on April 6, 2014
Format: Paperback

The thing that caught my eye about this novel was the intriguing title and the appropriate cover. I’m a big fan of noir and hard-boiled detective novels, so I had to read this book. Indeed, I got both: noir and a hard-boiled detective complete with fedora and a crummy office.
This is narrated from the viewpoints of three damaged characters as their lives overlap and intertwine. That in itself isn’t new, but it certainly hasn’t been overworked and here it works very well. Author Reyshan Parker allows us to experience events from different viewpoints with different interpretations, without ever slowing the pace of the story. He also gives us insight into each player’s mind, allowing us to see the different characters through the eyes of the person who happens to be narrating a given chapter.
Melanie Diangelo is a very likeable young woman with a cupcake obsession so severe she should have her own reality show. Unfortunately, Melanie’s husband, bookie Frank Diangelo, once a doting suitor, is actuality irritable, abusive and uncaring. To Frank, Melanie is just a possession.
David Brissel is a photographer. When Davey’s father was murdered, his father’s best friend Earl Jones, took him in, and became a second father and mentor to young Davey. A former cop, Jones eventually opened his own detective agency and, considering Davey’s interest in photography, Jones hired Davey to be his aide and official photographer. Davey does have a problem: he loves to gamble. He considers himself a very good gambler, although after learning of some of his bets, we may wonder.
Without injecting spoilers, let me just say that things happen and Davey soon has to lay his camera aside, put on a fedora and become a flinty-eyed private eye.
Sandra Bloom, the third narrator, is the wife of Congressman William Bloom. Sandra too is perhaps even more damaged than Melanie and Davey. She has become a bitter abusive alcoholic who tends to blame everyone else for her problems. Her philandering husband only deepens her depression and hostility. She married him for money and he married her because he needed a good-looking trophy wife. They both got what they asked for.
The dialog and narration here are snappy, easy to follow and keep the story moving at a brisk pace. Except for cell phones and digital cameras, this could well be a throwback to the ’40s when writers like Thompson and Cain were at their peak. A noir novel, yes, but at the same time, this tale offers some real insight into human behavior spiced by touches of humor. As in any noir worthy of the name, there are really no good guys. Just ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
With its full quota of murder, treachery, sex and greed, NOIR, “the Good Girl, the Detective, and the Femme Fatale” is a fast-paced mystery that’s just different enough to make it stand out.
— C. M. Albrecht […]