French for BLACK.
GENRE OF FILM and LITERATURE characterized by


NOIR has always been a favorite of mine for its atmosphere, images, voice, and intent. No happy endings. I’m addicted to fiction that explores the dark side of human nature, not only on an individual level, but also on a societal and political level. Noir tends to resurge during dark times—post WWII, McCarthy era, Vietnam, and the present for example.

Visually, noir is usually saturated in a dark and stormy atmosphere, perhaps even claustrophobic or sweltering. It started out urban, but has spread to the rural and desolate areas of American. The story presents a mystery with twists and turns that should cause the reader to question what is right and what is wrong.

As the famous James Ellroy stated in his introduction to The Best American Noir of the Century: “The thrill of noir is the rush of moral forfeit and the abandonment to titillation. The social importance of noir is its grounding in the big themes of race, class, gender, and systemic corruption. The overarching joy and lasting appeal of noir is that it makes doom fun.”

The Valerie Reader: Recent Articles by Valerie


My blog is constantly evolving. I love to throw in fascinating facts about noir fiction and film; behind-the-scenes realities of my author life; reviews of suspense and thriller novels; what I’m gobbling up in audiobooks, movies, series, and podcasts; and humorous, dark memes.

The photos of my trips and conferences will not be staged or boring. I love to capture what I overhear. As the French call it, I’m a flaneur, one who watches and observes. In other words, I listen in on conversations, watch any nearby drama, and am so curious that I will ask questions if the situation demands it. Life is often the springboard to brilliant ideas for fiction. And I’ll share it with you! CLICK HERE.

To learn more about NOIR, check out a conversation I had with Wendy Kendall and Julie Cooper on the “Kendall and Cooper Talk Mysteries with Valerie J. Brooks” podcast.

One of the Best Examples of Noir: Chinatown

Valerie’s Favorite Noir film: Body Heat