FATALE by Manchette is a shotgun blast of a noir novel

Fatale (New York Review Books Classics)
By Jean-Patrick Manchette

This shotgun blast of a noir novel hits hard and is over fast, and I enjoyed every second of it. It's my favorite type of story--the kind with no good guys, just characters who are varying levels of bad.

Fatale was written by Jean-Patrick Manchette in 1977. Manchette's a French crime novelist who's credited with reinventing the genre. There he is below, smoking a cigarette beneath an impressive mane of 1970's hair.

Manchette basically takes the classic femme fatale character from noir fiction (the one who always double crosses the protagonist and leads him to his downfall) and makes her the protagonist. Aimèe is an attractive and deadly woman who goes from town to town, manipulating rich men and murdering for money. Most of the action takes place in Blèville, where she sets up her biggest score yet and then--SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT--has a change of heart, which leads to here eventual downfall. 

The novel works as a hard-hitting crime story, but with lots of existentialism and satire, and while it's not overtly political, politics are definitely in the subtext. If yo dug my novel Coyote, you might dig this one as well.

Bran is a writer of fiction. His debut novel Coyote is available now on iTunes, Amazon, Kobo and more. Want a free story?  Sign up for Bran's newsletter The Lowdown and he'll send you an ebook download.