I knocked out two quickie noir tales yesterday, both about sad sacks trying to get through life. One I liked way more than the other.
The Alcoholics Jim Thompson
The Year of Jim Thompson continues with one of his more forgettable works. The New York Review of Books described it as “satire with a bludgeon” and I suppose that’s true because I felt bludgeoned by this one. If you like your satire this heavy handed, this one may work. But it didn’t for me. No plot, all caricatures, humor didn’t work for me. I was five pages in and couldn’t wait to be done. The only reason I plowed through is because it’s the year I’m finishing Thompson’s catalogue. Thompson is a great writer but his unfocused works aren’t just bad by his standards, they’re bad period. This one’s only for completists.
Miami Purity Vicki Hendricks
Again, don’t buy into narratives that the female-driven noir thriller is somehow a recent novelty. It’s not a comeback. Vicki Hendricks carries on a proud tradition with this James-Cain-by-90s-Miami erotically charged sizzler. Kept me hooked til the very end and hit all the right noir notes. I was both annoyed by and sympathized with the lead, who thought she found the answers to all of her problems only to have her (and the reader’s heart) broken. The prose definitely reads like it’s the author’s first book but she is able to weave the story well. I’ll definitely need to check out more of Vicki Hendricks’ stuff.