1. Of or relating to the film noir genre.
2. Of or relating to a genre of crime literature featuring tough, cynical characters and bleak settings.
3. Suggestive of danger or violence.
I have loved the genre of noir since I was a kid. My first encounter with it was when my Greek-born grandma, who couldn't speak English but was helping my dad to raise me and my two brothers, woke me on a school night and asked me to translate an episode of Robert Taylor's The Detectives for her.
I fell in love with Robert Taylor then and there. Not one single member of my family has ever let me live it down that I kissed the TV set whenever I saw him. But who wouldn't fall in love with a character like Matt Holbrook? I mean, look at him!
Growing up in Australia, I was fascinated by all things Hollywood. One of the detectives in the series had been harvested from the Bunco Squad, a term that tickles me to this day.
As Australia caught up with the US and we started to get American shows in a more timely fashion, I found myself longing to kiss the TV whenever episodes of Mike Hammer went to air. The notion of a hardboiled private eye who drank too much, smoked too much, routinely consorted with the wrong men, the wrong women, got beaten up and ripped off as he tackled cases on the seamier side of the tracks ignited ideas in my mind that wouldn't go away.
When Amber Allure author Christiane France suggested a Noir PAX anthology, the race was on to snap up the chance to be one of the five contributing pieces to it. I knew the story I wanted to tell. I knew the city I wanted to set it in. I wanted to write a contemporary mystery about a gritty, down-on-his-luck Los Angeles private eye, Matt Killian. Matt's first name is in honor of Robert Taylor's The Detectives. Killian is in honor of my friend Adam Killian, director, producer, gay porn icon etc. Adam even has a cameo in the story.
Love For Sale is set in the often secretive world of gay porn. My hero investigates the case of a missing gay porn director and ends up having to masquerade as a go-go dancer at a leather ball. Embarrassed at first, he's dazzled by the amazing tips he receives, not to mention the hot leads…
Noir is a concept writers have adored for decades. Even the kids' movie Home Alone tips its fedora to the genre. Little Macaulay Culkin is influenced by Angels With Filthy Faces a 1950's spoof of Angels With Dirty faces. Spoof or not, he uses dialogue to scare off some determined burglars who become worried about fearsome criminally-inclined pizza delivery apparently stepping on their turf.
"Snakes? Who the hell is Snakes?" Joe Pesci muses.
Macaulay even uses a scene from the movie to scare off the poor pizza delivery guy who's just trying to make a buck bringing pepperoni to his backdoor on Christmas Eve.
To this day I find myself smiling at this memory and wanting to quote its best line, "Keep the change ya filthy animal."
Ah, noir, I love you. Thank you for countless hours of fiction, high drama and fantasy.
How about you? What's your favorite noir character/book/movie?
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Available from Amber Allure.
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