Noir City: the best books behind the great noir films
On the eve of the Noir City film festival launch, mystery writers list their favorite noir books.
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"Peckinpah's vision for the book – based on a treatment by Thompson and ultimately written by Walter Hill – isn't compromised. Like many great films from the 1970s, 'The Getaway' is a study in capturing the real world and real grit. The Texas border locations are shot in such great detail as bank robber Doc McCoy tries to escape a heist with the money and his life.Skip to next paragraph
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"This may not be the classic black-and-white you might expect in a noir, but it bleeds with what noir is all about."
• David Corbett, author of four crime novels, including 2010's "Do They Know I'm Running?": "My favorite book turned into a film noir would probably be 'The Talented Mr. Ripley,' by Patricia Highsmith. I enjoyed the movie very much, but the film can't capture what is intrinsic to the book, and what provides its essential frisson: the chilling contrast between Ripley's actions and the inner world that motivates them.
"The reason the book is superior – and why the film could not possibly compete – is that Tom Ripley's inner conception of himself reveals just another layer of fraud. There is something deeper but untouchable, unknowable about him, because it's not just his worldly persona that's self-fabricated. While being articulate and seemingly self-aware, he's in fact utterly and terrifyingly self-deluded.
"The book provides a sense of an impenetrable void at his core, which accounts for his chameleon-like (or parasitic) behavior. He only truly comes to life when assuming the persona of another, without ever fully realizing this about himself. It's far more chilling than the movie."
Randy Dotinga is a regular contributor to the Monitor's book site.