s.m.harding crime fiction

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The Hardboiled End

Posted by [email protected] on September 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

The genesis of the hardboiled crime novel can be traced to the United States. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, James Cain, Ross McDonald, and Mickey Spillane are all acknowledged authors of the harboiled detective novel. Arising from earlier pulp publications, the protagonist was most often a tough and cynical PI who is a loner, violence was played out on the page, and the action occurred in large cities. The word most often applied to hardboiled crime fiction is "gritty."

The category "noir" is often associated with current hardboiled fiction -- and that's accurate. However, the sub-genre "noir" is a category in itself. The protagonist of a noir novel could be a PI, but also a cop or a serial killer. Sometimes, the protagonist is the victim who escapes death. In the place where these two sub-genres meet, there is a lot of violence, often explicitly portrayed on the page. Think torture, rape, etc. When these two sub-genres cross-polinate with the horror genre, look for a lot of blood.

Next time, we'll look at the cozy end -- or questions.

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