Video of the Day: Pop Music Noir by Michael Jackson

In this video from a live 1997 performance by Michael Jackson in Munich, part of the HIStory World Tour, Noir afficionados will recognize many classic elements of crime noir in nearly every aspect of the dance: the dark suits, the guns, the dead bodies, the theme of the femme fatale. Although controversy still surrounds Jackson’s private life and possible border crossings into criminality of the most sordid sort, this dance offers strong evidence of his genius for taking tired tropes of a genre and electrifying them with new life.

It offers an interesting contrast to this piece with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse from the film version of The Band Wagon. It has many of the same elements, but with one clear exception: the femme fatale is not alluded to. She is there moving and owning the space with as much danger as can fit into a tight red dress.

And of course, there is this classic dance number from Guys and Dolls, which takes place in the subterranean world of illegal crap shoots:

The basics of Film Noir

Noir Nation No. 4 Released in Print

Noir Nation No. 4 book cover

 

That was not a accusing finger making a point on your chest. It was a bullet. When you land somewhere in the white froth below, it will be either on rocks or on water or a bit of both. But you won’t feel anything… not by then.

Noir Nation is the only mystery magazine in the world that joins international crime fiction and tattoos. Its content is often dark, hard-boiled, sometimes creepy, but because it embraces crime fiction in all its forms, readers can also enjoy the occasional humorous story and cozy mystery.

In celebration of Canada, Noir Nation No. 4 showcases several stories by Canadian writers, including Mary Agnes Fleming, as well as stories set in Canada by non-Canadian writers. In keeping with the journal’s international flavor, there are also stories from other parts of the globe.

The issue is dedicated to Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor, who was murdered during the terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

Collected by Las Vegas writer and managing editor Jonathan Sturak, this issue contains entries from some of the very best and emerging hardboiled and literary crime fiction writers on the international scene, among them Lauren Cahn, Marina Perezagua, Richard Godwin, Melodie Campbell, Bianca Bellová, Joseph Lepis, Neliza Drew, Rob Brunet, Nik Morton, George Beck, Chloe Evans, Bruce H. Markuson, Jeffery Hess, Tony Haynes, Mike O’Reilly, Gerald Seagren, Edward McDermott, Ryan Priest, Peter Anderson, Al Cerda, and J.B. Christopher. The issue also offers an interview with Joseph Trigoboff, author of the best-selling novel The Bone Orchard and the recent memoir, Rumble in Brooklyn.

Ferguson: Foreshadowed by Fiction?

Michael Brown is dead. Officer Darren Wilson is in hiding. America is at war. Has crime fiction foreshadowed this by our love for debauchery in the arts? Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-Nominated A Clockwork Orange and Ferguson, Missouri:

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Video of the Week: L. Jinny the rapper who beheaded James Foley

[NB: After our post went viral, the original video was removed based on numerous complaints. Fortunately, it was still showing on the account of TrueVision Filmworks. See it while you can. The censors are working overtime.]

Often rap music celebrates criminality or reflects on its effects on communities. But something happened with Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, aka L Jinny, the British rapper who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley earlier this week. He took a turn into the darkest alleys of noir, the kind so dark that it falls under true crime.

L. Jinny is the fellow in the red cap:

Compare the Eyes:

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The Jihadi who beheaded James Foley

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Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, aka L. Jinny

Farm Attacks: Fact or Fiction

a1__201432313840656u78 I have been absent from the writing game for a while. For three years I was trapped in a contract with a corrupt publisher who never paid any royalties. I’m sure you have encountered these types of publishers. If not, then be aware. They are out there. Do your homework before signing anything.

Marketing for my latest novel, King of Sorrow, had only just begun in South Africa and I am right back into the controversy because of my cover design. E-book sales have increased the world over and it is clear that the publishing world is changing. But a book cover will always be a book cover and there are criteria and lines one should never cross.

I’m aware that cover designs vary from UK to US versions. For instance, if you are targeting the UK market then rethink that cool design with blood and guts below the title. In fact, rethink the colour red altogether. Unfortunately blood on my cover design could not be avoided as it was vital to the content of the book.

Great care was taken by Paul, my cover designer, to mute the harshness of the image. The blood on the character’s body had been darkened to simulate the blackness of it in moonlight. Only the blood on the panga, a crude home made machete, kept its colour. Paul, a legend among cover designers, did his very best to intrigue the potential reader, and I was satisfied with the result.

KOS-HiRes Cover(FrontOnly)

So why the controversy in South Africa? Unfortunately the answer is one that has to be dealt with delicately because it strikes a nerve close to home. The novel touches briefly on the topic of farm attacks in SA. For those not in the know, a farm attack is the strangest form of racial genocide encountered, primarily committed by young black men and the victims mostly being white farmers, even American farm managers. The nature of the attacks were usually very brutal, details which I will spare the reader. Needless to say, the full extent of the killings are often covered up and never fully conveyed to the media in fear of a Global reaction.

Over the years the situation has gotten more and more out of hand. The fact that SA statutory law never defined “farm attacks” as specific crimes simply added to the concern of local farmers.

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Politicians claim it is sheer coincidence but it has been shown that the attacks are performed with precision and planning. The attackers have a plan. For now it seems the plan is to exterminate or to chase away the farmers. It is a senseless strategy but there are no indications suggesting any other reason for it.

This is a good example of where the crime author sees opportunity to tell a story. We exaggerate the truth, some more than others, and pour it onto paper. We use relative topics and current events, then we point out the obvious. We want to say, “Look here. This is what is happening. And this is what could happen if we are not careful.”

Back to the book: it seemed like the perfect idea for a story. Think about it, what would be the best way to get away with murder in South Africa? Killing someone on their farm and making it look like a farm attack! If the nature of the attack was always covered up to stop a racial conflict then it would be grounds for the perfect crime. In fact, shortly after finishing my novel, something very similar happened with the infamous Griekwastad Murders. Later a 17 year-old youth was accused of the murdering his entire family and making it look like a farm attack, all to cover up a rape and to receive the inheritance. Initially there was an outcry from white South Africans about the incident, but no one thought about the possibility of non-racial intent.

Now the question is whether I should change the cover to soften the blow for the SA customer?  The victimization of white farmers is disconcerting for the country where the term Apartheid was put on paper. But would a gentler cover really solve anything? I write fiction. Crime and mystery and intrigue are my only vices. The cover design accompanies the tale. It is my way of showing what energy, fat and minerals my product contains. There are leaner safer options in the reading market, and those individuals on a strict sensory diet, should consult the family section.

James
www.jamesfouche.com
@james_fouche

Noir Nation releases ‘The Killer Among Us’ by George Beck

Book Ad - killer among us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Noir Nation is delighted to announce the print publication of George Beck’s The Killer Among Us, a crime thriller by a real cop from the streets of New Jersey.

The year is 1933. The economy has collapsed. Joblessness and homelessness have sent families on treks across America seeking the grail of basic survival. Despite refrigeration, which has replaced blocks of ice covered in sawdust and canvas, powerful automobiles, trains, planes and other engineering wonders, the country has turned into one long dusty soup line. Who has money? Not Tucker Hammond, a Word War I veteran and ex-cop, or his wife Emma, who land on their lonely trek in Palisades Park, a New Jersey town of sordid trickeries and deceit. The Hammonds have come to meet Michael Fitzgerald, a butcher out to avenge his father’s murder and the evil done by his mother, a prostitute, and her lover, a depraved sex fiend.

About the Author George Beck

George Beck was born and raised in New Jersey. In addition to The Killer Among Us, he is also author of Trounce: A Suspense Thriller, and Images of America: Palisades Park. His crime fiction stories have appeared in Noir Nation 4: International Crime Fiction, Flash Fiction Offensive, Shotgun Honey, and Yellow Mama magazine. He’s written articles for NJ Cops Magazine. He’s a police detective, adjunct professor, and PhD candidate.

For more information and to set up an author interview, contact Eddie Vega at editor@noirnation.com.