Film Noir

Les Morsures du Froid release

Today Editions Le Masque books releases Les Morsures du Froid (Serpents in the Cold) in France. This beautiful cover hits all the right notes.




WE WERE KINGS – UK reviews

Serpents in the Cold – paperback out tomorrow (5.24)

SERPENTS IN THE COLD paperback comes out tomorrow, May 24th.

Noir meets historical crime fiction in a dark tale of redemption during the worst winter on record.


Critics and authors praise SERPENTS IN THE COLD:

“Brutally realistic . . . The authors give us one last, lingering look at the good-bad old days.” Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

“This is a bone-crunching, gut-wrenching novel.” Kirkus Reviews

“Serpents in the Cold is a startling work of art, a beautifully rendered, atmospheric tale of crime and punishment set in mid-twentieth century Boston.” Reed Farrel Coleman, award-winning of Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot

“[The authors] have delivered a love-letter to a Boston that’s long gone.” Publishers Weekly

“Serpents in the Cold lovingly revisits the hardboiled noir.” Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset

“Serpents in the Cold is a great addition to the canon of gritty Boston street fiction, a no-punches-pulled look at a bygone era.” Chuck Hogan, author of The Town

“Melancholy as a lonesome train whistle, beautifully written, as well as thrilling, Serpents In The Cold is a tight little gem of characterization and suspense.” Joe Lansdale, author of The Thicket

“Purdy and O’Malley resurrect the neighborhoods of 1950s Boston in faithful, brutal detail — and in language so lush and gorgeous that you’ll fall in love with reading it all over again.” Elisabeth Elo, author of North of Boston



In Film Noir, there’s no room for kids. None whatsoever.

Noir is a playground for adults only, an alternate universe in which they murder, maim, steal, cheat, beat, drink, fuck, shank, poison, rat-out and double-cross one another. No fairy tales here.

The Window, 1949, Ted Tetzlaff – one of the only Noirs with a child protagonist.


The Noir Template: Caught Cheating


In the unforgiving world of black and white, if you cheat, you get caught. The karma in Noir usually comes around and bites the protagonist in the ass. It surely does for Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) in Criss Cross (1949, Robert Siodmak)

The Noir Template: The Bar


In the land of Noir, if there’s only one person at the bar, it would be wise to sit at the other end. Okay, you’re lonely — deal with it, and whatever you do, try not to make any eye contact. Because buying that person a drink will be like signing a contract with the fates of a slow, spiral-down doom. It never ends well. Phantom Lady (1944)

The Noir Template: One Mistake


In Noir, it’s the eyes that give it all away. Here in Detour (1945), that faraway look of protagonist Al Roberts shows that something bad has happened, and something even worse waits on the horizon.

All it takes is one mistake.

Detour is one of the greatest fatalistic Noirs, a sublime, gritty cheapie that holds no punches. Go watch it.

The Noir Template: Booze


In the dark lands of Noir, what better way to suppress guilt than with a stiff dose of booze.

Here we have Dan Duryea drowning his sorrows in Black Angel, 1946, directed by Roy William Neill.


But booze is not always the answer.

Watch Black Angel. It’s got a great performance by Peter Lorre, and one of the few times that Duryea plays against type, actually kind of a good guy.