Well, it IS a fifteen year old habit, and that's hard to break.
Anyway--I've been RIPPING through audiobooks, and I tend to go in binges by author. At the moment, my binge of choice is the acrid, smog-soaked, nicotine stained literary legacy of Harry Bosch. I admit--I was lured here the same way I was lured into Longmire--but a shot-gun worthy TV show, but, unlike Longmire, in which the books were FAR superior to the show, the books are are... well, they're hitting their stride.
I think the author had to have the same realization that the Cure had fifteen years into their career. Only a very small percentage of their audience had ever fulfilled the dark promise of their songs, so they should probably lighten up a little and give people hope.
It's easy to see this happen in increments in Connelly's work--in the first Bosch book, for instance, Harry doesn't eat. I think Connelly figured that it really is impossible for a guy in his late 30's to live on cigarettes, coffee, and beer, so by the next book, he had dinner once in a while. I, for one, was greatly relieved--I was worried about his digestion, no joke.
Nevertheless, I have a friend's audiobook held in reserve just in case the unrelenting LA noir of Connelly starts dogging all my steps like a black mist and I find myself buying a trench coat in the middle of a Sacramento July. As I told my friend, "I get romantic suspense, but this is so dark it makes Batman's terminal depression look like fuzzy humping bunnies in the park."
And since I like to dissect my genres and sub-genres, I decided that, looking at Lisa Gardner and Michael Connelly, of course, I'd do a little bit of analysis on what makes a good noir hero
And it turned into this:
You might be a NOIR HERO if...
You dine on coffee, cigarettes and beer, and feel as though the beer made you bloated.
You hear the sound of children laughing, and it makes you sad.
An FBI profiler says you're one step away from crossing the line, and you look him dead in the eye and tell him to draw another line.
If you actually have a win, it's going to cost you the only friend who understand you.
It never surprises you that your hookups turn out to be the bad guy. Ever.
If you dare to be a dick, you'll get someone killed and carry that weight for the rest of your life.
You're always one step away from lighting that next cigarette.
You get a little thrill when you land a new case, because now you have something to do on a Saturday night.
You're always right, but who needs credit. Politicians, that's who, and you're not a fucking politician.
You have exquisite taste in artwork--as long as it depicts lonely people and those being tortured in hell.
You like obscure jazz on vinyl. All other music need not apply.
You've stared into the abyss so long, it's stared back, fell asleep listening to jazz, and you've blown it away.
And oh, there's more...
But at this point, I feel like I need to write a list like that for characters in all other sub-genres, and, well, that would be a another shitty craft book...
Excuse me... I've got an idea...