“What is North Noir?” In short, it’s detective fiction set in Northeastern USA and Canada.
The North element refers to the location of two detective series, one set in New England and the other in Ontario. The police work is close to the ground. There are no extended car chases, helicopter missions, or gun battles – no over-the-top Hollywood clichés.
The Noir element refers to a tradition of crime writing linked to film noir, to movies such as The Maltese Falcon, which was first a novel. Noir fiction doesn’t dwell on characters’ feelings. Similarly, the female protagonists in North Noir are not sentimental, although they are empathetic and intuitive.
The crime/mystery genre turns on whodunit puzzles. Readers expect to be both challenged and entertained. With the North Noir novels, I deliver more than puzzles and blood and guts. I always embed – very deeply (no preaching) – an existential conundrum in my novels. The majority of murders hinge on money. In a word, greed. In my current work-in-progress (the second North Noir novel), the main murderee is killed because of his renunciation of money, his anti-greed. Readers get a baffling puzzle, and, if they’re looking, they’ll find a deeply buried ethical message. For me, all novels – even whodunits – should have an existential core.