Film noir is a tricky thing to define, and some still question whether it’s just a style relying on distinct lighting and shadow play or if it’s a genre unto its own. The term derived from French critic Nino Frank who, in 1946, saw many American crime movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Double Indemnity (1944) for the first time, and dubbed them film noir – black films, both for their heavy use of shadows and dark subject matter.
An old evil awakens in the remote Indiana town of Isherwood. Hordes of ravenous vampires threaten to devour everyone and only one man, a Vietnam vet with lots of ammo, can stop them. This is the 1990 horror novel, Nightblood by T. Chris Martindale.
Since it’s spooky season, I wanted to highlight one of Japan’s most famous horror manga artists/writers – Junji Ito. For those not in the know, manga are Japanese comics, and Ito’s realistic and hyper-detailed artwork, combined with his macabre and haunting plots, are a perfect nightmare cocktail. Here are ten recommendations to start you off, from his longer-form works to short stories. Also, to existing Junji Ito fans, yes, there are plenty of well-known recommendations here, but if I didn’t list your personal favorite, well, there’s always next Halloween…
A false flag is defined as an “operation is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another party.” There are many such incidents throughout history — the Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Gleiwitz radio attack in 1939 are two of the best-known examples. Couched in conspiracy and intrigue, false flags are prime fodder for thriller fiction, such as False Flag by John Altman.
World War II has been cemented of the national consciousness as a “good war” in the Allied nations – America, Britain, Russia – for decades now. However, the fourth major partner of the Allies – China – has only recently embraced this narrative and until fairly recently, even downplayed its importance. This shift is the crux of Rana Mitter’s new book China Good War. [Read more…] about China’s Good War by Rana Mitter Review
Shanghai, 1935 – a Japanese sailor is gunned down in the busy streets, escalating tensions between China and Japan. Doug Bainbridge, an officer in the ONI – the US Office of Naval Intelligence – is tasked to investigate. Joined by his friends, Doug is sucked into a whirlwind of intrigue, double-dealing, and espionage.
In 1943, Paris groans under the heel of the German occupier. After an intense chase, several French Resistance agents are captured by the SS, two of whom are the wife and daughter of Harry Mitchell, a British cryptographer. So begins Night Flight to Paris, a World War II thriller by David Gilman.
Berlin, November 1932. Inspektor-Detektiv Willi Kraus has been called in to investigate a gruesome case. A woman’s corpse has been discovered, her legs grotesquely mutilated backward. So begins The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman, a historical thriller set in the last days of the Weimar Republic.
In 1931, Warner Brothers launched the modern gangster genre with the hit film, Little Caesar. Based on a 1929 novel, it became one of the most popular movies at the time, capturing the public’s attention and capturing the criminal zeitgeist of the late 20s/early 30s.
The geopolitical tension between America and North Korea offers fertile creative ground for spy fiction. Author John Altman uses this perfectly to craft his fast-paced action thriller The Korean Woman.