Onlinedegree.net's blog often has posts about crime fiction. I've posted their lists before, and I must say I agree with their list of 20 Essential Works of Noir Fiction. It's not definitive, but then by the nature of choosing 20 it wouldn't be.
I always welcome comments on the books and titles you'd add. Be sure and go directly to their Blog to see the comments as to why these books are on the list. If you haven't read much in the world of noir crime fiction, you'll want to read the books on this list!
Noir is its own thing. It isn't just about crime and punishment, or love and revenge, though all those are a part of the best noir stories. Real noir is a dark blend of murder and despair, of characters trying briefly to do good before giving into the easier and seedier way of life. Great noir fiction has a way of telling relatable stories through over-the-top means, and though they don't often land on the required reading lists for college lit classes, that doesn't make them less entertaining or worthwhile. Consider this list a primer for the world of noir. Some authors are repeated because, well, they're just that good.
1. The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
2. Night Has a Thousand Eyes, Cornell Woolrich
3. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
4. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain:
5. Double Indemnity, James M. Cain
6. Dirty Snow, Georges Simenon.
7. Shoot the Piano Player, David Goodis
8. Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
9. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins
10. Night and the City, Gerald Kersh:
11. L.A. Confidential, James Ellroy
12. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Michael Ledwidge
13. Matchstick Men, Eric Garcia
14. Payback, Russell James
15. Shoedog, George Pelecanos
16. He Died With His Eyes Open, Derek Raymond
17. The Glass Key, Dashiell Hammett
18. The Bride Wore Black, Cornell Woolrich
19. The Getaway, Jim Thompson
20. The Hunter, Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
Read comments about each of these books, here.
What titles would you add?
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