Crime Fiction

Landon Erp's picture
Submitted by Landon Erp on Tue, 2007-03-06 01:23

Ok I know I run the risk of being called on evading the major issues of debate on the site by posting this. Sorry, I don't debate ideas until I have a clear understanding of where I stand on them as a rule. So that's why I've stayed out of many recent threads.

With that disclaimer out of the way I'd like to discuss something I've recently developed a passion for, crime fiction.

Up until recently I fancied myself as a science fiction/fantasy fan, I think mainly due to my super-hero leanings in many of the comics I read. But the more I look at the genres, I see I have much less interest than I once thought. What was really holding my interest was the other anchor segment of the mishmash which is the super-hero genre, Crime Fiction.

Between Frank Miller's Sin City series and the lively discussion on the now defunct Spillane thread, my appetite has really been whetted. So at just about every opportunity I've been seeking out good crime fiction in any form, comics, prose, or film.

I thought I'd throw up a signal to see if there are any others who share this interest and start by listing some of my recent favorites.

My Gun is Quick- Mickey Spillane The Mike Hammer Series.
I bought a collection of the first three Hammer novels and I have to say this one is probably my favorite so far. I like the idea of how a huge chain of events tied to some very powerful people could be started off by something as simple as sharing a coffee with a hooker in an all night diner. This one has a lot of tragedy to it but it has the best Hammer revenge ending of the initial three.

Sin City - "A Dame to Kill" For & "Family Values" by Frank Miller

I listed these two together because out of all the characters in this black and white city full of VERY gray men Dwight McCarthy is probably my favorite and these are his two best stories. A Dame to Kill For is the story of the greatest love of his life coming back for him and how she manages to make him ruin his own life and cross lines he can never come back from, and how this woman pays for it.

Meanwhile Family Values takes place years later and involves the "debt that can never be paid" which allowed him to survive A Dame to Kill For. The story follows all the different types of families in Basin city, the mob, political alliances, the working girls of old town. One of the biggest crime families of the city goes down because a sloppy hit man had to shoot a stray dog.

Beyond that I've seen some great films which in many cases were adaptations of novels. In such cases I'm just a few decent paychecks away from checking out the works of the authors.

The Usual Suspects
A great movie with lots of interesting twists. A few men get picked up for the same crime and that sends them on a course to repay a debt that can only be paid with their lives.

The Maltese Falcon - (based on the Dashell Hammett novel)
Chances are if you're still reading I don't need to explain this entry but I'll try. Private detective Sam Spade gets sucked into a series of events that cost a lot of people their lives when it turns out that a new client may have a line on an artifact that could make anyone who comes into posession of it a very rich man. Throughout the movie Spade seems to sink into corruption as he plays all the players in this game against each other until the shocking climax.

Brick
Kind of a modern adaptation of the works of men like Raymond Chandler and Dashell Hammett with the twist that it takes place around a high school. Lots of great witty dialogue as well as action and suspense.

Well, I put my interests out there. Who's next?

---Landon


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