Tag Archives: noir

“Too Close to Miss” and Modern Noir

There’s a point about two-thirds of the way through Too Close to Miss, John Perich’s excellent debut novel,* right after the plot twist that sends the story into its final act, where Mara Cunningham (the novel’s protagonist) drops a reference to The Untouchables. It’s a fairly obvious reference–even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ll recognize the line–and the way Perich casually puts it into Cunningham’s words is a tribute to the easy style he brings throughout the novel. But, more importantly, that moment–a character in 2011 referencing a line from a 1987 movie about a Prohibition-era crime fighter–crystallizes the tension and play between eras that gives Too Close to Miss its sense of life.

(Note: I will try to avoid spoiling the plot; as with any mystery, Too Close to Miss is more enjoyable on first read if you don’t know how it ends. I think that nothing I mention plot-wise happens in the second half of the book, but be warned.)

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