Book playlist: Noir

Noir: crime fiction featuring hard-boiled, cynical characters and dark settings. This is as perfect a time as any to get completely lost in the highly entertaining genre of 20th century American noir writing. Discover this vivid hard-boiled subset of the mystery genre — dark fiction featuring femme fatales, PI’s, and great murder mysteries. These authors are the best of the best, featuring a hand-picked selection of my favorites written by my favorites. —Vicki

Listen to this playlist to get you in the mood!

Books: 
The Maltese Falcon By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679722649
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - July 17th, 1989

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him? First published in 1930, The Maltese Falcon stands today as one of the classics of both suspense literature and American writing. 


The Thin Man By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679722632
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - July 17th, 1989

Originally published in 1933, The Thin Man is the story of respectable people who are prepared to murder between drinks — and do just that. Nick and Nora Charles are Hammett's most enchanting creations, a rich and glamorous couple who solve homicides in between wisecracks and martinis. At once knowing and unabashedly romantic, The Thin Man is a murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.


Red Harvest By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679722618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - July 17th, 1989

Considered to be one of Hammett's masterpieces, this is one of the most exciting of all suspense novels. When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty—even if that meant taking on an entire town. More than a superb crime novel, it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.


The Dain Curse By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image
$14.95
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ISBN: 9780679722601
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - July 17th, 1989

Everything about the Leggett diamond heist indicated to the Continental Op that it was an inside job. From the stray diamond found in the yard to the eyewitness accounts of a "strange man" casing the house, everything was just too pat. Gabrielle Dain-Leggett has enough secrets to fill a closet, and when she disappears shortly after the robbery, she becomes the Op's prime suspect. But her father, Edgar Leggett, keeps some strange company himself and has a dark side the moon would envy. Before he can solve the riddle of the diamond theft, the Continental Op must first solve the mystery of this strange family.


The Glass Key By Dashiell Hammett Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679722625
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - July 17th, 1989

Paul Madvig was a cheerfully corrupt ward-heeler who aspired to something better: the daughter of Senator Ralph Bancroft Henry, the heiress to a dynasty of political purebreds. Did he want her badly enough to commit murder? And if Madvig was innocent, which of his dozens of enemies was doing an awfully good job of framing him? Dashiell Hammett's tour de force of detective fiction combines an airtight plot, authentically venal characters, and writing of telegraphic crispness.


The Postman Always Rings Twice By James M. Cain Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780679723257
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - May 14th, 1989

Cain's first novel - the subject of an obscenity trial in Boston and the inspiration for Camus's The Stranger - is the fever-pitched tale of a drifter who stumbles into a job, into an erotic obsession, and into a murder.


Mildred Pierce By James M. Cain Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679723219
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard - May 14th, 1989

Noir master James M. Cain creates a novel of acute social observation and devasting emotional violence, with a heroine whose ambitions and sufferings are never less than recognizable. Mildred Pierce had gorgeous legs, a way with a skillet, and a bone-deep core of toughness. She used those attributes to survive a divorce and poverty and to claw her way out of the lower middle class. But Mildred also had two weaknesses: a yen for shiftless men, and an unreasoning devotion to a monstrous daughter.


L.A. Confidential By James Ellroy Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780446674249
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 1st, 1997

Christmas 1951, Los Angeles: a city where the police are as corrupt as the criminals. Six prisoners are beaten senseless in their cells by cops crazed on alcohol. For the three LAPD detectives involved, it will expose the guilty secrets on which they have built their corrupt and violent careers. The novel takes these cops on a sprawling epic of brutal violence and the murderous seedy side of Hollywood. One of the best crime novels ever written, it is the heart of Ellroy's four-novel masterpiece, the LA Quartet, and an example of crime writing at its most powerful.


The Black Dahlia By James Ellroy Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780446698870
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Mysterious Press - August 16th, 2006

On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia—and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history. Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia—driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches—into a region of total madness.