Noir aka Hardboiled Mysteries
liffhangers Crime Fiction
Cliffhangers Crime Fiction
Books and videos for mystery mavens
Books and videos for mystery mavens
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About Noir aka Hardboiled
The noir aka hardboiled hero takes on every demon he encounters, whether on the mean city streets or in his own damaged psyche. He drinks too much, fights too much and falls in love with all the wrong people. But he can't be intimidated, he can't be bought and he can be counted on to stand up for the little guy against the rich, powerful, amoral and corrupt.
The noir classics, written in the mid-twentieth century, were set in big U.S. cities (i.e. the work of authors Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammett) . In recent years, the genre has flowered again with fantastic novels set in some of the world's most interesting cities, including most prominently Bangkok, Thailand.
Noir writing is dark and violent, but it can also be funny, although the humor is (surprise) dark, sometimes very dark.
Directory of Noir aka Hardboiled Series
(Bestsellers first, then alphabetically by author's last name)
Sonchai Jitpleecheep's adventures are more frenetic than most because his boss--the guy who runs the police department--is a corrupt crime-lord who keeps giving Sonchai confusing and life-threatening assignments. (Bestsellers. Noir aka Hardboiled. Cops. Funny. Set in Thailand.) Nurse Nina Borg gets into big trouble when she puts herself between vulnerable people and the criminal predators who threaten them. These shocking literary thrillers venture into the darkest corners of contemporary Europe. (Bestsellers. Noir aka Hardboiled. Private investigators. Female Heroes. Literary. Set in Denmark.)
Tough Guys (and Gals) Prowling Mean Streets in Phnom Penh, Stockholm and Bangkok
by Stieg Larsson
Translated into English by Reg Keeland
WINNER! 2006 Best Swedish Crime Novel Award
Even people who don't normally read thrillers love this book!
Summary: Something about this Swedish story struck a chord with the millions of global readers who turned it into an international bestseller. Odd-couple investigators Mikael Blomkvist, a successful journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a punked-out, anti-social computer savant, take down a series of self-satisfied, sadistic criminals.
In The Girl Who Played with Fire, Salander, is now accused of murder and on the run, helped out by Blomkvist and the gang at Millennium magazine.
Review: Not for nothing is this book a bestseller. The Girl Who Played with Fire is a pure high-octane thriller starring the inimitable, admirable, unstoppable Salander. (Those who appreciated the first book in the series for its traditional mystery won't find the same here.)
This is one of my favorite noir aka hardboiled mysteries because the unconventional hero really kicks ass.
Lisbeth Salander should be a victim (abused child, anti-social personality, ward of the state) but she learned to fight back with gusto and ingenuity (only killing bad guys) and became a hero. Plus: the story is addictive.
More about the Millennium Trilogy Thrillers including list of books in chronological order, series review, series guide, book reviews and book summaries (Bestsellers. Noir aka Hardboiled. Female Hero. Set in Sweden)
by Christopher G. Moore
WINNER! 2004 German Critics Award for Crime Fiction WINNER! 2007 Premier Special Director Book Award
P.I. Vinnie Calvino, born in Brooklyn, residing in Bangkok, has a cult following in Europe and Asia.
Summary: When tough-guy Vinnie Calvino washed out as a lawyer in New York, he made his way to Bangkok, Thailand and reinvented himself as a private investigator. Vinnie drinks too much, fights too much, falls in love with the wrong women and always stands up for the little guy against the dark forces of the corrupt and powerful.
In Zero Hour in Phnom Penh, set in 1994, Calvino takes a job he can't afford to turn down. He follows a missing gun runner to the desperate depths of Phnom Penh, Cambodia where people ruined by endless years of violence struggle to find a way forward. His cop friend Pratt sets him up, his client lies to him and Phnom Penh is more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. He even falls in love with a beautiful, mysterious woman.
Review: The perfect hardboiled mystery. Vivid and scary. High stakes story for Calvino who faces betrayal from every side. The setting is provocative: the Cambodians have experienced so much death and destruction and live with so much corruption and so little safety that you wonder how much catching one murderer can really mater.
This is one of my favorite noir aka hardboiled mysteries because it is written with a high level of artistry. More about the Vincent Calvino Mystery Books including list of books in chronological order, series review, series guide, book reviews and book summaries (Noir aka Hardboiled. Private Investigators. Set in Cambodia) Former cop Bernie Gunther chases murderers in the most murderous regime in history: Nazi Germany. Bernie left the Berlin police force before the Nazi's could throw him out and hangs up his shingle as a P.I. investigating missing persons, mainly Jews. Eventually he is forced to become a military cop and is posted to different locations in Nazi-occupied Europe. (Bestsellers. Noir aka Hardboiled. Historical. Cops. Set in Nazi-Occupied Europe.) A disgraced journalist and an anti-social waif team up to fight the powers of darkness in this rip-roaring, three volume tale of payback and revenge.(Bestsellers. Noir aka Hardboiled Thrillers. Female Hero. Set in Sweden.) Scary, unsettling, unconventional mysteries. Imagine being a city cop in a paranoid, totalitarian state (North Korea) where black is white, up is down, and even the most usual interactions have a through-the-looking-glass feel. Such is Inspector O's predicament. (Noir aka Hardboiled. Police Procedurals. Literary. Set in North Korea.) 1929. Pekkala, once private eye to Tsar Nicholas II, is freed from a Siberian labor camp and given his old job back, this time working for Russian dictator Joseph Stalin. Plentiful flashbacks to Pekkala's life with the royal family give these books exceptional historical breadth. (Historical. Noir aka Hardboiled. Set in Stalinist Russia (Soviet Union)) Somehow, trouble always finds American expat Poke Rafferty. Poke, a PI based in Bangkok, Thailand has a real talent for violence and a special way of poking the bad guys with a stick. He also has a talented sidekick, Arthit, a Thai cop walking a perilous line between serving justice and serving the rich and powerful. (Noir aka Hardboiled. Private Investigators. Set in Thailand.) A shell-shocked British officer, Bennett Grey, and an angry United States Bureau of Investigation agent, Harris Stuyvesant, team up to catch killers and terrorists in this dark, daring new series by the excellent Laurie R. King. (Noir aka Hardboiled. Historical. Private Investigators. Set Between World Wars I and II.) Vincent Calvino, with his big heart and his Brooklyn bravado brings the big mysteries of Bangkok to life--how to drive, wai, and die like a Thai--while he hunts murderers among Thailand's endlessly corrupt and entitled power brokers. (Noir aka Hardboiled. Private Investigators. Set in Thailand.) Private investigator Varg Veum pursues the scumbags who hurt children in this series of violent, noir crime novels. (Noir aka Hardboiled. Private Investigators. Set in Norway.) Former attorney Jack Irish prowls Melbourne, Australia's dark, rainy alleys searching for deadbeats and missing witnesses, taking the occasional break for a carefully prepared meal or a quick trip to the racetrack, footy match or local pub (where his father and grandfather also drank.) (Noir aka Hardboiled. Private Investigators. Set in Australia.)
by John Burdett
This witty walk on the wild side with Thai Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep will rock your world.
Summary: Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep has a stressful life, mainly because his boss, a crime lord who also runs the police department, keeps giving him assignments that put his life at risk. Sonchai's beat is Bangkok 8, an infamous red-light district, home to expat sex tourists, Thai working girls and an assortment of gangsters, crooks and corrupt cops. Alone of all the cops in Bangkok 8, Sonchai has taken a solemn oath not to take bribes--this causes an unimaginable amount of trouble--and to only arrest people who are actually guilty--this is almost impossible. Sonchai fights the stress with meditation, medication, and a world-class sense of humor.
In Bangkok 8, Sonchai hunts for the murderers who have killed his partner and a United States Marine by filling a car with snakes on speed.
Review: A raunchy romp. Funny and frank, startling and serene, this book breaks taboos and leaves the reader breathless. There is something here to offend everyone. Plus: Snakes on speed?!
This is one of my favorite noir aka hardboiled mysteries because the narrator (Detective Sonchai) is a riot with his explanations of Thai culture to clueless Westerners and his blunt descriptions of his own motivations.
Above: Author Christopher G. Moore
Above: Author Stieg Larsson
Above: Author John Burdett