While I’ve never read and studied the Traditional Masters of the genre, in my eyes, Jason Starr is the czar of noir.
His first six books follow the generally-accepted classic attributes of noir—they feature flawed main characters who start out as less than successful … and slowly sink even lower.
I was first introduced to noir by reading Starr’s TWISTED CITY, and fell in love with noir in general and Starr in particular as a result.
But I felt the books that followed TWISTED CITY were all good, not great books. These books had a more polished feel and seemed geared towards a mainstream audience. They also struck me as “thrillers” rather than noir.
Although I enjoyed all his later books, news that Starr was returning to the crime fiction genre had me salivating to dig into his newest book FUGITIVE RED. And I found the wait worthwhile.
While perhaps not quite on the same plane as his earlier noir novels, FUGITIVE RED follows Starr’s earlier familiar formula. Jack Harper is in a loveless, soulless marriage. A friend clues him into an app for married people looking to have discreet sexual affairs. Jack decides to sample some goods himself—then cue his entire world falling apart.
Written in a voice I find easy to relate to, the book sets a blistering pace and never eases off the throttle. I hope this isn’t a one-and-done return to the noir scene. I find Starr’s voice a welcoming experience when he writes in this genre.