I think I read my first noir fiction over the weekend. I read "Driver" by James Sallis. I had never heard of Sallis until I read the comic by the Unshelved guys. I had been thinking about reading a piece of noir fiction for a while ever since Pollack mentioned the genre in his blog back when he was reading and editing noir fiction.
Not only was the novel noir it was Hollywood noir. Have I written the word 'noir' enough yet? The scene you seen in the Unshelved comic strip is the opening scene of the book. From there you follow the fascinating life story of the character just known as Driver from teenage runaway to respected stunt driver and getaway driver. Three story lines are weaved together in this clever novel. The story of his early life as a child and runaway, his day to day life as a stunt driver and L.A. resident and the story of the robbery gone wrong that we are in the middle of when the book opens.
This jumping around in time and place can be a little confusing at times but it really all ties together nicely because Driver is on just about every page. Only near the end when the main plot is tying up do we lose his viewpoint for a few pages here and there. By that time Driver is stuck so firmly in your head that he's there with you as your are reading.
The best book are the ones you wish hadn't ended so soon.