I started reading mysteries before I ever started reading fantasy and science fiction. At least in book form. I’d been reading comics for a year or two, and while there was a large amount of fantastic content in them, it was the crime fighting and mysteries that caught my attention. (I was a huge fan of Batman.)
Growing up I read the juvenile mysteries of Scott Corbett and Donald J. Sobol’s Encylopedia Brown before graduating to Sherlock Holmes. Then Star Wars came out, and I dove head first into science fiction and fantasy, dipping into the mystery field only occasionally. It was in high school that my junior English teacher introduced me to the works of Raymond Chandler, and the damage was done. I loved his take on the private investigator, especially Phillip Marlowe, although I enjoyed the prototypes as well. I soon began seeking out other stories in this vein, moving onto Dashiell Hammett, Loren D. Estleman, Lawrence Block, and Bill Pronzini, among others.
As I’ve gotten older my taste has turned more towards noir than the classical PI, although I still love a good gumshoe story. Maybe it’s because I’ve become more cynical and jaded as I’ve gotten older.
But that’s another topic for another day. Throughout the years, even though most of my reading has been science fiction and fantasy, I’ve always come back to noir/PI stories. Something about them scratches some sort of mental itch that science fiction can’t. I’m not sure what exactly that itch is, but that’s the only way I can describe it. As part of scratching the itch, this blog will focus on noir and private investigators, mainly in print but occasionally in film or graphic media. Posts will mostly consist of reviews, but I’ll include opinion pieces as well as the occasional news or interview.