What the heck is noir anyway?

First, I can’t pronounce it. Second, I wasn’t even sure exactly what it was, so I had to look it up. Bing explained, (and this is directly from their site):

noir[nwär]NOUNa genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.”his film proved that a Brit could do noir as darkly as any American”a film or novel in the noir genre.”he says he’s making a noir”

The reason the word mattered to me is: 1. A friend of mine writes it, Les Edgerton. And his is grim. And #2. I just started reading Our Noir, a collection of short stories that includes a Louis Kincaid novella, by P.J. Parrish. I’ve read the first three stories, and OMG are they good! Dark, but good. The editing is HORRIBLE. More missing words, use of the wrong word, or grammar mistakes than I’ve seen in a long time. And that’s saying something these days. .But the writing is rich and weighty. The characters are complex and well done. So far, I love what I’ve read!

The cover reminds me of the True Crime magazines my grandmother used to read. (She wasn’t a warm, fuzzy person and preferred murder stories to grandchildren. I love them both:) But these stories are a lot more sophisticated than Granny enjoyed.

OUR NOIR: A collection of short stories and the Louis Kincaid novella CLAWBACK by [PJ Parrish]

OUR NOIR: A collection of short stories and the Louis Kincaid novella CLAWBACK – Kindle edition by Parrish, PJ. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

I don’t know if any of you have tried noir, and I’m still trying to decide if the Louis Kincaid novels fit the genre. He seems a little too honorable to me, (not the one that features his romantic interest, the female detective Joe, though). Or maybe it’s the villains who define the genre. Do they have to be a bit depraved? or darker than usual? Do any of you have a favorite noir author? And how do you define them? Just curious.