Must admit, anyone who can write about a place as if that place is his, or her, own, it makes a difference. Christopher Moore’s been writing about the California coastline, and San Francisco, like it mattered, and certainly displays that intimate detail only a citizen can have.
There were a couple of his novels set in San Francisco, while I still think his Practical Demon Keeping is a personal favorite, as an author, he evokes place.
Noir is billed as a typical Christopher Moore, genre-bending comedy, with a nod to the potboiler detective novellas of a previous era.
Set against a backdrop of early post-War (2) San Francisco, with all the dialogue and slang that might be there, attitudes and pervasive morals, I never thought it was correct to call a female a “broad,” but in context, it seems to capture the essence of an era.
“A young man in possession of a ten-spot could get his future told, his belly filled, his back rubbed, his crank yanked, and leave with a jade Buddha on his key chain, all within a twenty-foot stretch of sidewalk.” Page 88.
Yeah, not so politically correct. Different time. From his Twitter feed and other social commentary, the author himself is politically correct. Must be a challenge to write like that?
Maybe half, or two-thirds of the way through the novel, though, I got to that point — like reading a thriller — I just had to keep going. Didn’t want to put it down.
“Every guy can basically be boiled down to what he wants and what he’s afraid of.” Page 167.
“The kid’s got moxie for miles—I think it might have gotten her in trouble.” Page 190.
What ever happened to dames with moxie? Those were the days. It is period piece, and the frankly pejorative, sexist language has to be tolerated for ambiance. But it is fun bit, reminiscent of early detective novels, perhaps pastiche.
While the author’s note suggested he was originally aiming for dark, mysterious, mean streets, and rough language? I’ll stick with genre-bending comedy.
The cover image.