This is an article by J. Mark Bertrand, an author of crime novels who also blogs about Bibles over at Bible Design Blog. (They’re listed on the sidebar…good reading if you’re a book nerd like me.) I knew that he wrote novels, and I knew they were crime novels, but I didn’t know they were noir. His admission early in the article that he likes noir was a little bit of an unpleasant jolt for me, because it’s a little unnerving to find out that you have more than one thing in common with someone when you’ve been accustomed to thinking of them only in one way. I suppose it’s my fault — the Internet can let you feel like you know someone better than you do, when it actually might be far from the case. In the same way I felt a little bit of an unpleasant jolt when I found out that Bertrand is a Presbyterian — I suppose I assumed that anybody who loves the Word that much must be Lutheran. In that way the Internet can be more of a mirror than a window.
The article’s still a good one, although you can tell a Reformed person wrote it (so weigh his theological statements closely.) It appeared in the Presbyterian Church in America’s denominational magazine (somewhat like our Forward in Christ, I imagine.) He’s right on when he talks about the moral ambiguity of noir, and how that’s simultaneously its best feature and its biggest drawback. It reflects reality better than some other kinds of fiction, I think, because it addresses sin and its consequences unblinkingly, albeit from a worldling’s perspective. I read less noir than I used to, partly because I read less in general (lots of other stuff to do), and partly because I have less of a taste for it nowadays. But I still pick up a noir novel every now and then.