I've just come to the realization that I love hard-boiled detective stories with noirish undertones. The epiphany seems odd b'c for a long time I've always held this genre with a bit of derision. Perhaps it's the formula and the clearly defined archetypes that were to blame.
But now, I think that's the precise source of my affections. Men smoking and drinking their way into early graves and sexually frustrated billionaire wives-turned-clients whose red lips and curves are illuminated in shafts of street light shining in through a set of grimy venetian blinds. Ahhhh, to die for! And I'm not being ironic. And I'm not cultivating kitsch.
In college I took a class called "Masterpieces of Literature". The title seemed a bit overwrought but there were a few diamonds in the rough. You can have the Bard, I'll take Walter Mosley and Raymond Chandler any day. The stories are a perfect blend of mystery, crime, sex, violence, betrayal and moral ambiguity. I love crooked cops and killers with a heart of gold and a woman in pumps carrying a concealed pearl-handle pistol in her clutch. Leave your post-modern feminist critiques and ivory tower conceptions of quality at the door.
Related: Dubbs and I saw "Brick" about a month ago, a movie that transcribes all of the trappings and characters from a hard boiled story and drapes it over some high school-aged protagonists. A genre mash-up that (other than "Oldboy") is the best movie I've seen in tow years. Also, I just picked up the trade paperbacks of "100 Bullets". Each storyline begins with someone given a briefcase with a gun, 100 untraceable bullets, the seeds of revenge and the promise of getting away with murder. Delish.