sorcerers by Martin Scott/Millar), if you want to have a look at the 'Fantasy Noir' genre. It has investigations and all, so it definitely fits what you are looking for.

Mar 23, 2010, 12:08am

Just finished Dope Thief by Dennis Tafoya. Highly recommended. Kind of reminds me of Dan Simmons,
"hard" series. Excellent.

Apr 30, 2010, 1:34pm

Build My Gallows High by Geoffrey Homes is really good. It was written in 1946 and adapted to film in 1947 as 'Out of the Past' starring Robert Mitchum & Kirk Douglas.

Ago 1, 2010, 9:09am

The PARKER series by Richard Stark Donal Westlake

Mar 12, 2011, 9:31am

Try Vicki Hendricks. She's very contemporary and VERY noir. CRUEL POETRY or MIAMI PURITY would be a good place to start with her. Ray Banks is excellent, also. Try his SUCKER PUNCH.

Feb 26, 2012, 6:19am

I'm rather surprised not to see any of John le Carre's books mentioned. To me, they're almost all deep noir. Or are espionage novels out of genre?

Feb 27, 2012, 9:26pm

Depending on how hard boiled you like it , I would try Walter mosley and the Easy Rawlinds mysteries. Noirish with a touch of american history and also Elmore Leonard.

Feb 27, 2012, 10:06pm

I would add to the list 2 Eds. Firstly Ed Mcbain, author of the prolific 87th Precinct police procedurals. So many great ones to choose from. Secondly Ed Dee, another terrific writer of police procedurals. 14 Peck Slip, his first novel, would be a good place to start.

Feb 27, 2012, 10:44pm

Reading West on 66 by James H. Cobb. Its pretty good.

Modificato: Apr 26, 2012, 3:53pm

Hello. Reader and writer of detective novels who just joined this group and saw the thread. Can't believe that Robert Parker, he of the Spenser novels, hasn't been mentioned. I'd say he is the preeminent hardboiled detective novelist of the past 40 years. My own detective story, Pascal's Wager, is heavily influenced by his work, as I'm sure other fictional P.I.'s like those of Robert Crais are.

Maggio 11, 2012, 4:05pm

James Lee Burke is good - try Black Cherry Blues. For some country noir try Daniel Woodrell's novels Tomato Red or Winter's Bone.

Lug 25, 2013, 6:48pm

Excellent read of Twin Cities Noir edited by Julie Schaper at Akashic Noir. It is a short stories collectively authored book which will give you the idea of visiting St. Paul and Minneapolis, preferably in winter and at night.

Lug 25, 2013, 8:19pm

Derek Raymond is amazing. Very dark and literary.

Set 24, 2013, 1:21am

Philip Kerr writes a series about a anti-Nazi German cop named Bernie Gunther and his exploits during a time frame of early 1930's through early 1950's that I think is quite good. He's able to create an atmosphere and setting of those grim times that you can almost taste...

Modificato: Set 25, 2013, 7:46am

I second the Kerr books. The Bernie Gunther novels make for a compelling read... do give Berlin Noir a shot.

Set 26, 2013, 3:55am

Jonathan Valin's hard boiled Harry Stoner series is excellent.

Set 26, 2013, 4:18am

I will 3rd. or whatever Berlin Noir...

But have you thought of also looking at some Fantasy, which explicitly tries for a 'Noir' atmosphere?

I would recommend Jim Butcher and Glen Cook (His Garette series).

But probably only the first few in the series. In fact 'only' start with their first books.

I also liked that 'alternate History" Fatherland . A thriller, but I guess its setting feels 'Noir' to me :)

Set 28, 2013, 12:39am

I've recently discovered and devoured Barry Eisler's John Rain series. Rain is a professional, and very accomplished assassin. In fact, in the first book of the series that's all he is, but as the series progresses the character grows increasingly complex. Much of the action is set in Tokyo and the rest of Japan, but he does get around: Brazil, Paris, etc.

Ott 1, 2013, 6:01pm

>36 guido47:

If you can stretch from 'fantasy' to 'sci-fi', then Richard Morgan's books are an excellent set to try; there's the Takeshi Kovacs series, which consists of Altered Carbon, Market Forces, Broken Angels, and there's the stand-alone Black Man (my personal favourite).

There's also Jon Courtenay Grimwood's 9tail fox, and perhaps his Arabesk Trilogy too.

Further, for those who don't object to reading their stories in graphical form (comic books, that is to say), there are plenty of good places to start:

Most accessible is probably Darwyn Cooke's adaptations of the Parker stories, The Hunter, The Outfit and The Score.

I absolutely adore the works of Ed Brubaker. He's done plenty, often in collaboration with Sean Phillips. The Criminal series is straight out crime noir; start with Criminal: Coward. Then there's his horror noir series, Fatale; start with Fatale: Death Chases Me for that one. Then, going back earlier in his career, there's his superhero noir series - perhaps a bit more Le Carre than noir, though - called Sleeper, which is collected in a single volume, Sleeper Omnibus, or there's Sleeper: Season 1 for a cheaper place to start. This was the one comic that for a long time I'd push on everyone to read, I think it's that good.

Hope some of you guys out there reading this find some inspiration from these suggestions.

Ott 1, 2013, 11:19pm

Thanks #38, I have read Richard Morgan . I will look at Grimwood

Since we share 500+ books (and I should borrow about 200 from you) I look forward to any 'Noir' SF/Fantasy you suggest :-)

Ott 21, 2013, 10:23pm

There is a trilogy, of sorts, that is fantasy/hard-boiled detective that I really enjoyed. It is the Fable of Tonight series by Mike Resnick - Stalking the Unicorn is first and you should start with that one so you know how John Justin Mallory wound up in an alternative Manhattan.

Mar 17, 2014, 11:55am

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I've had a recurring dream in which I'm lost in the woods. Lately I've felt driven to find the meaning. Then yesterday. I was driving from Arizona, and I thought "Beat Noir." You see, as a long time novelist, I've always felt in limbo, unbranded. Now that I've found a brand, Beat Noir, maybe those dreams will quit haunting me. You could find my novels about detective Tom Hickey at and let me know if the brand fits. Or go there and subscribe to The Scoop, monthly news in which, around April 1, I'll clarify what Beat Noir means to me.

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