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Akashic Noir Series

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I first saw these beautiful noir series books in my local bookstore. I. however, didn’t give much thought to them at first until recently, when a member of my book club suggested that we should pick a couple books for our upcoming discussion. The international editions appeal to me because they almost always feature local authors whom I have never heard of. For my upcoming trip to Asia, I picked a few that will see me through the longhaul flights. Istanbul Noir presents stories from a city at once ancient and modern, Asian and European, postcard-perfect and simmering with rage. Paris Noir contains all original stories from Paris’s finest authors, all translated from French. In Singapore Noir, the city that is very neat in my impression is exposed in all of its noir glory with scintillating stories from the very best of the city’s authors. I wonder if Bangkok Noir will be out any time soon?

A little bit about noir as a genre. I have been confused between noir and detective fiction. Noir fiction is a literary genre closely related to hard-boiled genre with a distinction that the protagonist is not a detective, but instead either a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist. I love the grit, grime and sultry sweat of a good piece of noir fiction.

Noir, Mystery, Horror

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At the bookstore a whole wall of noir stories by cities greeted me. My immediate response was a question: What’s the difference between noir, mystery, and horror? I remember bookstores used to shelve them all together under mystery. According to the clerk, noir is a style, horror and mystery are genres. Incidentally, the modern mystery genre actually originated from horror, more specifically from Romantic horror. The noir style is usually associated with early- to mid-20th century mystery stories that tend to share some elements of some of the more realistic horror stories. Whether you should buy them depends on what you like. If you’re a fan of horror, you could do worse than a collection of noir stories. If you like mystery, it’s probably a good investment.

So complete and straight-forward. This is why I love my local bookstores.