Noirby Published 17 Apr 2018
San Francisco. Summer, 1947. A dame walks into a saloon . . .
It’s not every afternoon that an enigmatic, comely blonde named Stilton (like the cheese) walks into the scruffy gin joint where Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin tends bar. It’s love at first sight, but before Sammy can make his move, an Air Force general named Remy arrives with some urgent business. ’Cause when you need something done, Sammy is the guy to go to; he’s got the connections on the street.
Meanwhile, a suspicious flying object has been spotted up the Pacific coast in Washington State near Mount Rainer, followed by a mysterious plane crash in a distant patch of desert in New Mexico that goes by the name Roswell. But the real weirdness is happening on the streets of the City by the Bay.
When one of Sammy’s schemes goes south and the Cheese mysteriously vanishes, Sammy is forced to contend with his own dark secrets—and more than a few strange goings on—if he wants to find his girl.
Not much story to go with the jokes. Oh well, they can't all be The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. I liked the afterward. I'm looking forward to his next book.
This book is so funny. I read it within hours. It’s so ridiculous a lot of the times but in the good, entertaining kind of ridiculous (Mrs.Jones comment about her late husband’s manhood🤣). I have not read anything else by Christopher Moore and honestly knew very little about his writing going into the book, but I really liked this book. I actually wasn’t the one who picked this book to read, my little cousin showed me it at Barnes & Noble and I ended up putting it on hold on my library’s digital app. I am so glad I did.
My quick and simple: funny book with some of the most amusing characters!
This book is an awesomely unique and entertaining ride. I was enthralled every second and frequently found myself laughing out loud. Vocalizing while reading is almost always a good thing!
Moore really captures the feel of old hard boiled stories and film noir. And, while he is often over the top and exaggerating some of the noir tropes for humorous effect, it does not feel silly. Instead it feels witty, creative, controversial, and more.
Moore definitely has a feel to his characters, and that is not a bad thing. As all the characters were introduced and went through their development, I kept being reminded of the characters from A Dirty Job and Secondhand Souls. But, again, Moore does such a great job with his characters, I don't mind!
If you are a fan of Moore's other work, hard boiled mystery, comic relief, and/or your characters talking like they are hanging out in a speakeasy, you must check this book out!
Here's the Rorschach test whether you will like this book. Chris Moore begins one of the chapters of Noir thusly: "The fog lay spread across the city like a drowned whore -- damp, cold, smelling of salt and diesel -- a sea-sodden streetwalker who'd just bonked a tugboat..." If you are offended by the quote, then never mind reading the book. On the other hand, if you see the playful tweaking of the noir genre then by all means continue on.
With its fog and alley ways, San Francisco is the perfect place for a noir novel, even if this one has more aspects of "playful noir" than the real thing that Dashiell Hammett might write. The Maltese Falcon, after all, was also set in San Francisco. Moore takes us to San Francisco in 1947, just a few years after the Maltese Falcon movie, and the same year It's A Wonderful Life came out.
You get all of the standard noir features -- semi-innocent guys caught up in weird plots, dames, gats, murders, sketchy bars, waterfronts, all presented faithfully to the time and place, not reinterpreted for the political sensibilities of 2018.. You also get the Chris Moore touches -- oddball customs, sentient animals, strange beings. Sometimes they mix well. Sometimes they feel sort of thrown willy-nilly into the mix.
It's still a fun trip, so come on in, the fog is fine.
“You stinkin’ wallabies are in hot water now.”
Something is happening with me and Christopher Moore. The relationship is getting a little long in the tooth I feel, because his books just don’t do for me what they use to. When I first discovered him, I really enjoyed (and tore through) his novels. Now I read his books, they keep my attention, but they leave me feeling nothing.
“Noir” is a prime example of that. It is on the edge of being a clever, intriguing book. It never gets there. The premise is classic noir style, a “dame” walks into a bar, and for a while, it feels like the style and cadence of the text is like some standard noir fiction. Then it gets off the rails a little, and is noir in title only, which Mr. Moore himself admits in his Afterward.
The weakness of this text is that it tries to do too many things, and as a result does none of them well. Moore just can’t resist throwing in some of his fantastical elements. I wish he would write more books where he does not have to have monsters, aliens, or some other ridiculousness. It is okay, and I enjoy it from time to time, but can he do anything else? There are bunches of plot points introduced, and none of them are resolved with any real seriousness, which detracts greatly. And this is why I could not have told you what “Noir” was about a week after having finished it.
Some strengths of the text…I loved the character The Kid. He and his voice are easily one of the novel’s strongest, and funniest, elements. The point of view when delivered by the protagonist, Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin, is also enjoyable to read. Moore can write some awesome character voices and styles. But the alternative point of view in the novel is from the POV of a snake, who talks and thinks like a human (see my earlier point about stupid things) and has nothing to do with any established major plot points. The writer just could not leave well enough alone.
I read “Noir” quickly, and I am not irritated I read it. I just wish I had waited to purchase it until I saw it in the bargain paperback bin.