What did you just finish reading and what are you currently reading?

DiskuteraHardboiled / Noir Crime Fiction

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What did you just finish reading and what are you currently reading?

aug 14, 2011, 11:45 pm

Hi all, just wondering what everyone has been reading lately. I just finished A Rage in Harlem (aka For Love of Imabelle) by Chester Himes. It was great. I'm currently reading The Magdalen Martyrs by Ken Bruen.

aug 18, 2011, 2:27 pm

I've recently read The Big Sleep by Chandler and Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer and enjoyed both. I'll be continuing with Phil Marlowe as he's such an interesting guy.

aug 21, 2011, 3:28 pm

I just finished The End of the Night by John MacDonald which is a remarkable work but very dark. I need to return to Ross McDonald and Lew Archer and John MacDonald and Travis McGee who are two other very interesting guys.

Redigerat: okt 9, 2011, 5:32 pm

Quarry's Ex by Max Allan Collins. My first Quarry. Look forward to reading more. "I took a few minutes to watch her go, because that well-shaped behind in a pair of jeans was enough to make me believe in God again. For a few seconds anyway."

Redigerat: nov 15, 2011, 8:09 pm

Just finished reading a biography, The Life of Raymond Chandler by Frank MacShane. Very interesting reading. Just started to read The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich. I've never been disappointed in anything Woolrich has written, so this should be a fun, albeit dark ride.

jan 9, 2012, 6:55 pm

I'm about halfway through No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker, his first novel. A great book so far. I'm really enjoying some great writing.

feb 9, 2012, 1:38 am

Great book. Bunker is a little harder to find. A Beast So Feirce rings very authentic. Bunker was also in Tarntino's Resovoir Dogs.

feb 25, 2012, 9:37 am

I've just been taking recommendations for reading from the group here, and ordering 2nd hand copies. When I went out to find the John D. MacDonald End of the Night, I found really high prices. A mass-market paperback copy was going for nearly $200. The best price, and the only one below $100, was for a French language translation. What's going on with this?

maj 1, 2012, 7:10 am

End of the Night is out of print, somewhat of a lost classic. The prices you are looking at must be for first editions or collectible editions. You have to be able to find a reading copy on Amazon, ABE, or Powell's for much less. I know I picked up my copy for under $10. I don't know why someone doesn't reprint some of the John McDonald titles.

maj 1, 2012, 2:45 pm

Try "Dog eat Dog". Bunker provides the reader with a realism that only a real bank robber can offer.

maj 2, 2012, 10:29 pm

The Crust on its Uppers by Derek Raymond is good fun, particularly when the early 1960s underworld collides with Chelsea's arty bohemian slummers. It's definitely one, though, for lovers of language. The use of dialect in fiction can go so wrong so easily, but Raymond gets it right (and the glossary has definitely been helpful for this North American slag). The unfamiliar language will probably not enchant those, however, who want the facts, ma'am, just the facts.

Redigerat: maj 10, 2012, 10:19 pm

I have not read many of the classic noir authors in a long time so I picked up the compilation "The Best American Noir of the Century" edited by James Ellroy and Otto Penzler. Some new, some old but all great. Felt good to be back in the day when you know.. a real telephone rang or a dame knocked at the door in distress and private eyes kept a bottle of bourbon in their desk. Danger-could add 50 books to your must read list.

Redigerat: maj 10, 2012, 10:23 pm

jjmiller50fiction Time to learn to read French and get a copy of Paris Noir

maj 11, 2012, 2:16 pm

Now and on Earth, by Jim Thompson.

maj 12, 2012, 9:51 am

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura. Recommended.

maj 12, 2012, 12:30 pm

I'm halfway through The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich.

nov 5, 2012, 9:44 pm

I've just finished Hard Stop, fourth entry in the Hamptons noir mystery series featuring Sam Acquillo. I liked it, as I have the others in the series. See why in my thread...post #235.

Redigerat: jan 9, 2013, 1:36 am

Finished Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson by Robert Polito over the weekend. I'll follow up by reading/rereading ten of Thompson's better novels over the next year starting with Nothing More than Murder.

dec 30, 2012, 4:31 pm

I have five more reviews to post before 11:59p on 12/31/12 to make it to my goal of having 700 reviews up on LT before the New Year!

The first one is an old book circle read, The Maltese Falcon, which we read in 1996. The review's in my thread...post #5.

dec 30, 2012, 7:05 pm

I knew this book was going to be good before I ever cracked it on Christmas Day - The Grifters by Jim Thompson. I wasn't disappointed. I also just finished Dust Devils by Roger Smith, also excellent.

apr 29, 2014, 4:35 pm

I've been reading Megan Abbott recently and have really liked Die A Little, and liked The Song is You even more.

jun 15, 2014, 9:38 am

I am reading short novels about Singapore in Singapore noir.

sep 15, 2014, 3:24 pm

I've been reading Tana French and Jo Nesbo and have also been going back through Raymond Chandler's old gems.

Redigerat: jul 13, 2023, 10:41 am

New here. Pocket bio: Retired humanities teacher, residing in Tlaxcala, Mexico, with two dogs and six indoor cats. Passionate about literature, history, philosophy, classical music and opera, jazz, cinema, and similar subjects. Nostalgic guy. Politically centrist. BA in American Studies from Yale; MAs in English and Education from Boston University. Born in northern New Jersey. Have lived and worked in San Francisco, Chicago, northern Nevada, northeast Wisconsin, South Korea.

I suppose this counts as a group revival, since the official listing here is “Dormant”, but only since 2021, so that’s not too long. In any case, as I’m getting involved in LT Groups again, if the group I want exists and doesn’t seem beyond resuscitation, I’m going to go ahead and post in it. I’d rather do that, using an existing shell and membership, than start a new group. And this is a great subject!

Recently finished A Halo for Nobody, the first in Henry Kane’s classic PI series about Peter Chambers. Very entertaining. Chambers is a snarky uber-confident fellow.

jul 13, 2023, 10:14 am

I'm sorry this group went dormant, but there are lots of groups on popular subjects that go dormant from time to time, just waiting for someone to revive them.
I recently read and really recommend The High Window from Chandler.

jul 13, 2023, 10:41 am

Thanks so much for responding! Maybe we can get it going again. This is after all not just a good topic, but a POPULAR topic, and there is so much to talk about.

I need to get back to Chandler, probably first with The Little Sister, which is one I didn’t read back in the day. Same with Hammett and The Dain Curse.

Redigerat: jul 13, 2023, 11:13 am

I read too many books “at once”, but somehow manage to keep them all straight in my head. Here are the hard-boiled / noir (and proximate) novels I have going at the moment:

David Alexander, Terror on Broadway
William Ard, The Diary (this is on the famous Sandoe hard-boiled list)
Josephine Bell, The Port of London Murders (a delightfully gritty syrorise from the late 1930s, akin to Patrick Hamilton)
John Creasey, Gideon’s Day (first in this police procedural series)
Thomas B. Dewey, Hue and Cry (first in Singer Batts series)
Tim Dorsey, Florida Roadkill (Florida Guignol!)
Brett Halliday, The Private Practice of Michael Shayne (second Shayne, I’m reading these in order)
MacKinlay Kantor, Diversey (1920s Chicago novel with hard-boiled / crime elements)
Jack O’Connell, Wireless (second in Quinsigamond series, difficult to classify but certainly dark)
Georges Simenon, Pietr the Latvian (first Maigret)

jul 13, 2023, 11:22 pm

I honestly cannot remember any series of detective novels where the PI gets roughed up so much as the Mike Shayne novels. Concussions, sprains, broken bones, swollen eyes, nothing stops the guy.

Why fictional private detectives don’t work in duos to protect each other’s asses, I’ll never understand. Working solo leads to so many problems, like getting waylaid and beat up. I mean, it’s a wonder that Shayne survived even one book, he was conked on the head so much…

The bibliography of Davis Dresser (1904-1977), the creator of Mike Shayne, is intensely complicated. Like most pulp writers, he wrote under multiple names (including his own), famously as “Brett Halliday” for the Shayne series. But from at least 1958 on, the Shayne novels and stories were ghostwritten by others (prominently but not exclusively Robert Terrall). Figuring out who actually wrote what can take a little work.

jul 17, 2023, 7:37 pm

New York Review of Books recently offered a sale of its “noir and noir-like” books. Although the sale is no longer in effect, I thought some members might get an idea or two from the list:

Basic Black with Pearls
Helen Weinzweig

The Big Clock
Kenneth Fearing

Black Wings Has My Angel
Elliott Chaze

The Case of Comrade Tulayev
Victor Serge

The Day of the Owl
Leonardo Sciascia

Equal Danger
Leonardo Sciascia

The Expendable Man
Dorothy B. Hughes

Jean-Patrick Manchette

Fat City
Leonard Gardner

Hard Rain Falling
Don Carpenter

In a Lonely Place
Dorothy B. Hughes

Ivory Pearl
Jean-Patrick Manchette

A King Alone
Jean Giono

Live; live; live
Jonathan Buckley

The Mad and the Bad
Jean-Patrick Manchette

Jean-Patrick Manchette

The N'Gustro Affair
Jean-Patrick Manchette

Nightmare Alley
William Lindsay Gresham

No Room at the Morgue
Jean-Patrick Manchette

Nothing but the Night
John Williams

Rogue Male
Geoffrey Household

Wolfgang Herrndorf

Short Letter, Long Farewell
Peter Handke

Amit Chaudhuri

To Each His Own
Leonardo Sciascia

jul 25, 2023, 1:31 pm

Just noticed that the crime / noir novelist Russell H. Greenan passed away on July 22 at the age of 97. He is something of a cult writer, especially for his first novel, It Happened in Boston? (1968). He published about a dozen novels altogether, including a couple that appeared initially in French translation. He has been on my to-read list forever, so I just ordered a copy of It Happened in Boston?

jul 28, 2023, 1:31 pm

I recently read The Deep Blue Good-By, my first Travis McGee. Recommended, it's pulpy and fun. Interesting that McGee starts out trying to convince the reader that he's lazy, then proves to be anything but.

jul 28, 2023, 2:34 pm

>32 mstrust: I read this recently too, deciding to start over at the beginning (I had read The Dreadful Lemon Sky many years ago). Jolly good fun. I like Florida AND nautical-flavored crime novels, so the series is a great fit for me.

jul 29, 2023, 11:44 am

This was a crime fiction morning at Chez Murtha. I read in the second of Jack O’Connell’s Quinsigamond Quintet, Wireless. These novels, set in a somewhat warped fictional version of Worcester, Massachusetts, are difficult to describe, but have a noir / borderline horror atmosphere and abound in eccentric characters. Although each volume is technically freestanding, I would start with the first, Box Nine.

As you can tell by looking by his reviews, O’Connell is a love him or hate him kind of author. He hasn’t published in a while, but I hear through the grapevine that he might get back to it, and I hope he does. I sent him word through a mutual acquaintance that he has still has plenty of fans out here.

Then I continued with some chapters in Simenon’s Pietr the Latvian, having decided to start the Maigrets at the beginning. (I had previously read one of the romans durs, Dirty Snow.) Great stuff, of course.

Redigerat: aug 4, 2023, 9:52 am

Ben Benson (1913-1959) was a police procedural writer of the 1950s who died young but not before completing 19 volumes. (He had spent THREE YEARS in the hospital as the result of a World War II injury, and apparently began his writing as a therapeutic activity.)

I have read Beware the Pale Horse in Benson’s Wade Paris series (Massachusetts State Police Inspector), and enjoyed it very much. He also has another series about a Massachusetts State Trooper, Ralph Lindsey.

Crime fiction aficionados and bloggers have done excellent work on researching semi-forgotten writers such as Benson. I often obtain and read books like his because of a blog post that alerts me to or reminds me of a writer.

Redigerat: aug 4, 2023, 10:04 am

Stewart Sterling (1895-1976) was “The King of the Specialty Detectives”! - hotel detective, department store detective, fire marshal, harbor policeman. I like this kind of thing (I recently finished the Scottish writer Hugh Munro’s Who Told Clutha, about a shipyard detective). I very much enjoyed Sterling’s Alibi Baby in the Gil Vine hotel detective series, and have got two more titles on my iPad, The Body in the Bed (another Gil Vine) and Where There's Smoke (Fire Marshal Pedley, natch).

More info here:


dec 31, 2023, 5:51 pm

Just finished all the Parker Spenser novels. I love the minimalism. Started Block's Scudder series but aborted (this is like the third time I've aborted Block, not exactly sure why). Now I'm going to read all the Bruen Jack Taylor books.

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