Opera Noir*

I was going to go for another 'cult of celebrity' rant, but that's no way to start a Monday morning, is it? Blood pressure gettin' all rowdy.

We went to the opera on Saturday night -- Opera North were doing the Marriage of Figaro, and very good it was too. Lots of pretty music and running about. The whole thing is basically a bedroom farce with singing, but it got me thinking about my favourite opera of all time: Carmen. Where Figaro is happy and fluffy, Carmen is a perfect example of the Noir tale. A young guard is seduced away from his post and the army by a manipulative woman of questionable repute who turns him into a deserter and a smuggler before dumping him for a bull fighter. And in true Noir fashion he gets his revenge by stabbing her. Don José is doomed from the start -- as soon as Carmen gets her hooks into him there's nothing left but the downward spiral into self-destruction, jealousy and murder.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I don't really write noir books -- even though that's what they get called -- Logan's not a doomed man (not at the moment anyway), and yet a lot of the short stories I write... well, let's just say that those involved seldom come out of it well.

The McRae books are happy-go-lucky in comparison. Maybe a bit too happy? I wasn't happy with the original start of DYING LIGHT, but I couldn't figure out why until one day I woke up and realised I was writing a comedy crime book. Every page was littered with one-liners and jokey references. It was bloody horrible. So I went back and ripped most of them out. But I wonder if I left too many behind.

I know DYING LIGHT has been deemed to jokey for one market already, and then there's Paul Johnston's review in Shots Magazine. You know you're in for a mild doing over when someone starts by saying what a nice person you are ;}# And I can see where he's coming from: I am lovely (joking, joking -- I is still keepin' it real!)

I think Book 3 (go on, call it BROKEN SKIN, you know you'll have to get used to it some time) isn't too humorous, but I'll only be able to tell for sure when I read through it for the edit. I don't want it to be overly grim, but I really don't want to be writing "funny" crime stories either.

What to do... what to do...

* Not to be confused with Oprah Noir, where chatshow hosts run amuck with a handgun and knock over a drug dealer's crack house only to find it's being run by the cops...