It was USA Today bestselling novelist, Jamie Livingston Dierks, who first described my Victor McCain series as paranormal crime noir. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. While I had seen the movies the Maltese Falcon and the Big Sleep, I’d not read any crime noir novels. Then I picked up a copy of I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane and featuring his noir hero Mike Hammer, and I understood. Many of the elements of crime noir are found in my books. And in case you’ve ever wondered, here are some of the characteristics that make a novel a crime noir novel:
- A bleak and cynical tone: Crime noir novels often have a dark and pessimistic tone, with a focus on the harsh realities of life and the flawed nature of human beings.
- A complex plot: Crime noir novels tend to have intricate, multi-layered plots that involve a web of characters and events that slowly unravel over the course of the story.
- A focus on the psychology of the characters: Crime noir novels often delve deep into the minds of the characters, exploring their motivations, fears, and desires.
- Morally ambiguous characters: Crime noir novels often feature protagonists who are not entirely good or bad, but rather somewhere in between. These characters are often flawed and complex, with a tendency towards moral ambiguity.
- Dark settings: Crime noir novels are often set in gritty, urban environments, such as rundown neighborhoods or seedy bars.
- Symbolic imagery: Crime noir novels often make use of symbolic imagery, such as rain or shadows, to create a mood of tension and foreboding. No one did it better than Raymond Chandler.
- A sense of fatalism: Crime noir novels often convey a sense of fatalism, with the characters feeling as though they are trapped in a web of circumstances that they cannot escape.
And this is how you find the world of Victor McCain, as well as that of Samantha Tyler in the Samantha Tyler series. Pull your hat down lower, lean into the rain, and step down the dark alley.