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15 Authors of Noir Novel You Must Read

Being a literary genre of great appeal to countless readers, the noir novel has great writers who have been able to express its true essence through their works. 

What is known as a hard-boiled novel is a novel that takes place in the professional world of crime. 

Its name is related to the dark-type scenarios in which the events of the novel take place. Also, some prefer to catalog and call this type of literary work a crime novel.

Noir Novel Authors have the ability to captivate and transport readers to a world in which their characters experience endless emotions, unpleasant situations, and problems, but they always hold on until they solve a crime that seemed perfect. 

The way the writers word the events are generally very violent, and the differences between good and bad characters are confused.

If you want to delve into this world or learn a little more, here are the best 15 noir novel authors and their most important works.

Classic Noir Novel Authors

If you like versatile and captivating literary genres, classic crime novel authors present you with an irresistible combination of events, characters, and settings that can dazzle you with their literary threads and plots. 

Referred to by many as the novel of the professional crime world or crime novel, the crime novel generally takes place in environments of a dark nature where good and evil can come together.

Here are the best classic crime novel authors and their most outstanding works.

1) Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie, born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, was a British writer and playwright who specializes in the detective genre, for whose work she received international recognition. 

Throughout her career, she published 66 detective novels, 6 novels, and 14 short stories -under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott-, in addition to dabbling as a playwright in works such as The Mousetrap and Witness for the Prosecution.

The Guinness Book of Records ranked Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Two billion copies have been sold, ranking her works as the third best-selling in the world, behind only the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by Agatha Christie, if you want to read and download other works by Agatha Christie in PDF format we invite you to visit our collection of Agatha Christie books.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a work of detective fiction, first published in June 1926 in the United Kingdom by William Collins, Sons and in the United States by Dodd, Mead, and Company. It is the third novel to feature Hercule Poirot as the lead detective.

Poirot retreats to a village near the home of a friend, Roger Ackroyd, to carry out a project to perfect vegetable marrow. Soon after, Ackroyd is murdered and Poirot must come out of retirement to solve the case.

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Death on the Nile

Death and suspense are a fundamental part of Agatha Christie’s novels, an author read all over the world, her novels have been translated into many languages due to their literary quality.

Death on the Nile brings to mind misfortune in the midst of happiness, a married couple sees their dreams come to an end as soon as they begin because in the middle of their honeymoon the wife is found murdered by a gunshot to the head.

The detective in charge of solving the case is a friend of the unfortunate husband, who has no qualms about spending his fortune to find the culprit.

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2) Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American writer of crime novels, short stories, and film scripts, as well as a political activist. 

Among the best-remembered characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), the detective couple Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental agent (Red Harvest).

Hammett achieved literary prestige thanks to his novels published between 1929 and 1931, at the height of the economic crisis; the first two, Red Harvest (1929) and The Dain Curse (1929) brought him rapid fame.

Here we present an outstanding work by Dashiell Hammett:

The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon is considered a work of the twentieth century, one of the best literary works of the time. When years go by and a book continues to sell, it indicates that its quality is unquestionable.

Its author, a lover of realism and romantic feelings, is responsible for capturing his feelings in this work, which is based on a statuette in the shape of a falcon that the knights of the Order of Malta gave to an emperor.

It turns out that the statuette for more than four centuries has been the object of thefts, misplacements, where murders occur, and conspiracies, among other things.

What is so valuable about the statuette, what is the reason for its great attraction, and what makes it so peculiar? You will find the answer in the book, and once you know it, you will not want to lend the book to anyone for fear of losing the statuette.

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3) Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American writer of crime novels. 

His prose is not lacking in aesthetic qualities: his style surpasses Hammet’s impressionism and is characteristically ironic and frequent in features of caustic wit, especially in the dialogues. 

Thanks to him, the crime novel gained a previously unknown literary dignity. His first story was Blackmailers Don’t Shoot, for Black Mask magazine, a pulp devoted to action stories; since then he never abandoned the genre.

Here we present 3 outstanding work by Raymond Chandler:

The Big Sleep

The great author of the crime novel Raymond Chandler, was the cause of a reading revolution in the times he was alive, most of his novels achieved that the multitudes had a better appreciation for books, and even high criticism sees him as one of the best authors of this genre.

On this occasion, his novel The Big Sleep tells the adventures of a famous detective who is in charge of solving cases of famous or wealthy people. When a crime is in Hollywood, what seems easy is no longer so.

Join Philip Marlowe in his search for the truth, where he will have to visit high society places, bars, and all kinds of places that only celebrities usually frequent.

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The Long Goodbye

For many people, including a large number of international critics, the novel The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler is considered the best crime novel in history, which has been sold in many countries, translated countless times, and has become an international bestseller.

It tells the story of the misfortune of a man named Terry Lennox, who is a war veteran, but this time, he does not cause pain to others, but he will suffer the same when his wife is mercilessly murdered.

However, after the hard news, Lennox does not seek revenge, but takes it as a payment for all the hardships he caused during the war, and asks his friend Philip for help to take him to Tijuana, so he can leave the country where he is currently staying.

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Farewell, My Lovely

Farewell, My Lovely is a novel by Raymond Chandler, published in 1940, and the second he wrote about the Los Angeles detective Philip Marlowe. It was adapted to film three times and also to theater and radio.

The novel follows Marlowe’s movements in and around Bay City, a fictional California town not far from Los Angeles. Marlowe is about to abandon a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. 

Soon our protagonist is involved in a murder that leads to a network of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption.

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4) Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British-born writer and physician, creator of the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. He was a prolific author whose work includes science fiction stories, historical novels, plays, and poetry.

The Sherlock Holmes novels have given rise to a deep-rooted cult of both the character’s places and costumes and his fictitious London home. There are a vast number of pseudo-erudite publications dealing with the character.

Arthur Conan Doyle is considered the first master of the classic age of detective fiction, soon developed by figures such as Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, Edgar Wallace, and S. S. Van Dine.

Here we present 3 outstanding work by Arthur Conan Doyle, if you want to read and download other works by Arthur Conan Doyle in PDF format we invite you to visit our collection of Arthur Conan Doyle books.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dr. James Mortimer asks Sherlock Holmes for advice after his friend Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the park surrounding his mansion on the Devon moors. 

Death was attributed to a heart attack, but according to Mortimer, Sir Charles’ face retained an expression of horror, and not far from the corpse the tracks of a gigantic hound were clearly visible.

According to an old legend, the Baskerville family has been cursed since the time of the English Civil War, when Sir Hugo Baskerville kidnapped and murdered a woman in the sights of Dartmoor, only to be killed by a huge demonic hound.

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The Sign of the Four

The story of The Sign of the Four is set in 1888. The novel has a complex plot involving service in India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact between four convicts (“the Four” of the title) and two corrupt prison guards.

It introduces the detective’s drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done in the previous novel, “Study in Scarlet” (1887). It also introduces Dr. Watson’s future wife, Mary Morstan.

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A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet marks the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who would become the most famous detective duo in popular fiction.

The title of the book derives from a speech delivered by Holmes, a consulting detective, to his friend and chronicler Watson about the nature of his work, in which he describes the murder investigation of the story as his “study in scarlet: There is the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”

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5) Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was an American romantic writer, poet, critic, and journalist, generally recognized as one of the universal masters of the short story, of which he was one of the first practitioners in his country.

He was a renovator of the gothic novel, remembered especially for his horror stories. Considered the inventor of the detective story, he also contributed to several works in the emerging genre of science fiction.

On the other hand, he was the first renowned American writer to try to make writing his modus vivendi, which had unfortunate consequences for him.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by Edgar Allan Poe, if you want to read and download other works by Edgar Allan Poe in PDF format we invite you to visit our collection of Edgar Allan Poe books.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

XIX Century. The barbaric murder of two women, mother, and daughter, takes place in an apartment on a populous street in Paris. The first investigations do not give any result, showing the impotence of the police to clarify the facts.

Finally, an amateur detective, M. Dupin, takes charge of the case and, after an intense and brilliant investigation, offers an extraordinary explanation.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most important detective stories and one that would lay the foundations for much of the noir and crime genre born in the decades following its publication.

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The Purloined Letter

It is the last of the three stories starring detective Auguste Dupin.

The plot as such is that a letter has been lost that can harm its owner, to whom it was addressed, if it falls into the wrong hands, then the Parisian police prefect seeing that he can not solve the mystery decides to ask Dupin for help since it is known who has it but not where the daring thief has hidden it.

With this story, Poe confirmed his mastery in creating intrigues and mysteries, far from his usual gothic style, and anticipating what would eventually become the criminal and detective genre we all know.

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6) James M Cain

James M Cain

James Mallahan Cain was an American writer, journalist, and novelist especially known for his novels of sordid atmosphere, encompassed within the noir novel, of which he is one of its maximum representatives.

Critics have pointed out that the basic formula of most of Cain’s works is almost always based on a man who falls for a woman – the classic femme fatale – and becomes a criminal and her accomplice.

On the other hand, James M. Cain’s novelistic work continued to bear fruit until the 1970s, and its importance concerning the noir genre only covers a decade. Nevertheless, it was absolutely essential for the development and consolidation of this genre of novel.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by James M Cain:

Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity is a 1943 crime novel written by American journalist James M. Cain. The novel later served as the basis for the 1944 film of the same name, adapted for the screen by novelist Raymond Chandler and directed by Billy Wilder.

The story follows Walter Huff, an insurance agent who falls in love with the married Phyllis Nirdlinger, who consults him about accident insurance for her unwary husband. Despite his instinctive decency, although intrigued by the challenge of committing the perfect murder, Walter is seduced into helping the woman kill her husband for insurance money. 

They come up with a plan in which Phyllis’ husband will die an improbable death, falling off a moving train. The “accidental” nature of his death will trigger the policy’s “double indemnity” clause, forcing the insurance company to pay the widow twice the normal amount. The couple carries out their plan, but things soon go awry.

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The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a crime novel of fast action and short length, the mixture of elements of sexuality and violence caused a commotion at the time, to the point that the Boston authorities even banned its sale.

The novel was quite successful and gained notoriety since its publication, it has come to be recognized as one of the most important crime novels of the twentieth century, along with others such as Red Harvest or The Big Sleep.

The story of a love triangle, a failed murder plot, betrayals, and cops, form the central axis of this captivating and original crime novel story.

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7) Honore de Balzac

Honore de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac was a French novelist, representative of the so-called realist novel of the 19th century.

A tireless worker, he produced a monumental work, La Comédie Humaine, a coherent cycle of several dozen novels whose aim was to describe almost exhaustively the French society of his time to “compete with the civil registry”.

Balzac is considered the founder of the modern novel, and his concern for realism and descriptive detail is at the basis of the later French novel, although his realism always coexists with romantic elements and visionary traces.

Here we present an outstanding work by Honore de Balzac, if you want to read and download other works by Honore de Balzac in PDF format we invite you to visit our collection of Honore de Balzac books.

The Lily of the Valley

The Lily in the Valley is a novel by Honoré de Balzac published in 1836 and incorporated into the monumental work The Human Comedy, which parodies and portrays French society in the period of the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy.

It is about the emotionally vibrant but never consummated affection between Félix de Vandenesse, a member of an aristocratic family, and Countess Henriette de Mortsauf. 

The conflict develops when Félix writes a long letter to his mistress, Countess Natalie de Manerville, and tells her about his unhappy childhood and the great platonic love he felt in adolescence for what he considers an ideal woman: the wife of the Count of Mortsauf. 

For her part, Countess Natalie responds ironically, saying that she will never be able to match such purity and perfection, so the best thing to do is to make a definitive break with Felix.

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8) Emile Zola

Émile Zola

Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola, better known as Émile Zola, was a French writer, considered the father and the greatest representative of naturalism.

Following the scheme of naturalism, his works have high doses of violence and drama and were sometimes too explicit in their descriptions for the taste of the time.

The novels, however, were imaginatively crafted, despite the data he had previously sought, and became universally acclaimed in the literary world.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by Emile Zola, if you want to read and download other works by Emile Zola in PDF format we invite you to visit our collection of Emile Zola books.


L’Assommoir is the seventh volume of the series Les Rougon-Macquart. It is a work entirely devoted to the working-class world and, according to Zola in the preface, “the first novel about the people, which does not lie and which has the smell of the people”.

The author reconstructs the language and manners of the workers, all the while describing the ravages caused by misery and alcoholism.

At the time of its appearance, the work aroused lively controversy because it was considered too crude. It is precisely this realism, however, that made it a success, ensuring the author’s fortune and celebrity.

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Therese Raquin

Zola was accused of obscenity when writing this work since it unscrupulously shows very unpleasant aspects. The book is about a young girl named Thérèse Raquin, who marries her cousin, with whom she lives, together with her aunt, condemned to a monotonous existence.

Shortly after the wedding, Camille brings home a friend named Laurent, to whom Thérèse is attracted, they begin a relationship and this leads them to commit a crime, and thus to terrible remorse.

The author does not devote much of the play to the action or to recounting the events, but rather to analyzing them, making a deep treatment of the characters, and analyzing in detail the thoughts and emotions of each one. The ending is especially moving and dramatic.

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9) W.R. Burnett

W.R. Burnett

William Riley Burnett was an American writer and screenwriter, author of crime novels. 

After his journalism studies, he left for Chicago, where he could observe the world of gangsters and illegal traffic during Prohibition. There he found inspiration to compose his first hit, Little Caesar, which was very well received and adapted to film. After this, he arrived in Hollywood, where he worked as a screenwriter and adaptor for more than 50 films. 

Burnett worked with great actors and directors. He received an Oscar nomination for original screenplay for Wake Island (1942) and The Great Escape (1963). He is also credited with several television and radio scripts.

Here we present an outstanding work by W.R. Burnett:

The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle is a novel by W.R. Burnett published in 1949. The literary classic would be taken to the big screen the following year with an adaptation starring Sterling Hayden, Sam Jaffe, and Marilyn Monroe. 

The novel is a gripping story about the planning and execution of a jewelry store robbery in a dark and corrupt Midwestern metropolis. Amidst a sordid urban wasteland of thieves, murderers, and con men, the various members of the gang are torn apart by personal obsessions, betrayals, and cruel fate.

Throughout the story, Burnett masterfully develops all the requirements of the crime novel: melancholy atmosphere, a varied cast of gray characters, a robbery, a fractured plot, etc., and in turn, makes the city and the setting its own protagonist with stellar characteristics and descriptions that exalt the story.

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Current Noir Novel Authors

Crime stories with additives or dark elements are still among the audience’s favorites, thanks to current crime novel authors.

Nowadays, this type of story has original and action-packed plots, created by the pen of contemporary writers who keep alive the legacy of the classic stories of this genre.

On this occasion, we introduce you to the best contemporary crime novel authors, who are setting the standard in today’s literary world with their great works.

10) Don Wislow

Don Wislow

Don Winslow is an American writer known for his crime and mystery novels.

In 2015 he won the IX Premio RBA de Novela Policiaca for his work The Cartel, a continuation of his acclaimed 2005 novel The Power of the Dog.

In 2022 he won the XVII Pepe Carvalho Award, which recognizes his entire career and is awarded by the Barcelona City Council as part of the Barcelona Negra festival.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by Don Wislow:

The Power of the Dog

Many times on television you see movies where a government, usually from the United States, fights against drug trafficking, and although there are violent scenes, they are far from what the fight against drug trafficking really is.

The book The Power of the Dog, although it is not based on the real life of someone, in particular, it is developed under real knowledge of what the fight against drug trafficking is, and what drug trafficking itself is. It is a black novel, very raw and violent, although it is in the mystery genre, its thrilling and audacious narration is mixed with terror and action.

It has been highly recommended, but it also warns of its rawness, if you are a sensitive reader, it is difficult to love it, but if you are clear with real and raw issues, read it, it is a chronicle of a terrifying reality.

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Savages is a crime novel by American author Don Winslow, published in 2010, and followed in 2012 by a prequel, The Kings of Cool. 

The story follows Ben and Chon, two Americans who run a lucrative marijuana operation in Laguna Beach, California. Their business thrives until members of the Mexican cartel in Baja California decide they want to get into the same business. 

When Ben and Chon resist the Mexicans’ demands, the cartel kidnaps “O” (short for Ophelia), the boys’ confidante and frequent bedroom playmate. Ben and Chon hatch plans to outwit their adversaries and get O back, using everything from improvised explosive devices to masks.

In 2012, the novel was adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Oliver Stone and co-written by Winslow.

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11) Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston is a novelist and television screenwriter. His twelve novels span several genres, from crime to horror to science fiction. 

His books have been published in English by Ballentine, Del Rey, Mulholland, and Orion, and translated into nine other languages. He has adapted his novel The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death for HBO, and his novel Already Dead for HBO Max. He has also written pilots for FX, FOX, Sony, and Tomorrow Studios, served as a consulting producer on FOX’s Gotham and worked in several development suites. 

He is known for his character-centered stories and relationships in highly detailed, genre-blending worlds.

Here we present an outstanding work by Charlie Huston:

Caught Stealing

Caught Stealing is a novel by Charlie Huston published in 2004. The book closely follows Henry -Hank, to his friends- who finds himself in New York City, working as a bartender, working his way up the bar, and slowly destroying his liver. 

Hank is a genuinely nice man who gets along well with his neighbors, does the occasional job for the doorman, regularly calls his Californian parents, lends money to his friends, and doesn’t ask for it back.

In less than 24 hours, however, he will find himself embroiled in a myriad of conflicts, running across rooftops, playing hide-and-seek with the NYPD, riding the subway with a dead man beside him, and counting a pile of cash on a concrete floor.

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12) James Ellroy

James Ellroy

Lee Earle Ellroy, better known as James Ellroy, is an American writer, and author of the novels on which the hit films L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia are based.

He is one of the most famous writers of contemporary crime novels, as well as a writer of “essays” or articles dedicated to analyzing and breaking down real crimes.

His books are characterized by their dark humor and portrayal of authoritarian, racist, and conservative America. Another point is the pessimism that surrounds the characters, the decadence, and the total absence of hope. This explains the nickname she has been given as “Demon Dog of American Crime Fiction”.

Here we present 2 outstanding work by James Ellroy:

Blood’s A Rover

Blood’s a Rover is a 2009 crime novel by American author James Ellroy. The book unfolds with astonishing depth and scope, a huge story of corruption and retribution, warring ideals, and the extremity of love.

It is the summer of 1968. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy are dead. The assassination conspiracies have begun to unravel. A dirty tricks squad prepares to deploy at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. 

Black militants are at war in South Los Angeles. The feds are preparing draconian countermeasures. And fate has placed three men in the vortex of history.  Their lives collide and each will pay “an expensive and savage price to live History.”

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L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential is a neo-noir novel by James Ellroy and the third in his L.A. Quartet series. This police conspiracy thriller is set in Los Angeles during the 1950s and centers on the murders of six patrons of the “Night Owl” coffee shop. 

The story is based on a devastating abuse of police power involving the three main protagonists (cops) who feud with each other prior to the aforementioned murders. 

The protagonists find themselves embroiled in a mix of sex, corruption, and murder in the aftermath of the massacre. The story ends up encompassing organized crime, political corruption, heroin trafficking, pornography, prostitution, and Hollywood. The title refers to the scandal magazine Confidential, which is fictionalized as Hush-Hush. It also addresses the real-life “Bloody Christmas” scandal.

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13) David Goodis

David Goodis

David Goodis was an American writer of crime novels who was noted for his production of short stories and novels of the noir genre.

Goodis was a unique figure among the pantheon of crime writers and noir masters whose powerful vernacular style and dark, subversive themes transformed American culture and writing.

Although he was little recognized during his lifetime, in recent times he has gained an international cult following and several of his works have been adapted into films.

Here we present an outstanding work by David Goodis:

Dark Passage

Dark Passage  is a crime novel by David Goodis published in 1946. It was the basis for the 1947 film noir movie of the same name. 

The protagonist, Vincent Parry, is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. He escapes from prison and is taken in by Irene Jansen, a wealthy socialite, and artist who takes an interest in his case and is determined to clear his name. With the help of a friendly cab driver, Parry gets a new face from a plastic surgeon, which allows him to evade the authorities and find his wife’s real killer. 

He soon finds it difficult to stay hidden, partly because Madge Rapf, the spiteful woman whose testimony sent him to prison, and who has an unhealthy interest in Irene, keeps dropping by.

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14) Graham Greene

Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene was a British writer, screenwriter, journalist, and literary critic, whose work explored the confusion of modern man and dealt with politically or morally ambiguous issues against a contemporary backdrop.

Combining literary recognition with widespread popularity, Greene early on acquired a great reputation as a writer of both serious Catholic novels and thrillers (or “entertainments,” as he called them). In 1966 and 1967 he was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Throughout his 67 years of writing, which included more than 25 novels, he explored the conflicting moral and political issues of the modern world. He was awarded the 1968 Shakespeare Prize and the 1981 Jerusalem Prize.

Here we present an outstanding work by Graham Greene:

Brighton Rock

Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938 and later adapted for film and stage. The novel is a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton. It is Greene’s first work to explore Catholic themes and moral issues, and his treatment of class privilege and the problem of evil is paradoxical and ambivalent. 

The town of Brighton was a lively summer resort, but also a hotbed of criminal activity. Young Pinkie Brown, only seventeen, leads a gang of thugs and becomes involved in a murder.

After the death of Fred Hale, a journalist linked to a rival gang, Pinkie fears his alibi will be blown and will do anything to prevent it. Little does she know that the stubborn Ida Arnold, the victim’s friend, will launch an investigation of her own to clear up the facts.

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15) Allan Guthrie

Allan Guthrie

Allan Guthrie is a Scottish literary agent, author, and publisher of crime novels. 

His first novel, Two-Way Split, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award and won Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award in 2007. 

Her second novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was nominated for the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, and the Gumshoe Award.

Here we present an outstanding work by Allan Guthrie:

Savage Night

Savage Night is a 1953 novel by thriller writer Jim Thompson. 

The protagonist, Charles Bigger, complete with glasses, false teeth, toupee, and platform shoes, operates under the alias of Carl Bigelow, a college student. Bigger has been sent by a mob boss, known simply as The Man, to the small New York town of Peardale. His mission is to avenge the wrongs of Jake Winroy, a former member of The Man’s criminal organization.

This seems like the easiest job in the world for Bigger, until he sets his sights on the beautiful and dangerous Fay and Winroy’s young maid, Ruth, a woman as sensual as she is vulnerable. Wild Night is essentially a claustrophobic thriller about one man’s fractured mind.

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Here ends our selection of Authors of Noir Novel Books. We hope you liked it and already have your next book!

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