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Novel Noir / American Noir / Hard-boiled Novels / Nordic Noir

The following book reviews are all linked to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate I will earn from qualifying purchases.


B.P. Walter
The Dinner Guest
2022
Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave. Matthew, the perfect husband; Titus, the perfect son; Charlie, the perfect illusion; Rachel, the perfect stranger. Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand. A nerve-shredding domestic noir thriller. More ...
416 Pages
4/5
50
Barbara Baraldi
The Girl with the Crystal Eyes
2010 (First published: 2008)
A seductive serial killer is stalking the streets of Bologna. A cop determined to unravel an enigmatic trail of bloody butchery. A young medium fleeing her past, troubled dreams of murder. A perverse game of life and death unfolds between the hunter and the hunted, where the female of the species proves as daringly evil as Hannibal Lecter, giving 'Femme Fatale' a whole new meaning. More ...
268 Pages
5/5
43
Brian Evenson
Last Days
2016 (First published: 2016)
When Kline is kidnapped by a dark sect that believes amputation brings you closer to God, he's tasked with uncovering who murdered their leader. Will he uncover the truth in time to save himself, take on the mantle of prophet, or destroy all he sees with a rain of biblical violence? But the puzzles grow more craggy and complex.
200 Pages
4/5
31
Dashiell Hammett
The Maltese Falcon
1989 (First published: 1930)
Archetypal tough guy, detective Sam Spade, risks his reputation by trying to help a beautiful young lady. As his partner gets killed Spade is suspected for murder. The story is a complex web of betrayal and deception, in which everyone tries to get the gold statuette of a falcon. Sam's masculine strength is refreshing in today's world of male insecurity. Also an excellent movie with Humphrey Bogart - but the book is better. More ...
217 Pages
5/5
84
Dennis Lehane
Mystic River
2021 (First published: 2001)
When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner store. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together. When Jimmy’s daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case.
496 Pages
5/5
33
Dennis Lehane
Gone, Baby, Gone
Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro Series - Book 4
2010 (First published: 1998)
The tough neighborhood of Dorchester is no place for the innocent or the weak. Its territory is defined by hard heads and even harder luck; its streets are littered with the detritus of broken families, hearts, dreams. Now, one of its youngest is missing. Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro don't want the case. But after pleas from the child's aunt, they open an investigation.
560 Pages
5/5
29
Elmore Leonard
Swag
Frank Ryan Novels - Book 1
2012 (First published: 1976)
The smallest of small-time criminals, Ernest Stickley Jr. figures his luck's about to change when Detroit used-car salesman Frank Ryan catches him trying to boost a ride from Ryan's lot. Frank's got some surefire schemes for getting rich quick—all of them involving guns—and all Stickley has to do is follow "Ryan's Rules" to share the wealth. But sometimes rules need to be bent, maybe even broken.  More ...
256 Pages
4/5
44
Elmore Leonard
Stick
Frank Ryan Novels - Book 2
2012 (First published: 1983)
After serving time for armed robbery, Ernest "Stick" Stickley is back on the outside and trying to stay legit. But it's tough staying straight in a crooked town -- and Miami is a pirate's paradise, where investment fat cats and lowlife drug dealers hold hands and dance. And when a crazed player chooses Stick at random to die for another man's sins, the struggling ex-con is left with no choice but to dive right back into the game.  More ...
400 Pages
3/5
47
Georges Simenon
Dirty Snow 
2003 (First published: 1950)
Set in occupied France during WWII, Simenon's bleak masterpiece is a dispassionate description of human cruelty. No other writer has achieved the psychological intensity of Simenon. “What many regard as the finest of all noir novels…"--Tim Rutten, The Los Angeles Times   More ...
272 Pages
3/5
80
Henning Mankell
Faceless Killers
Kurt Wallander Series - Book 1
2003 (First published: 1991)
An old man has been bludgeoned to death, and his tortured wife lies dying before the farmer’s eyes. The only clue is the single word she utters before she dies: “foreign.” Inspector Kurt Wallander, a local detective whose personal life is in a shambles, is in charge of the investigation. His family is falling apart, he’s gaining weight, and he drinks too much. He also must deal with a wave of xenophobia as he searches for the killers. More ...
279 Pages
4/5
41
Henning Mankell
The Dogs of Riga
Kurt Wallander Series - Book 2
2004 (First published: 1992)
On the Swedish coastline, two bodies, victims of grisly torture and cold execution, are discovered in a life raft. With no witnesses, no motives, and no crime scene, Detective Kurt Wallander is frustrated and uncertain he has the ability to solve a case as mysterious as it is heinous. - Best nordic noir! More ...
336 Pages
4/5
44
Henning Mankell
The White Lioness
Kurt Wallander Series - Book 3
2003 (First published: 1993)
The execution-style murder of a Swedish housewife looks like a simple case even though there is no obvious suspect. But then Wallander finds a determined stalker, and soon enough, the cops catch up with him. But when his alibi turns out to be airtight, they realize that what seemed a simple crime of passion is actually far more complex—and dangerous. More ...
448 Pages
4/5
43
Ian Rankin
Knots and Crosses
Inspector Rebus Novels - Book 1
2008 (First published: 1987)
Edinburgh has been shocked by the strangling of two young girls. Journalist Jim Stevens runs his own investigation, and has uncovered Michael Rebus's drug dealing. He suspects that his brother John, a Lothian and Borders Police officer, knows or even supports his brother's illegal activities. Meanwhile, John Rebus is assigned to the investigative team, but without success, and two more girls disappear. More ...
272 Pages
3/5
44
Ian Rankin
Black and Blue
Inspector Rebus Novels - Book 8
2016 (First published: 1997)
Detective Inspector John Rebus is working on four cases at once trying to catch a killer he suspects of being the infamous Bible John. He has to do it while under an internal inquiry led by a man he has accused of taking bribes from Glasgow's "Mr Big". TV journalists are meanwhile investigating Rebus over a miscarriage of justice. Rebus travels between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen and then on to Shetland and the North Sea. More ...
352 Pages
5/5
70
Ian Rankin
Resurrection Men
Inspector Rebus Novels - Book 13
2008 (First published: 2002)
Rebus is off the case - literally. A few days into the murder inquiry of an Edinburgh art dealer, Rebus blows up at a colleague. He is sent to the Scottish Police College for 'retraining' - in other words, he's in the Last Chance Saloon. Rebus is assigned to an old, unsolved case, but there are those in his team who have their own secrets - and they'll stop at nothing to protect them. More ...
512 Pages
5/5
66
Ian Rankin
Exit Music
Inspector Rebus Novels - Book 17
2010 (First published: 2007)
It's late fall in Edinburgh and late in the career of Detective Inspector John Rebus. As he is simply trying to tie up some loose ends before his retirement, a new case lands on his desk: a dissident Russian poet has been murdered. Rebus discovers that an elite delegation of Russian businessmen is in town, looking to expand its interests. As Rebus's investigation gains ground, someone brutally assaults a local gangster. More ...
448 Pages
5/5
46
Ian Rankin
A Heart Full of Headstones
Inspector Rebus Novels - Book 24
2022 (First published: 2022)
John Rebus stands accused: on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. But what drove a good man to cross the line? Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke may well find out. Clarke is tasked with the city’s most explosive case in years, an infamous cop, at the center of decades of misconduct, has gone missing. Finding him will expose not only her superiors. More ...
352 Pages
5/5
124
James M. Cain
The Postman Always Rings Twice
1989 (First published: 1934)
Cain started a new genre: American noir fiction. It may be full of despair, sweltering greed, dark violence and raw sex, but the no-nonsense description of humanity heading towards destruction is impossible to resist. In his laconic style Cain tells the story of Frank, a tramp, who his attracted to Cora, the young wife of brutally violent Nick. When Frank and Cora start an affair behind her older man's back, the story is heading for disaster. More ...
116 Pages
5/5
81
Jim Tompson
The Killer Inside Me
2014 (First published: 1952)
Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas loves Lou Ford, the deputy sheriff. He may not be the brightest or the most interesting man in town, but nevertheless, he's the kind of officer you're happy to have keeping your streets safe. But behind the platitudes and glad-handing lurks a monster.Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick praised the novel, stating that it was "probably the most chilling and believable first-person story of a criminally warped mind I have ever encountered." More ...
256 Pages
5/5
45
L.T. Ryan / Brian Shea
Drift
Rachel Hatch - Book 1
2021 (First published: 2019)
Ex-Army criminal investigator Rachel Hatch is a drifter. No home. No commitments. Until her sister's drowning drags her back to the town she left fifteen years ago. Convinced her sister's death was no accident, Hatch partners with the local sheriff, Dalton Savage to uncover the truth. Every answer unlocks another question, and as the investigation begins to unravel, Hatch and Savage find their lives on the line.
292 Pages
3/5
39
L.T. Ryan / Brian Shea
Downburst
Rachel Hatch - Book 2
2021 (First published: 2020)
The quaint town of Luna Vista, turns out to be anything but. A ruthless gang runs a section of the town. In searching for the truth about her father's past, Rachel Hatch is pitted against a criminal network that exposes the town's dark secret. Hatch puts her life on the line to help a boy escape the clutches of the gang. Her act puts her in peril. She finds herself in a battle as treacherous as any she's faced before, against an enemy hellbent on stopping her.
308 Pages
3/5
36
Laura Lippman
Sunburn
2018
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays. A pair of lovers. With the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals - and cold-blooded murder.  More ...
320 Pages
4/5
40
Lisa Gardner
Before She Disappeared
Frankie Elkin Novel - Book 1
2021 (First published: 2021)
Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will--searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. More ...
400 Pages
3/5
41
Lisa Gardner
One Step Too Far
Frankie Elkin Novel - Book 2
2022 (First published: 2022)
Timothy O’Day knew the woods. Yet when he disappeared on the first night of a bachelor party camping trip with his best friends, he didn’t leave a trace. What he did leave behind were two heartbroken parents, a crew of guilt-ridden groomsmen, and a pile of clues that don’t add up. Frankie Elkin doesn’t know the woods, but she knows how to find people. So she heads to Wyoming. More ...
416 Pages
5/5
112
Michael Allen Rose
Embry: Hard Boiled
2017
Our hero wakes up one day to find that some upstanding citizens have been scrambled. The king, his horses and his men are now after our hero for a crime he didn’t commit and proving his innocence is going to be nearly impossible - particularly if you are a chicken. A darkly comic novel noir. More ...
178 Pages
3/5
74
Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep
Philip Marlowe - Book 1
1988 (First published: 1939)
A dying millionaire hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, and Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in. Marlowe - a no-nonsense private investigator. More ...
231 Pages
5/5
57
Raymond Chandler
Farewell, My Lovely
Philip Marlowe - Book 2
1992 (First published: 1940)
Philip Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard. More ...
292 Pages
3/5
57
Raymond Chandler
The High Window
Philip Marlowe - Book 3
1988 (First published: 1942)
A wealthy Pasadena widow with a mean streak, a missing daughter-in-law with a past, and a gold coin worth a small fortune—the elements don't quite add up until Marlowe discovers evidence of murder, rape, blackmail, and the worst kind of human exploitation. More ...
272 Pages
3/5
63
Raymond Chandler
The Lady in the Lake
Philip Marlowe - Book 4
1988 (First published: 1943)
Two missing wives - one a rich man's and one a poor man's - have become the objects of Philip Marlowe's investigation. One of them may have gotten a Mexican divorce and married a gigolo and the other may be dead. Marlowe's not sure he cares about either one, but he's not paid to care. More ...
272 Pages
3/5
92
Raymond Chandler
The Little Sister
Philip Marlowe - Book 5
1988 (First published: 1949)
Her name is Orfamay Quest and she's come all the way from Manhattan, Kansas, to find her missing brother Orrin. Or leastways that's what she tells PI Philip Marlowe, offering him a measly twenty bucks for the privilege. But Marlowe's feeling charitable - though it's not long before he wishes he wasn't so sweet. More ...
250 Pages
3/5
128
Raymond Chandler
The Long Good-bye
Philip Marlowe - Book 6
1988 (First published: 1953)
Marlowe befriends a down on his luck war veteran with the scars to prove it. Then he finds out that Terry Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, whom he divorced and remarried and who ends up dead. And now Lennox is on the lam and the cops and a crazy gangster are after Marlowe. More ...
379 Pages
3/5
60
Raymond Chandler
Playback
Philip Marlowe - Book 7
1988 (First published: 1958)
Marlowe is hired by an influential lawyer he's never heard of to tail a gorgeous redhead, but then decides he'd rather help out the redhead. She's been acquitted of her alcoholic husband's murder, but her father-in-law prefers not to take the court's word for it. More ...
176 Pages
3/5
107
Ross Macdonald
The Drowning Pool
Lew Archer Series - Book 2
1996 (First published: 1950)
The Drowning Pool opens in classic hard-boiled fashion, with a well-dressed woman hesitantly engaging Archer's services at his L.A. office. Soon he's digging up secrets in her oil-rich hometown: tormented families, buried secrets that fester through multiple generations, environmental destruction, concealed paternity, and the brutal contrast between rich and poor.
256 Pages
5/5
34
Seishi Yokomizo
The Honjin Murders
Detective Kindaichi Series - Book 1
2020 (First published: 1946)
In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family.Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. More ...
192 Pages
4/5
93
Seishi Yokomizo
Death on Gokumon Island
Detective Kindaichi Series - Book 2
2020 (First published: 1948)
Detective Kosuke Kindaichi arrives on the remote Gokumon Island bearing tragic news—his friend and fellow soldier, the son of one of the island's most important families has died, on a troop transport ship bringing him back home after the Second World War. With his last words, the dying man warned that his three step-sisters' lives would now be in danger. More ...
320 Pages
5/5
65
Seishi Yokomizo
The Village of Eight Graves
Detective Kindaichi Series - Book 3
2020 (First published: 1951)
Nestled in mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village. Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. More ...
352 Pages
4/5
118
Seishi Yokomizo
The Inugami Curse
Detective Kindaichi Series - Book 4
2020 (First published: 1951)
In 1940s Japan, the wealthy head of the Inugami clan dies, and his family eagerly await the reading of the will. But no sooner are its strange details revealed than a series of bizarre, gruesome murders begins. Detective Kindaichi must unravel the clan's terrible secrets of forbidden liaisons, monstrous cruelty, and hidden identities to find the murderer. More ...
320 Pages
5/5
64
Stuart MacBride
Birthdays for the Dead
Ash Henderson - Book 1
2013
His daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her thirteenth birthday. A year later the first card arrived: with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. But Detective Constable Ash Henderson hasn’t told anyone – they all think she ran away – because if anyone finds out, he’ll be taken off the investigation. And he will not give up before his daughter’s murderer gets what he deserves. More ...
512 Pages
4/5
44
Stuart MacBride
A Song for the Dying
Ash Henderson - Book 2
2015
Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man’ murdered four women and left three more in critical condition – all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside. Then the killer just disappeared. Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot has change since then. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters. And now a nurse has turned up dead, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin. More ...
544 Pages
4/5
47
Stuart MacBride
The Coffinmaker's Garden
Ash Henderson - Book 3
2021
A village on the edge. As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smiths home is falling into the North Sea. But the crumbling headland has revealed what hes got buried in his garden: human remains. With the storm still raging, its too dangerous to retrieve the bodies and waves are devouring the evidence. Ex-Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is done playing nice. Hes got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way. More ...
500 Pages
4/5
46
Truman Capote
In Cold Blood
1994 (First published: 1966)
A masterpiece from the author of "Breakfast at Tiffanies". With this thriller Capote invented a new genre. It reconstructs the 1959 murders of four members of the Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas. Capote describes the investigations, capture, trial and execution of the killers in harrowing, yet empathic prose. More ...
343 Pages
5/5
81
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Legacy
Children's House - Book 1
2019 (First published: 2014)
A baby goes missing on a cold day in Reykjavik. Years later, detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are on the same team working on a case involving a dismembered body found in a deserted car. Their past relationship and secrets from the past threaten to surface as they try to solve the case. Freyja is also accused of a serious breach of police protocol and Huldar must decide if he can help her.
480 Pages
3/5
66
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Reckoning
Children's House - Book 2
2019 (First published: 2015)
A chilling note written by a thirteen-year-old predicting the deaths of six people is found in a time capsule, ten years after it was buried. Can it be a real threat? Detective Huldar turns to psychologist Freyja to help understand the child who hid the message. But the discovery of the letter coincides with a string of murders. More ...
384 Pages
3/5
62
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Absolution
Children's House - Book 3
2020 (First published: 2016)
The police find out about the crime the way everyone does: on Snapchat: The video shows the terrified victim begging for forgiveness. When her body is found, it is marked with a number 2. Detective Huldar joins the investigation, bringing child psychologist Freyja on board to help question the murdered teenager's friends. Then another teenager goes missing. More ...
368 Pages
3/5
68
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Gallows Rock
Children's House - Book 4
2020 (First published: 2017)
On a bleak lava field just outside Reykjavik stands the Gallows Rock -once a place of execution, now tourist attraction. Until this morning, when a man was found hanging from it. The nail embedded in his chest proves it wasn't suicide. When the police go to his flat, a further puzzle awaits: a four-year-old boy has been left there. He doesn't seem to have any link with the victim. More ...
416 Pages
3/5
61
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Doll
Children's House - Book 5
2022 (First published: 2018)
It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever. They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. Her daughter pleads to keep it. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared. More ...
400 Pages
2/5
94
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
The Fallout
Children's House - Book 6
2022 (First published: 2019)
A baby goes missing on a cold day in Reykjavik. Years later, detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja are on the same team working on a case involving a dismembered body found in a deserted car. Their past relationship and secrets from the past threaten to surface as they try to solve the case. Freyja is also accused of a serious breach of police protocol and Huldar must decide if he can help her.
400 Pages
3/5
96

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All book covers, trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, icons, and domain names are the property of the respective copyright holder. We only use these images for easy recognition and navigation.
Noir fiction (or the French novel noir) is a subgenre of crime fiction. In its modern form, noir has come to denote a marked darkness in theme and subject matter, generally featuring a disturbing mixture of sex and violence. Noir works are existential pessimistic tales about people, including protagonists who are seriously flawed and morally questionable. The tone is generally bleak and nihilistic, with characters whose greed, lust, jealousy, and alienation lead them into a downward spiral as their plans and schemes inevitably go awry.
American-style hardboiled fiction novels are related to noir fiction. Howerver, they are essentially an extension of the wild west and pioneer narratives of the 19th century. The wilderness becomes the city, and the hero is usually a somewhat fallen character, a detective or a cop. At the end, everything is a mess, people have died, but the hero has done the right thing or close to it, and order has, to a certain extent, been restored.
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