I'm a crime writer, so no surprise I love, really love, reading crime. It's a genre with several sub-genres, but my passion is the hard-boiled and noir style. Purists may well say that hard-boiled and noir are not the same thing, but in my view there is a significant overlap. Pretty well all the good hard-boiled I have read also has elements of noir, sometimes a very great deal of it.
It is also not surprising, therefore, that my Harry's World is similarly hard-boiled and noir.
There are so many great writers to choose from, but I settled on doing my top 10 list, and here they are. It did mean some tough decisions, but here's my gang of ten, with some gratuitous comments from yours truly. There is no real order here - I am starting the list with the 2 real classics for me, and the 2 who have most influenced my crime writing style so far.
1. Raymond Chandler - I've read them all and he is the master of the form.
2. Ross Macdonald - more prolific than Chandler, whom he followed, and I've read a lot. He gets more psychological with human nature - love it!
3. Ken Bruen - I discovered him about 18 months ago, and have read several. A very distinct Irish twist, and very noir.
4. Derek Raymond - known as the father of British noir, and excellent. And did I mention noir? In buckets.
5. Peter Corris - the godfather of Australian crime writing, and beautifully hard-boiled.
6. Christa Faust - another recent discovery, from the US, and fantastic to have a female author excelling in the hard-boiled and noir zone. And she does a seriously kick-arse female protagonist. Have read 2 now.
7. Laurent Guillaume - a French member joins the gang. Only 1 available in English translation so far, but excellent. And a hard-boiled PI in Mali - fascinating.
8. Jim Thompson - an American classic for noir predominantly, but leaves a very lasting impression.
9. Gordon DeMarco - this US left-wing crime writer didn't produce many books before his untimely death, but they are a great hard-boiled read, with politics thrown in.
10. Georges Simenon - not so much hard-boiled, but noir certainly evident. I have loved Simenon since I was a kid - in fact my first crime reads, and I still dabble these days.
So there it is! 5 American, 1 Australian, 1 Irish, 1 British, 1 French, and 1 Belgian. The genre certainly has broad appeal.
And I can strongly recommend them all.