What style includes dangerous, depressing places and moral ambiguity

Mar 15, 2023 2:27 am

What makes a noir mystery? Must there be a mystery for it to be noir? If so, noir mystery would seem redundant. The online Merriam-Websters says that noir is "crime fiction featuring cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings." Collins Dictionary says that the adjective noir for a film indicates a "style that depicts the world as a dangerous or depressing place where many people suffer especially because of the greed or cruelty of others." The Oxford dictionary says that noir is a "genre of crime fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity."

I think noir, as crime fiction, implies a mystery. Crimes are mysteries to be solved. The main character in a noir piece is either trying to solve a crime or avoid being caught/framed as the perpetrator/suspect of the crime. I think of private detectives and mysterious women brought together to unravel a mystery, or law enforcement who play fast and loose with the facts and the law to pin blame on some handy patsy. Should there be some mob or organized crime connection? It's not required, but it is sometimes found in the genre. I dont' think the settings have to be bleak and sleazy, but something of those elements--either in setting or in characters--lends an appropriate atmosphere.

Personally, I like the detective or man on the run with the beautiful woman who may be a femme fatale. I also like some humor and some interesting characters and settings. Perhaps my novel Smoke isn't dark enough or sleazy and depressing enough for true noir. I sometimes think of it as noir light--for a complete contradiction in terms. It contains less violence than you'll find in most of my other novels, and probably more humor and light romance. I wrote it because I liked the style and had some elements of the story in my head that whispered something of Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade, as well as Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour, and Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. The main character in Smoke isn't any of these men, but there are similarities. He has his own story and personality. As for the women in Smoke, they are fabulous. Every one of them is a gem. You can also find ambitious cops and sinister criminals with connections.

By the way, Smoke is 40% off for a few days only. Take a look. Come for the warm kisses and veil of smoke. Stay for the intrigue, mystery, and memorable characters, but beware of both lipstick and lead--an overdose of either can be fatal.


Check out Smoke here.


I finished Manly Wade Wellman's Twice in Time and the short story about Nostradamus that followed in the ebook from Baen. It's not your typical time travel story. The twist--if that's even the right word, and I don't think it is--comes as no surprise, but it's a fun read and I recommend it.

I've started The Earthly Paradise by C.S. Forester. It's promising.

I had a late night last week watching Ford v Ferrari. That was an exhilarating ride that I plan to buckle up for again. I would like to find out how many of the details in the story are completely true, and how man and received some embellishment for dramatic purposes. I found it extremely well done, well acted, and captivating. Have you seen it?


If crime and mystery rock your world, you might want to take a look at this book:

Peyton Dinwiddie's Web of Injustice --

imagePolice officer Ryan Roosevelt is trapped in a dire situation, in Web of Injustice, the sequel to a shocking investigation thriller series, full of mystery and suspense.

You can find even more mysteries here:

Clean Read Mysteries

If you've got fantasy on your mind, you're invited to stop by this location:

Fantastic Young Adult Fiction


Honor Roll with special thanks to these subscribers:

Lois for her stunning review and heroic defense of The Shrinking Zone.

JBudd for reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, In Death Bedrenched, Power to Hurt, The Shrinking Zone, Clamorous Harbingers, Promise of Carnage and Flame, and Truth in Flames

Colleen for leaving ratings for several of my books on Amazon

Rob for leaving a review of Threading the Rude Eye

Michael for leaving reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, and The Shrinking Zone

Mayra for a review of Threading the Rude Eye

Gloria for a review of Threading the Rude Eye

ShannonC for a review of In Death Bedrenched

Jan for reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, Power to Hurt, Clamorous Harbingers, Promise of Carnage and Flame, In Death Bedrenched, The Shrinking Zone, Truth in Flames, and Justice in Season.

Bonnie for a review of In Death Bedrenched.

PAR for a review of Threading the Rude Eye

-There are other reviews of my books, of course, but I don't know whether those reviewers are also subscribers to this newsletter.