The crime fiction genre covers a lot of ground. By definition, crime fiction involves mystery to be solved, usually who the killer is, or a quest to figure out some type of diabolical plot. Crime fiction stories involve pretty high stakes, and therefore a lot of suspense. Often there is a ticking clock to ratchet the tension even higher. And of course, there is always a crime of some sort to be solved, or prevented; some sort of wrong to be righted.
Crime fiction is a broad term which includes many sub-genres, which focus on the investigation of a crime and the apprehension of a suspect, either by law enforcement agents, as in The Numbers Killer, by my “Chatting with the Pros” author guest, Jenifer Ruff or by a tough guy P.I., as in hardboiled crime fiction such as Jim Nesbitt writes, with his tough guy P.I., Ed Earl Burch in The Best Lousy Choice and the two previous books in that series.
Hardboiled heroes are memorable. Who doesn’t know of Sam Spade or Mike Hammer and their cynical tough-guy images? They are usually down on their luck, or at least between clients. They are often heavily flawed, often self-destructive, but a ladies man none-the-less, with a love them and leave them attitude and the snappy dialog of the 1920’s. Hardboiled fiction was birthed by Carrolle John Daly and Dashielle Hammett in the 20’s, and carried on by authors such as Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane.
In noir crime fiction, the protagonist is usually an extremely flawed, average guy. He’s usually down and out, or perhaps on a downward spiral in a situation that seems bleak and hopeless. He’s a self-destructive hero, who ends up going against all odds to fight corruption and injustice, not because it is his job, but for strictly personal motivations, which are usually not in his own best interests. An excellent example of this is found in Rose City, by Michael Pool (See my interview with Michael next Monday, the 29th).
And of course, the classic crime fiction is pulp, such as Quintin Peterson writes in Awesome Tales #10 . From pulp, we get our classic heroes and fiendish evil villains. It’s from pulp that comic book super heroes and super villains arose, which is yet, another sub-genre of crime fiction, which has expanded with a life of its own to super colossal proportions.
We went on a hunt for crime fiction, and we found quite a bit. I learned a lot and I hope you did to. Now, I’m looking forward to August in a quest for mysteries and mystery authors. My “Chatting with the Pros” guest will be New York Times bestselling author, Gilly Macmillan. I’ll also be interviewing mystery author Gerald Darnell. And I’ll be reviewing a mystery anthology, Death Among Us, as well as a search and rescue mystery, Murder on the Horizon, by M.L. Rowland, and a paranormal cozy, Broomsticks and Burials, by Lilly Webb. I hope you’ll join me.
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Rose City, by Michael Pool takes readers on a stroll down the darker side of small town social structures in a journey well deserving of noir acclaim. This skillfully crafted story will keep the pages turning, as the greed and corruption of Teller County unnfolds before the readers eyes. Rose City is everything a noir novel should be. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear the name Michael Poole in noir circles more and more often once the word gets out about his superb noir style and talent.
Cole Quick escaped Teller County once and he thought it was for good. Now he’s returning, following the death of his father, and is quickly reminded of all the reasons he fled this place. When he learns of the gruesome death of his childhood friend, Jimmy, it begins to look like things haven’t really changed much at all. But, there’s more going on in Teller County than what it appears on the surface. Cole takes a walk in the underbelly of Teller County’s drug trade, and finds himself in the middle of Teller County’s social elite. There are dark things happening, corruption, power and greed are behind the heineous events that occurred in Cole’s absence, events that may include Jimmy’s murder and more. The harder he’s pushed, the more determined Cole becomes to expose those running the show in Teller County for who and what they are, and thwart their corrupt game of greed and power… or die trying.
Cole Quick is a perfectly flawed noir hero, and Rose City is a perfectly dark noir tale. I give it five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.