The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler, is what I would call a “classic” book. Timeless, still riveting after all these years, and an example of what great fiction writing is all about.
I’m a sucker for a good noir novel, steeped in cynical humor and the occasional genre “twist.” Chandler hits all the marks that defined this genre, but does so without it ever feeling forced or derivative. While the dialogue definitely felt a little dated, it’s understandable considering the book was written almost 80 years ago. Taking that into consideration, this felt remarkably fresh and relevant, a story you could see playing out today just as easily as back then (except for the fact, of course, that when’s the last time you’ve seen a P.I. anywhere?)
I’d love to see someone take the noir genre and mash it up in a fresh way with cyber P.I. work, or an artificial intelligence that’s a detective, for instance. Something that keeps the cynicism and feel of the pulp fiction novels of yesteryear but relays it with a new vision. All you authors out there, go to it.
(And for those familiar with Chandler’s novel, I highly suggest checking out Paul Tremblay’s noir knock-off, “The Little Sleep,” about a detective with narcolepsy. Quite entertaining. See my review of his novel here).
The Big Sleep is currently on sale on Amazon for just $3.00. Definitely worth the coin.