‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.‘ This is a classic line from the movie Casablanca. And it fits the plot of author Christopher Moore’s new book Noir, in stores Tuesday, April 17, from William Morrow.
The year is 1947 in San Francisco post war. The story centers around Sammy Tifflin, known as Two-Toes’ a bartender at an unnamed saloon. He works for Italian boss Sal Gabelli (and he’s everything you think a mobster would be). Sammy keeps to his job as he had some trouble in his past and has a limp. There’s also the crooked cop who comes around for free drinks and he show his power. There’s Eddie Moo Shoes, Sam’s best friend (and he’s oriental and looked down on during this time).
Then there is the dame who walks into the bar one night that turns heads with the regulars. She wants a drink and some conversation. Her name is Stilton (like the cheese she says). Sammy is suddenly in love or at least lust. He starts calling her The Cheese and they hit it off. She leaves and he wonders if he will ever see her again. She has a checkered past as well. He tracks her to working as a waitress in a hash joint. They soon connect and start dating.
When Eddie takes Sammy to a noodle house in Chinatown, he sees old men drinking snake urine to help them with erectile issues. Sammy gets a great idea and gets a snake smuggled into the country and to the bar. When Sal sees the crate he opens it and the snake attacks and kills him. This sets off a chain of events that puts Sammy, The Cheese and others in deadly harm and might even involve a UFO.
The story is reads like a classic 1940’s film noir from different points of view telling the story (and one of them is a funny surprise). It tells the mood of the city during that year and the language might be tough for some since it represents that time. It’s a fun, enjoyable read that I could picture as a film as I was reading it.
Author Christopher Moore researched the city at the time and went to great lengths to make the location and feel of the story as accurate as he could. And he succeeds on every level. See for yourself on Tuesday, April 17th.
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