Book Review: Chance by Kem Nunn

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Chance by Kem Nunn tells the story of Dr. Eldon Chance, a psychiatrists in the San Francisco area. Chance is on a downward spiral starting with a recent divorce and on top of that the I.R.S. is auditing him. To help get himself out of debt, he looks to sell some antique furniture. Turns out he can get more for the furniture if big D uses his wood working skills to make it something it quite isn’t.

Big D is a large man with a unique set of skills. He can work with furniture as well as wield a knife with deadly skill. He is a master of urban warfare, knowing where to be and when to be there.

Chance also gets involved with a femme fatale with multiple personality disorder. Chance’s love interest happens to be married to a crooked cop. You mix these four characters and you have a crazy noir trip through the Bay Area.

Kem Nunn is known for his surfer noir books and this is a bit of a departure for him, though we do get a minor character towards the end that is a surfer.

This book was released in 2014 and soon after Nunn started working on a screen adaption. Originally looking at a movie deal, it soon switched to a television series. Scoring major talent behind the camera for this series also attracted a major star for the character of Chance. Hugh Laurie will be playing Chance in a guaranteed two season deal. After a bidding war for the distribution rights to the series, Hulu won. The first season will follow the story ark from the book, not sure if season 2 will see a book first or if it will be an original story for the series itself. Nunn will be the writer either way. You can read all the details about the new show that will start filming soon here:

‘Chance’ Drama Series Starring Hugh Laurie Lands 2-Season Order At Hulu

This is a good book and I can see potential for a great television series. Noir fans should check out this novel and look forward to another great noir series coming to a television or computer near you soon.

 

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News: Margot Robbie Set To Headline Vaughn Stein’s Noir Thriller Terminal

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One of the most popular new talents in Hollywood is ready to take on noir! Margot Robbie has just signed to headline the new film Terminal. This will be writer director Vaughn Stein first feature film, but he has worked as an Assistant Director on a number of television shows and big Hollywood films. Sounds like an interesting movie, read all the details here:

Margot Robbie Set To Headline Vaughn Stein’s Noir Thriller Terminal

Article: Dennis Lehane drops into St. Petersburg for a riveting reading

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Here is a short article about Dennis Lehane at a reading in St. Petersburg. It talks about what Lehane is working on right now, including a new book and a couple television series. I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited for new projects from this man. Read the full article here for all the details:

http://www.tbtpics.tampabay.com/blogs/media/dennis-lehane-drops-into-st-petersburg-for-a-riveting-reading/2262592

News: Noir Classic ‘Kansas City Confidential’ is Coming to Blu-ray

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Kansas City Confidential is coming to bu-ray! Read the full article here:

Noir Classic ‘Kansas City Confidential’ is Coming to Blu-ray

Here is Everythingnoir.com’s review of the film:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/08/21/review-kansas-city-confidential/

Book Review: Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker

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Dog Eat Dog is a novel by Edward Bunker. Bunker is an interesting character. His past involves a criminal career, a horrible childhood, a very high I.Q., becoming an author in prison and acting in some of the most classic neo noir films of the last 40 years. This book was released in 1995 and should be read by any crime fiction fan and especially any fan of noir fiction.

This story is about 3 ex-convicts who have been friends since juvenile hall. Mad Dog lives in Portland with his girlfriend and young daughter. Diesel has been working with a union in Sacramento and does the odd job for the local mob boss from time to time. He has a nice house, a wife and a brand new Mustang. Troy is our third man in this trio. Troy is a smart man that most criminals love. Troy has just got out of prison and is already got a plan in place to make some money.

This journey takes us to the underworld of Los Angeles in the 1990’s. We have drug dealers, crooked lawyers, kidnapping, murder, drug addiction and robbery just to wet your appetite for the dark corners this book goes to.

You can tell Bunker cribs from his own experience in crime for this book. There is a lot of parallels between Troy and Bunker. Bunker also covers some social issues in this book. One thing he covers is the disappearance of the middle class in Los Angeles. Something that continues to happen in many areas of the country today. Another topic is the Three Strike Law that went into effect in California in 1994, a year before this book was released. The law basically states that after your third felony you where going to go to prison for life. This book basically tells us that with this law, we are making people with two strikes willing to do anything not to go back to prison. This maybe a very good point and is something that has been changed in 2012, now it has to be a serious or violent felony for your third strike. I am no lawyer and don’t get into politics much, but for example, in one case a 2 time felon was caught stealing a set of golf clubs. He was sent to prison for life because of the 3 strike rule. Though he is a 3 time felon, and I have no idea what his previous 2 felonies are,(and he did already serve his time for those) life seems a little extreme for stealing golf clubs.

This is an amazing book and I could not put it down. Knowing a little bit about Bunker’s background made me interested in reading him. I was not expecting such a well written book. You will not be disappointed in this book! I highly recommend reading this before the movie is released later this year.

This movie could be amazing or it could be very disappointing. Lets look at the information we have so far. First off the material is second to none for a neo noir film. Second is the talent involved. Paul Schrader wrote the screenplay and is directing. His movie writing credits are some of the best neo noir films in the last 40 years. On the other hand his directing credits have been hit and miss, some are very good and some are unbelievable bad. Our main star, playing Troy is Nicolas Cage, if there is ever an actor in modern film that can be absolutely brilliant in one film and then over act and go totally campy in the next, it is Cage. Schrader promises a return to form for both him and Cage in this picture and I really hope he is right. Here is a link to a couple articles about the upcoming film:

http://deadline.com/tag/dog-eat-dog/

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One thing this film has me excited about is Willem Dafoe as Mad Dog. This casting should be worth the price of admission.

 

 

2015, A Look Back at a Year in Noir

Coming off one of the best years in the genre in 2014, 2015 was a bit of a let down. With box office and critical hits Gone Girl and Nightcrawler and a cult classic in the making with surprise hit John Wick along with a crowd sourced funded return of Veronica Mars just to name a few of the highlights at the theater in 2014. 2015 really didn’t see any success at the box office for films in the neo noir genre.

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The year started out with a bang, when in January, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice was released. Inherent Vice was a critical success, even if it didn’t do well at the box office and was not well received by the general public, it was my favorite film of the year. Here is my review of that film:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/06/02/review-inherent-vice/

On the same day as Inherent Vice was released, a film from Australia was released in the States. It stared an always good Ethan Hawke in a sci-fi neo-noir that will make you think. Predestination from the Spierig Brothers is a stylish film worth watching. Here is my full review of that film:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/02/20/review-predestination/

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Though we got a lot of good small budget neo noir films this year, the stand out for me was Glass Chin. Read the full review here:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/08/24/review-glass-chin/

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Though film didn’t have a stellar year, television did! I have not seen it yet(hope to watch it with in the next week) True Detective Season 2 sounds like it was a bit of a let down(season 1 may have been the best television season ever, 2 was bound to be a bit of a let down), other programs stepped it up.

Season 4 of Ray Donovan was the best season yet and Season 2 of Fargo was my favorite series this year.

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/10/06/article-rolling-stone-fargo-how-the-midwestern-noir-just-got-even-better/

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We also got the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul that came out in February and seems like a decade ago in a time of great television. Here was a look at Season 1:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/04/09/review-season-1-of-better-call-saul/

One of my favorite characters was back for a short special, Luther. Here is a look at season 4 of that series:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/29/review-luther-season-4/

Public Morales debuted on TNT, but got poor ratings and was cancelled after season 1. You can see how high the competition is, when this fine series only made it through one season.

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https://everythingnoir.com/2015/10/25/review-public-morals-season-1/

Gotham had another great season as well. For sci-fi neo noir fans, check out the Expanse, which as just started on SyFy. There is also a long list of television I have not got to see, but want to soon. Netflix has released Bloodlines, Daredevil and Jessica Jones while Amazon has Bosch just to name a few. It is safe to say, we are in the golden age of television.

Classic film noir fans had a great summer with The Summer of Darkness over on TCM. They also offered a college course on film noir for free. I took the class and found it very informative.

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TCM debuted a few newly restored classic films noir this summer, including Woman on the Run and Too Late for Tears. Look for a full review of Too Late for Tears soon and here is a link to the review of Woman on the Run:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/06/24/review-women-on-the-run/

In Noir literature we had a number of big and small releases. Publishers like Hard Case Crime and All Due Respect continue to release pulp noir books worth checking out. Hard Case Crime continues to re-print the Quarry books which I have fallen in love with. All Due Respect had a couple of releases I loved including Selena by Greg Barth and Love You to a Pulp by CS Dewildt:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/01/book-review-quarrys-list-by-max-allan-collins/

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/12/07/book-review-selena-by-greg-barth/

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/04/19/book-review-love-you-to-a-pulp-by-c-s-dewilt/

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We also got the second book by Rob Thomas continuing the multi-media story of Veronica Mars:

https://everythingnoir.com/2015/02/01/review-the-first-two-veronica-mars-books-the-thousand-dollar-tan-line-and-mr-kiss-and-tell/

There was a number of books that came out this year that I did not get a chance to get to(I’m not the fastest reader in the world). The Cartel by Don Winslow, World Gone By by Dennis Lehane and Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy just to name a few.

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2016 looks to hold many new television shows, movies and books worth watching. Check back to Everythingnoir.com for the latest news and reviews as I will try and keep the noir fan abreast. What was some of your favorite noir works of the last year?