Noir

Noir

San Francisco. Summer, 1947. A dame walks into a saloon . . .It’s not every afternoon that an enigmatic, comely blonde named Stilton (like the cheese) walks into the scruffy gin joint where Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin tends bar. It’s love at first sight, but before Sammy can make his move, an Air Force general named Remy arrives with some urgent business. ’Cause when you need...

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Title:Noir
Author:Christopher Moore
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Noir Reviews

  • Matthew

    This book is an awesomely unique and entertaining ride. I was enthralled every second and frequently found myself laughing out loud. Vocalizing while reading is almost always a good thing!

    Moore really captures the feel of old hard boiled stories and film noir. And, while he is often over the top and exaggerating some of the noir tropes for humorous effect, it does not feel silly. Instead it feels witty, creative, controversial, and more.

    Moore definitely has a feel to his characters, and that is

    This book is an awesomely unique and entertaining ride. I was enthralled every second and frequently found myself laughing out loud. Vocalizing while reading is almost always a good thing!

    Moore really captures the feel of old hard boiled stories and film noir. And, while he is often over the top and exaggerating some of the noir tropes for humorous effect, it does not feel silly. Instead it feels witty, creative, controversial, and more.

    Moore definitely has a feel to his characters, and that is not a bad thing. As all the characters were introduced and went through their development, I kept being reminded of the characters from

    and

    . But, again, Moore does such a great job with his characters, I don't mind!

    If you are a fan of Moore's other work, hard boiled mystery, comic relief, and/or your characters talking like they are hanging out in a speakeasy, you must check this book out!

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Noir was my first experience with the writing of humorist Christopher Moore, and I was not disappointed. In fact, it’s been a few days since I finished reading the book, and every now and then I still catch myself chuckling at the memory of some of the wild and whacky things that happened in it. Although I’m unable to comment on the way this novel compares with the author’s other work (I’ve come across some reviews from

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    Noir was my first experience with the writing of humorist Christopher Moore, and I was not disappointed. In fact, it’s been a few days since I finished reading the book, and every now and then I still catch myself chuckling at the memory of some of the wild and whacky things that happened in it. Although I’m unable to comment on the way this novel compares with the author’s other work (I’ve come across some reviews from longtime fans that mention that it feels different), l can nonetheless understand why many readers find his stories entertaining.

    The book opens in San Francisco, 1947. Protagonist Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin is working as a bartender at Sal’s Saloon, when a beautiful blonde named Stilton (like “the Cheese”, which is henceforth how she will be known to Sammy) breezes in through the door and captures his heart. However, the romance will have to wait, because soon afterwards, Sammy’s boss puts him in contact with an Air Force general who desperately needs his help. Certain “goods and services” are required at an upcoming function being held at the Bohemian Club, and Sammy, with his street smarts and connections, is in the perfect position to make it all happen.

    But then, the Cheese disappears, and Sammy grows worried. More troubles also begin mounting as some of his other harebrained schemes proceed to spiral out of control, resulting in poisonous vipers, dead bodies, and the arrival of black-suited government men bedecked in dark sunglasses. Subsequently, when Sammy sets out on his search for the Cheese, he inadvertently stumbles into a loony conspiracy involving a mysterious flying object spotted over Mount Rainer, topped off by an unexplained plane crash in the desert near a town called Roswell, New Mexico.

    Part satire and part homage, this novel feels like a zany, breathless love letter to the noir genre. Its influence can be seen everything, from the cover to the dialogue, attitudes, and mannerisms of the characters. It’s a bit like being transported straight into a 1950s classic noir film, with the tone and style of the writing giving the story’s post-war San Francisco an authentic flavor. Moore also provides fascinating commentary on the inspiration for his setting, as well as some of his experiences and the research he did into the culture, history, and environment of the city’s vibrant Chinatown.

    That being said, Noir also has the feel of a tongue-in-cheek satire, which apparently is something of a specialty for the author. Certain elements are done in an over-the-top way to emphasize or poke fun at some of the genre’s more distinctive features, including larger-than-life heroes and coquettish femme fatales. As a result, rather than dark and tense, the atmosphere has been replaced by an eccentric, madcap energy that pervades the whole book, so that you have whacky things like chapters written from the perspective of an all-knowing snake, space aliens being smuggled away in rumble seats in the dead of night, and sexy beautiful women with nicknames like “the Cheese”. Noir is not really “noir” as such, in that it doesn’t really fit the style or the tone of the genre, and yet, the overall mood is still very much there, featuring a strong undercurrent of conflict and despondency in spite of some of the sillier themes.

    At the end of the day, I suppose what really matters is that I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. Humor being such a subjective beast, I wasn’t sure if my tastes would mesh well with Christopher Moore’s style, but it appears I no longer have to be concerned on that front. If it means getting more of the same laughs and cleverness I found in Noir, I’m definitely on board to read more of the author’s work.

    Audiobook Comments: Johnny Heller has a voice well-suited to a book like this. The gruff raspiness of it might be jarring in any other story, but it turned out to be a good match for a lot of the characters in Noir, especially for Sammy, a slick and somewhat jaded protagonist with a lot of shady connections. More importantly, the humor also comes out in Heller’s performance, as he delivers the satire and lines of snappy dialogue with instinctual timing and flair.

  • Robert

    I’ll start by saying I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.

    That being said, the first half didn’t have the feel of a Christopher Moore novel. Fans will know what I mean. It was good, but not Lamb, good.

    Now halfway through something happens. Something delicious and crazy and perfectly Squirrel People. And from that point on, it is most definitely a Christopher Moore book.

    The man has yet to fail me. And Lamb still holds top spot for best book of all time.

  • Lori

    Not much story to go with the jokes. Oh well, they can't all be

    . I liked the afterward. I'm looking forward to his next book.

  • Melki

    I was sure I was going to love this one. After all, a book by Christopher Moore that threatens to combine two of my favorite fictions - humor and crime . . . what's not to love?

    And, it does get off to a great start . . .

    OMG! Surely this promises to be the

    of the noir genre!

    Well, it's not.

    And, don't call me Shirley.

    I probably enjoyed about half of this. To be fair, there

    a lot to love, what with a killer snak

    I was sure I was going to love this one. After all, a book by Christopher Moore that threatens to combine two of my favorite fictions - humor and crime . . . what's not to love?

    And, it does get off to a great start . . .

    OMG! Surely this promises to be the

    of the noir genre!

    Well, it's not.

    And, don't call me Shirley.

    I probably enjoyed about half of this. To be fair, there

    a lot to love, what with a killer snake, a corpsicle, some men in black, and a giant, naked cop in a pink kimono, BUT the last third of the book descends into extreme silliness. And if

    think something is too silly, it's REALLY too silly. Moore's one-line zingers are great, and plentiful, but I wish he'd stuck with the noir bits, and left the

    on the cutting room floor.

  • Kemper

    Down these mean streets a man must go. Or to be more accurate in the case of Sammy ‘Two Toes’ Tiffin – down these mean streets a man must limp.

    It’s 1947 in San Francisco where Sammy is a good guy with some skeletons in his closet who works as a bartender which is how he meets a beautiful blonde named Stilton, a/k/a the Cheese. As far as Sammy is concerned the Cheese stands alone, and he falls for her instantly. Unfortunately, his attempts at romance are hindered by his sleazy boss insisting that

    Down these mean streets a man must go. Or to be more accurate in the case of Sammy ‘Two Toes’ Tiffin – down these mean streets a man must limp.

    It’s 1947 in San Francisco where Sammy is a good guy with some skeletons in his closet who works as a bartender which is how he meets a beautiful blonde named Stilton, a/k/a the Cheese. As far as Sammy is concerned the Cheese stands alone, and he falls for her instantly. Unfortunately, his attempts at romance are hindered by his sleazy boss insisting that he procure some women for an Air Force general who wants to take them into the woods to provide entertainment for an elite club made up of influential men. Sammy is also working on get-rich-quick scheme that involves selling a deadly snake, there’s a racist cop causing trouble, and the news has reports about a strange incident in Roswell, New Mexico.

    Since this was Christopher Moore writing a book called

    I wasn’t expecting it to be James Cain or Jim Thompson. However, I was kind of hoping that he might stretch himself a little and be a bit less Christopher Moore. That's why I ultimately found this kind of disappointing because he gives it a try at first, but quickly throws it out the window to just write what he always does.

    That’s the shame of it because the first couple of chapters do come across as Moore actually satirizing a noir novel with overblown pulpy language and a bunch of really solid jokes based on the concept. If he’d have stuck with that and resisted the urge to just do his usual thing of introducing the weird and/or supernatural he might have really had something. But then we get to the stuff about the aliens, and while it’s still got some laughs, it’s also a formula that Moore has done in pretty much every book.

    I also found the shifting POV to be problematic. We start off with Sammy in the first person which lets him do the parody of the classic hard boiled crime novel which I wanted more of. But then Moore shifts to a third person narration which we later find out is coming from a very unlikely source. So the book starts off with this distinct voice which I was into, but when it shifts into something else which is when it becomes standard Moore. Then he tries to go back to first person Sammy telling the story, but he’d lost the tone of what he started with. Which was what I liked best and wanted more of.

    It’s not a complete waste of time. Moore is just inherently funny and there are a lot of solid gags and lines that made me chuckle. But I wish he’d managed to actually write a noir parody instead of just doing the thing that comes easiest to him. If he wanted to write something in this time period and have aliens in it then why not do a pulpy '50s sci-fi kind of thing rather than claiming in the title that it's going to be a genre that it has almost nothing to do with?

  • Larry H

    Well, it's been a while since I've read a book that should have been accompanied by a drum set, in order to generate rimshots after every joke, but this definitely felt like one of those!!

    "There are times in a guy's life when he finds himself floating facedown in a sea of troubles, and as hope bubbles away, he thinks,

    "

    It's 1947 in San Francisco. The country has just started putting all of its pieces back together following World War II. Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin is the

    Well, it's been a while since I've read a book that should have been accompanied by a drum set, in order to generate rimshots after every joke, but this definitely felt like one of those!!

    "There are times in a guy's life when he finds himself floating facedown in a sea of troubles, and as hope bubbles away, he thinks,

    "

    It's 1947 in San Francisco. The country has just started putting all of its pieces back together following World War II. Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin is the evening bartender at Sal's Saloon, and he spends his evenings helping the city's denizens bury their troubles with the help of cheap liquor. Sam always has his hand in some other scheme, either because he needs to make more money or he has connections that range throughout the city. (Most often both.)

    Then one night, of all of the gin joints in the world, in she walks—a flirtatious blonde, "a size-eight dame in a size-six dress and every mug in the joint was rooting for the two sizes to make a break for it as they watched her wiggle in the door and shimmy onto a barstool with her back to the door." The dame, it turns out, is named Stilton (like the cheese), and she takes a shine to Sammy. And the shine is more than mutual.

    As much as Sammy would like to do nothing more than romance "the Cheese" (as everyone refers to Stilton), he's got his hands full. His boss wants him to recruit a group of women to "entertain" a bunch of VIPs. He may have been inadvertently involved in the assault and kidnapping of a somewhat racist policeman. Oh, and he might have also brought a deadly black mamba snake into San Francisco—and the snake didn't waste time before inflicting some damage.

    But is that why two dark-suited, sunglasses-wearing g-men are on his trail? Or is there something else?

    When the Cheese goes missing, Sammy needs to take action. He recruits a motley group of friends and associates to help him follow her trail, and it leads them into the middle of one hell of a mess, with cross-dressing members of a secret club, government investigators bent on "taking care" of anyone that gets in their way, and, well, there may be a space alien in the mix as well.

    Sammy doesn't know what to make of any of it, but he knows he wants the Cheese back, so he'll take on any enemy that comes his way—even if it may be carrying a space blaster.

    is a wacky, corny, somewhat disjointed novel that is simultaneously funny, odd, confusing, and downright bizarre. But all of these adjectives perfectly describe the storytelling of Christopher Moore, author of books like

    and

    , among others. As I saw in the description of this book, "Think Raymond Chandler meets Damon Runyon with more than a dash of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes All Stars," but I'd throw in a little

    as well.

    I was a big fan of Moore's in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but after a while I found myself rolling my eyes more than laughing when I read his books. For some reason I expected something slightly different from

    , and while it started out that way, by the end there were so many competing storylines, not to mention occasional narration from Petey the black mamba snake, that I just wasn't sure what I was reading.

    This is a book that takes on its story with great gusto. I marveled at Moore's creativity, but all in all,

    didn't quite work for me. However, if zany, no-holds-barred books pique your interest, definitely give this one a try.

    See all of my reviews at

    , or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at

    .

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at:

    is a book that proves the old adage . . . .

    The dame is “Cheese” – the fella hung up on her is Sammy Two Toes. The story takes place everywhere from a dive bar, to a national forest to Roswell, New Mexico.

    I was real worried that I’d have to look like this . . . . .

    Due to my “meh” reaction upon finishing, but it appears most of my friends pretty much felt the same as me. The one thing I can say is Christopher Moore most definite

    Find all of my reviews at:

    is a book that proves the old adage . . . .

    The dame is “Cheese” – the fella hung up on her is Sammy Two Toes. The story takes place everywhere from a dive bar, to a national forest to Roswell, New Mexico.

    I was real worried that I’d have to look like this . . . . .

    Due to my “meh” reaction upon finishing, but it appears most of my friends pretty much felt the same as me. The one thing I can say is Christopher Moore most definitely knows how to stick to a bit. Go read

    if you want actual insight. Not only does he know how to words way better than I do, but I could also totally picture this story becoming Archer Season 24 or some such . . . .

  • Brian

    “You stinkin’ wallabies are in hot water now.”

    Something is happening with me and Christopher Moore. The relationship is getting a little long in the tooth I feel, because his books just don’t do for me what they use to. When I first discovered him, I really enjoyed (and tore through) his novels. Now I read his books, they keep my attention, but they leave me feeling nothing.

    “Noir” is a prime example of that. It is on the edge of being a clever, intriguing book. It never gets there. The premise

    “You stinkin’ wallabies are in hot water now.”

    Something is happening with me and Christopher Moore. The relationship is getting a little long in the tooth I feel, because his books just don’t do for me what they use to. When I first discovered him, I really enjoyed (and tore through) his novels. Now I read his books, they keep my attention, but they leave me feeling nothing.

    “Noir” is a prime example of that. It is on the edge of being a clever, intriguing book. It never gets there. The premise is classic noir style, a “dame” walks into a bar, and for a while, it feels like the style and cadence of the text is like some standard noir fiction. Then it gets off the rails a little, and is noir in title only, which Mr. Moore himself admits in his Afterward.

    The weakness of this text is that it tries to do too many things, and as a result does none of them well. Moore just can’t resist throwing in some of his fantastical elements. I wish he would write more books where he does not have to have monsters, aliens, or some other ridiculousness. It is okay, and I enjoy it from time to time, but can he do anything else? There are bunches of plot points introduced, and none of them are resolved with any real seriousness, which detracts greatly. And this is why I could not have told you what “Noir” was about a week after having finished it.

    Some strengths of the text…I loved the character The Kid. He and his voice are easily one of the novel’s strongest, and funniest, elements. The point of view when delivered by the protagonist, Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin, is also enjoyable to read. Moore can write some awesome character voices and styles. But the alternative point of view in the novel is from the POV of a snake, who talks and thinks like a human (see my earlier point about stupid things) and has nothing to do with any established major plot points. The writer just could not leave well enough alone.

    I read “Noir” quickly, and I am not irritated I read it. I just wish I had waited to purchase it until I saw it in the bargain paperback bin.

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