Great Noir Books – Playback

“Guns never settle anything,” I said. “They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act.” – Phillip Marlowe, Playback

Raymond Chandler has a timeless style of writing prose. His words fly off the page just like you are watching a 1940’s humphrey bogart film. Philip Marlow is one of my all-time favorite detectives in fiction, both film and print. He is a flawed hero, with an insatiable drive to understand the truth, and a weakness for women with long legs in sheer stockings.

Image: http://www.paulgormanis.com/?p=4144

In Playback, Marlowe is hired by an unknown entity to tail a redhead (who goes by many names) of which he knows nothing about. After seeing her get leaned on by a two-bit blackmailer, he decides that he would like to help the redhead if he can. But as the story spirals into secrets, conspiracies, and murder, will she let him?

One of the things that I loved about this book is the Femme Fatale is impenetrable. It is impossible to decipher her motives and her actions. She flip flops between telling Marlow to get out of her life and suggesting they run away together.

The book is a quick read, coming in right around 50,000 words, it can be finished in a single rainy day. I am currently working my way through one of Raymond Chandler’s more well known books, The Big Sleep; so fingers crossed for more rainy days!

-Anderson Ryle

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3 thoughts on “Great Noir Books – Playback

  1. Bogart, McQueen, Mitchum, Wayne, Eastwood, the “less is more” genre of male actors. I think it was John Wayne who once told a newish actor, “Just say the line.” Imagine if Raymond Chandler, John Ford and Elmore Leonard were trapped on a desert island with a Royal portable and a stack of paper…

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. Raymond Chandler was great at what he wrote. It seems to me that his work practically defined the hard-boiled crime genre. Then others, like Mickey Spillane, took his style and expounded upon it.

      If I ever become half the writer he was…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some of the “real old guys” (old was defined as over 30 way back then, real old was over 40) that were on the job when I arrived starry eyed and fresh faced from the police academy, allowed glimpses of the days before some of the “modern” improvements to police procedure. They often shook their heads and bemoaned, “Don’t know how they expect us to do this job anymore.” Even more has changed but the bad guys seemed to stay the same. Most were just careless or lazy and blundered blundered themselves into jail. But then there were the few who had that steely glint in their eyes and a good dose of pure evil under their skins. Stuff that stories sometimes try to tell.

        Liked by 1 person

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