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A slice of 20 LA noirs, for reading and watching

August 26, 2010 | 11:19 am

Denise Hamilton -- writer, former reporter and editor of the new anthology "Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics" -- has shared some of her noir knowledge with The Times' LA magazine. There she's come up with a list of 20 Noir Essentials focused on Los Angeles.

Going chronologically, her list begins in 1932 with "Fast One" by Paul Cain -- no relation to the better-known James M. Cain -- and ends with 2009''s "LA Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City" by John M. Buntin.

Interestingly, Hamilton's noir list includes books, stories and films. I guess in Los Angeles, the movie of a book casts a long shadow. I've only read (or seen) seven:

"The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler

"The Postman Always Rings Twice" by James M. Cain

"Devil in a Blue Dress" by Walter Mosley

"Blade Runner" (film)

"Chinatown" (film)

"L.A. Confidential" by James Ellroy

"L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City"  by John Buntin

I'd consider all of these classics, too. But since I'm missing 13, that means I'm a little behind on my noir consumption. Reading "Los Angeles Noir 2" might help -- but in the meantime, what are your classic L.A. noir suggestions? 

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Images: "Fast One" cover from Davy Crockett's Almanack; "In a Lonely Place" from Pocket Book Covers.