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 fizzle out. Why? With favorite stories, at least, writing a review can help me understand a lasting appeal.
As a category, the stories that hold up best for me are crime stories in the hard-boiled 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 including Joseph Conrad’s Victory and Graham Green’s The Quiet American.
If you don’t know these stories already, you may want to give them a chance.