While surfing the blogosphere today, I came upon Rob Kitchin’s blogspot. Rob is an Irish author who’s in search of pre-1970 crime fiction classics to read. Okay, Rob, here’s my list, in no particular order.
1. The Grifters, Jim Thompson, 1963
2. Double Indemnity, James M Cain, 1936
3. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett, 1929
4. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler, 1953
5. The Asphalt Jungle, W R Burnett, 1949
6. Street Of No Return, David Goodis, 1954
7. The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson, 1952
8. 13 French Street, Gil Brewer, 1951
9. His Name Was Death, Fredric Brown, 1951
10. Branded Woman, Wade Miller, 1952 (back in print, thanks to Hard Case Crime)
Rob is looking for an introduction into pre-1970 crime fiction, so these are my recommendations. They all lean heavily toward noir and away from traditional whodunits, so no Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe here. Holmes and Wolfe are fine, as are other much older novels, like The Woman In White. But these 10 books are what I feel would be a good intro to the darkside.
I’ve included two novels by Jim Thompson. The Grifters is a much more “standard” crime novel, but only as compared to everything else that went through Thompson’s twisted mind, while The Killer Inside Me is a sheer trip on the fast train to hell.
Anybody else got any good ideas? Â Any good additions to this list?