Thursday, July 25, 2013
Noir and crime novels used to mean something. It used to mean damaged people with their souls and lives in tatters trying desperately for one last desperate bid for redemption. A landscape devoid of heroes filled with dive bars, luxury as a malevolent trap, gutters filled with blood, a world of desperate self-involved people hoping for love, a bit of the pie, and or safety in a world rule by greed and violence. Somehow crime novels have become boring collections of sexy lab staff, quirky detectives, super clever serial killers, police procedurals and other boring clichés. Richard Lange’s Angel Baby hearkens back to that older tradition, doomed despairing people fighting with no hope for life to mean more than the trap they have made it. Everyone is dangerous and there are no heroes, but the characters bring you along, and you try to be optimistic that anything good can come out of the proceedings. A little simpler of a story in the end than one would hope for, but when its blood drenched noir you are in the mood for, complexity isn't always called for.