I relate to stories, whether in books or in movies, in much the same way I relate to other people. We spend some time together. We hit it off or we don’t. Even if initially positive, some relationships last and some don’t. Why? People change. Circumstances change. With favorite stories, at least, I find that writing a review helps me understand a lasting appeal.
As a category, the stories that most appeal to me are crime stories in the hardboiled and noir traditions. Along with classics by Simenon, Hammett, and Chandler, these include George V. Higgins’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle, William Burroughs’s Junky, Sjowall and Wahloo’s “The Story of Crime” series, the mid-50s Westerns of Anthony Mann (with Jimmy Stewart) and Budd Boetticher (with Randolph Scott), and also crime-tinged literary fiction such as Joseph Conrad’s Victory and Graham Green’s The Quiet American.
Here are a few of my favorites: