Psycho-Noir: Nigel Bird’s Essential Noirs


By Nigel Bird
November 19, 2010

Nigel Bird is a Support For Learning teacher in a primary school near Edinburgh.  Co-Producer of the Rue Bella magazine between 1998 and 2003, he has recently had work published by ‘The Reader’, ‘Crimespree’ and ‘Needle’.  He was interviewed by Spinetingler for their ‘Conversations With The Bookless’ series earlier this year, won the ‘Watery Grave Invitational 2010’ contest over at ‘The Drowning Machine’ and has recently made debuts at ‘A Twist Of Noir’, ‘Pulp Metal Magazine and ‘Dark Valentine Magazine’. His story ‘An Arm And A Leg’ will appear in the ‘Best Of British Crime’ anthology (edited by Maxim Jakubowski) in 2011 and ‘No Pain No Gain’ has just been accepted by Crimefactory. His blog ‘Sea Minor’ is currently running the ‘Dancing With Myself’ series of interviews. He hopes to complete a draft of his novel by the end of 2010.

Nigel writes:
“My memory for names has never been good. I have to beat around the bush to get to where I need to get. ‘That book, you know, the one where god comes down to earth as a human and they nail him to one of those wooden things…’. It’s something I’ve had to get used to. My top 20 noir novels, then, includes those titles that are unforgettable even to me. I’m not the most widely read of individuals, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I do this in the knowledge that my pile of To Be Read novels looks so good it there are definitely going to be a few that would have made the list had I got to them earlier. I’ve also tried not to pick a list of the obvious in a bid to keep the series interesting and in doing so I’m stretching both the definition of ‘noir’ and of ‘novel’ in some cases.”

Here goes:
Georges Simenon – The Man Who Watched Trains Go By
Allan Guthrie – Slammer
James M Cain – Double Indemnity
Tristran Egolf – Lord Of The Barnyard
Paul Auster – Man In The Dark
Donald Ray Pollock – Knockemstiff
Benjamin Whitmer – Pike
Albert Camus – The Outsider
Franz Kafka – The Trial
Jim Thompson – The Getaway
Charlie Williams – Deadfolk
Lawrence Block – Eight Million Ways To Die
Patrick McCabe – The Butcher Boy
Raymond Chandler – The Big Sleep
Ray Banks – Donkey Punch
The Longshot – Katie Kitamura
Dashiell Hammett – The Maltese Falcon
Don Winslow – Savages
Paul Cain – Fast One
Kate Atkinson – When Will There Be Good News
Joe Lansdale – Bad Chili

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