Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Report #25 of 26 - L.A. Noire

Various Authors

Because this is a project tied in to a video game some explanation is needed.  L.A. Noire the game, is the newest title by Rock Star.  The game and the stories from the collection are set in post WWII Los Angeles, 1946 - 1947.  Think of all those Fedoras and that Detroit steel when Hollywood was as corrupt as any mafia family.

The collection has eight stories from the biggest names in crime fiction today.  Every story is set in the same time period as the game, some use characters right out of the game others just use the environment to inspire the narrative.

Each story has it's own art work to support it and I'll share them here.

STORY ONE: The Girl by Megan Abbott.

This was a drug addled story of a nearly out of control Hollywood party.  While reading I was screaming at June to just to the right thing.  There is loads of illicit behaviour going on that is only hinted at in the story which I found to be very effective, I can imagine quite a bit.  Abbott can write raunchy like no one else.

STORY TWO: See The Woman by Lawrence Block

One of my favorite authors Block is not stranger to the intimate crime story.  It's about two LAPD cops who have to deal with a recurring domestic disturbance.  It's tragic in the original problem and in the solution to it.  Dark, dark, dark.  Fantastic.

STORY THREE: Naked Angel by Joe R. Lansdale

This was a nice straight-ahead police detection story.  It relied a bit too much on the cop's hunches but in the end they all made sense.

I'd read more from Lansdale.

STORY FOUR: Black Dahlia & White Rose by Joyce Carol Oats

This was a well thought out retelling of the Black Dahlia murder of 1947.  (Just imagine a world without Marilyn Monroe!)

STORY FIVE: School for Murder by Francine Prose

A veteran from the war is having trouble finding his motivation in the production of a new movie.  The director helps him out by sending him to acting class.  All the clues are there.

Loved this one.

STORY SIX: What's In a Name by Jonathan Santlofer

Oh, ick.  A mentally deranged sociopath serial killer story.  I hate stories about insane people - they make no sense, I can't understand them and they usually do terrible things to people or their bodies.  Yuck.

Obviously it was well written because I got the above reaction.  But this is a side of crime fiction that I usually try to avoid.

STORY SEVEN: Hell of an Affair by Duane Swierczynski

My favorite author!  Swierczynski can twist a story like no other.  This is a straight-up story about a straight-up working Joe who meets a stunning woman and the start a whirlwind affair.  Even though he knows he should question her motivation he just goes along with it all.

The story does not end like you'd expect, believe me, just when he's getting a grip on the situation ...

STORY EIGHT: Postwar Boom by Andrew Vachss

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