Pulp Filter
November 6, 2009 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Pulp Filter: I'm looking for books (fiction or non) that read like the recent Bond films: dark, thrilling, brutal, and glamorous.
posted by roger ackroyd to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
James Ellroy's work is all of those things, if not always at the same time.
posted by dortmunder at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lee Child's Reacher novels are rarely glamorous, but they hit the other three.
posted by rtha at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The original Bond books - the Daniel Craig movies are much closer to the tone of Fleming's originals than the rather camp Moore & Connery ones.
posted by rodgerd at 10:03 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Have you tried the original Bond books? Faulks did a great job writing in the style of Fleming in "Devil May Care" but I never liked any other non-Fleming Bond.
posted by Fiery Jack at 10:04 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I did give the originals a go a while back but maybe I need to search them out again.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:05 AM on November 6, 2009

You need you some Cornell Woolrich.
Dark, brutal, noir.
Good stuff.
posted by willmize at 10:12 AM on November 6, 2009

Response by poster: btw, I should mention that I've read a lot of the Hard Case Crime reissues.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:19 AM on November 6, 2009

Check out the Bourne Identity trilogy by Ludlum. Movies were good but they completely changed the plot around from the books.
posted by travis08 at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Charlie Huston's books are right up this alley, maybe falling short on the "glamorous," tho: Caught Stealing is a brutal little wrong-man thriller (there are two more in the series I haven't read), and the Joe Pitt books (the 1st, 4th and 5th are great, the others just pretty good) adds vampirism into the brutal pulpy mess. He writes very quick, ugly, funny modern stuff in the Hammett tradition.
posted by mediareport at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

You might also enjoy Dave Zeltserman's Pariah, which is a satirical novel about a Boston gangster who becomes a celebrity after being acquitted of a particularly terrible crime. It's a very effective skewering of the publishing industry, the celebrity industrial complex, and the public's romantic view of gangsters.
posted by dortmunder at 10:33 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

seconding a recommendation of James Ellroy
posted by tylerfulltilt at 10:33 AM on November 6, 2009

And, have you tried The Parker novels?
posted by dortmunder at 10:37 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey is somewhat like that, if you like a more occult / fantasy setting.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:50 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series should be up your alley -- brutal, thrilling, and dark is the perfect description. There's some glamour, too, but more on the decadent/faded/tattered side of the spectrum, given that they're set in Germany during or immediately after the Nazis (except for the most recent one, A Quiet Flame, which is set in Argentina). Of the five, I was most blown away by A German Requiem (book 3 in the Berlin Noir trilogy) and The One from the Other.
posted by scody at 10:59 AM on November 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, and re: Ellroy. Definitely check him out; I wouldn't start with one of his more recent novels, though (e.g., Blood's a Rover or The Cold Six Thousand), as they're continuations of his current USA Underworld trilogy and his written style has gotten so... well, so hyper-Ellroyesque that I think it would be hard for a newcomer to his work to get into. My recommendation is to start with his L.A. Quartet (they're all great, but The Big Nowhere is my favorite of the bunch).
posted by scody at 11:10 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

(guh, should be "his writing style..." My writing style has gotten very Haven't Had My Tea Yet.)
posted by scody at 11:18 AM on November 6, 2009

Dark, thrilling and brutal is easy--it's glamorous that's the problem. People have named some great books, but, for the most part, they're missing the glamor. Lee Child and Donald Westlake are great authors, but their books aren't glamorous. Ellroy comes a little closer, but the Fleming Bond novels do glamor better than he does. Barry Eisler's John Rain books, and John Burdett's Bangkok books, might come close to what you're looking for.
posted by box at 11:51 AM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

2nd Barry Eisler's John Rain books.
posted by juv3nal at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could also check out some of John Courtney Grimwood's work; you might find the Arabesk Trilogy to your taste.
posted by rodgerd at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2009

Seconding Charlie Huston. The second in his Caught Stealing series, Six Bad Things, was the first of his books I read and was forever hooked.
posted by Atom12 at 1:47 PM on November 6, 2009

My favorite rock climbing detective can be found here.
posted by mearls at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2009

Okay. Right up my alley. Thirding, fourthing, whatever... James Ellroy (White Jazz) and Charlie Huston (The Mystical Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death). For more brooding decadent glamor, try Brett Easton Ellis (The Informers, Less than Zero, The Rules of Attraction). However, for pure noir, try a female - Megan Abbot. You can start with Die a Little and work your way up to Queenpin. If you aren't afraid to read a "comic book" (apologies to all the graphic novel aficianados out there), try Frank Miller's Sin City series. More? Need a sci-fi bent? How about Richard K. Morgan and the Takeshi Kovacs series beginning with Altered Carbon. Thrilling, brutal, dark... that's my cup of tea. If you want more, drop me an email.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 at 2:25 PM on November 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

was just going to suggested Richard Morgan, though again, I think the glamour is largely missing. Has the rest if it in spades, though!
posted by purenitrous at 9:12 AM on November 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I've loaded up my phone with samples from these authors courtesy the Kindle app. (Except Ellroy. He seems to be resisting Amazon's siren call.)
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:44 AM on November 8, 2009

« Older How to disable Dismiss All button for Outlook...   |   Other sources for physical intimacy? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.