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.
I’ll start by saying I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.
That being said, the first half didn’t have the feel of a Christopher Moore novel. Fans will know what I mean. It was good, but not Lamb, good.
Now halfway through something happens. Something delicious and crazy and perfectly Squirrel People. And from that point on, it is most definitely a Christopher Moore book.
The man has yet to fail me. And Lamb still holds top spot for best book of all time.
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!
Noir is a satire / humorous take of the more serious noir genre with a twist. In it, the reader is taken down a dark alley laughing all the way as our faithful protagonist Sammy ‘Two Toes’ Tiffin goes from bartender with puppy love to entrepreneur to crime fighting extraordinaire.
From sketchy business ideas involving snake urine, to dog pizza (pizza made for dogs, not dogs as an ingredient), author Christopher Moore light-heartily jumps to plot elements encompassing rich fat cats out for a good time while in the process kidnapping a few dames in distress, only to then leap towards an alien angle with a misunderstood moon-man.
All this action taking place around the omnipresent ‘Cheese’, a to-die-for blonde named Stilton who happens to be the object of Sammy’s eye.
My rating: 4/5 stars. I couldn’t wipe the goofy smile off my face while listening to this audiobook.
Down these mean streets a man must go. Or to be more accurate in the case of Sammy ‘Two Toes’ Tiffin – down these mean streets a man must limp.
It’s 1947 in San Francisco where Sammy is a good guy with some skeletons in his closet who works as a bartender which is how he meets a beautiful blonde named Stilton, a/k/a the Cheese. As far as Sammy is concerned the Cheese stands alone, and he falls for her instantly. Unfortunately, his attempts at romance are hindered by his sleazy boss insisting that he procure some women for an Air Force general who wants to take them into the woods to provide entertainment for an elite club made up of influential men. Sammy is also working on get-rich-quick scheme that involves selling a deadly snake, there’s a racist cop causing trouble, and the news has reports about a strange incident in Roswell, New Mexico.
Since this was Christopher Moore writing a book called Noir I wasn’t expecting it to be James Cain or Jim Thompson. However, I was kind of hoping that he might stretch himself a little and be a bit less Christopher Moore. That's why I ultimately found this kind of disappointing because he gives it a try at first, but quickly throws it out the window to just write what he always does.
That’s the shame of it because the first couple of chapters do come across as Moore actually satirizing a noir novel with overblown pulpy language and a bunch of really solid jokes based on the concept. If he’d have stuck with that and resisted the urge to just do his usual thing of introducing the weird and/or supernatural he might have really had something. But then we get to the stuff about the aliens, and while it’s still got some laughs, it’s also a formula that Moore has done in pretty much every book.
I also found the shifting POV to be problematic. We start off with Sammy in the first person which lets him do the parody of the classic hard boiled crime novel which I wanted more of. But then Moore shifts to a third person narration which we later find out is coming from a very unlikely source. So the book starts off with this distinct voice which I was into, but when it shifts into something else which is when it becomes standard Moore. Then he tries to go back to first person Sammy telling the story, but he’d lost the tone of what he started with. Which was what I liked best and wanted more of.
It’s not a complete waste of time. Moore is just inherently funny and there are a lot of solid gags and lines that made me chuckle. But I wish he’d managed to actually write a noir parody instead of just doing the thing that comes easiest to him. If he wanted to write something in this time period and have aliens in it then why not do a pulpy '50s sci-fi kind of thing rather than claiming in the title that it's going to be a genre that it has almost nothing to do with?
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!