If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Friday, February 2, 2018

Noir Fiction by Warren Bull

Noir Fiction buy Warren Bull

Image from Pixabay

I’ve been asked what inspires me to write noir fiction.

“Noir” (black in French) was reportedly first used by film critic Nino Franklin in 1946 to describe the downbeat, bleak themes of American crime movies released in France such as The Maltese Falcon, Murder My Sweet and Double Indemnity. Those films reflected the anxieties and disillusionment of the times. They stand out in contrast to the optimistic comedies and musicals also made at the time.
Writers like Dashiel Hammett, Cornell Woolrich, and James M. Cain helped to establish the form. Hard-boiled detective stories often portrayed a cynical, underappreciated man dealing with lying clients, threats and violent hard cases in a corrupt world. The primary difference between hard-boiled and noir fiction is that the hard-boiled detective has an ethical core, even if no one else does. The ending may or may not be happy, but the central figure is definitely heroic. As Otto Penzler has written, in noir there are no heroes and no happy endings. The focus is on “losers” driven by destructive impulses such as greed, lust or revenge who make choices that lead them further along a downward spiral toward doom. Although sometimes described as hyper-masculine writing, Patricia Highsmith and Dorothy B. Hughes among other women writers produced excellent noir fiction.

Noir continues to evolve over time expanding to locations, eras and characters beyond what the originators of the form imagined. Akashic Books with a website announcing,   “Reverse Gentrification of the Literary World” has published a series of noir short story collections in particular settings. The publisher now includes places beyond North America like Addis Ababa, Buenos Aires and Copenhagen as settings. Darkhouse Books has published mystery anthologies with traditional dark noir themes such as Black Coffee and Destination Mystery! plus The Anthology of Cozy Noir.

Why do I write noir? I don’t like feeling constrained by imagined or real limitations and expectations of genre fiction. I like to write about whatever interests me. Also, I have lived long enough to see and experience extraordinary generosity and kindness as well as extreme selfishness and cruelty. I like to write about everything that I have encountered. The grit and hopelessness of a grim situation can evoke lyrical and almost poetic language like shards of a shattered mirror can reflect the beautiful sunset above. For example, one reviewer particularly liked and quoted part of the opening paragraph of my short story, On The Edge.

It is never totally soundless and pitch black in New York. There is a time before dawn when the silent black sky ignores distant light of stars and planets and the meaningless babble of mankind. It mocks our feeble attempt to push back the night. Sometimes I think the void will win. Lights will dim. Noise will fade. Day will never come again.

When I write humorous and light-hearted fiction, traditional mysteries, essays and song lyrics, all of which I enjoy doing, descriptions like the one above don’t fit. When I write about a lonely, damaged man doing the menial work of a janitor such descriptions come to mind. I also find noir lends itself to social commentary more readily than other forms of writing. Besides, when I write too many hopeful, uplifting and funny pieces, I feel overloaded with optimism. Writing something down and dirty clears my author “palate.”

Do you wrote noir? Why? or Why not?


Gloria Alden said...

Interesting, Warren. No I don't write noir although some of my short stories might be considered that. I wouldn't feel I could write about places I'm not familiar with, either,but you do have me considering now on writing that kind of short story, though. I haven't written a short story for some time now, and I should get back to that.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I just re-read your Destination Mystery! story "Wrestling with the Noontime Demon," which I enjoyed as much as I did when the anthology first came out.

KM Rockwood said...

I love noir! Sometimes I try to write it, with varying success. It's quite a change from presenting characters that you hope the readers will find sympathetic.

My book club watches a movie in January (too many people overwhelmed by the holidays with little tie to read) and this year, it was The Maltese Falcon.