Best New Noir Fiction for 2021

Someone to Watch Over Me, by Dan Bronson

According to fans of noir fiction, Dan Bronson’s latest novel is an immersive 5-star read.

When did you last read a book that reached out a meaty, battle-scarred fist, grabbed you round the throat and dragged you, struggling, into darkened streets, thick with the stench of cigar smoke and shiny with foul puddles?

If you click over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble to purchase Dan Bronson’s latest offering, Someone to Watch Over Me, you can be assaulted right now!

But in the very best way.

Someone to Watch Over Me is Bronson’s second book but his first foray into noir fiction. And just like a riveting film noir, Someone is chock-full of mysterious shadows, tragic circumstances, and foreboding imagery. In fact, if you listen closely, you may even hear the haunting notes of a sexy jazz saxophone running through the backstory.

Welcome to 1940s Hollywood

Set in 1940s Hollywood, Someone to Watch Over Me comes complete with busty, whispering starlets and the unethical studios who exploit them. And in the middle of it all is Jack Shannon, publicist to the very famous and fixer of bad behavior. Shannon’s employment depends on his skills at subterfuge, so when he’s recruited to safeguard Titanic Studio’s top ticket — blonde, breathy Savannah Stevens — he expects just another day on the job.

But this latest task quickly becomes more than just another assignment. Someone is following the bubbly bombshell, and Shannon is determined to find out the who and why.

Not Your Typical Hardboiled Detective Novel

Bronson’s Jack Shannon is not your stereotypical hardboiled detective, but he does find himself playing the investigator’s role as his association with America’s current sweetheart spirals more and more out of control. He won’t stop until he uncovers what’s going down at Titanic, even if his efforts cost him his job … or his life.

In Someone to Watch Over Me, Dan Bronson, former Hollywood screenwriter and Executive Story Editor at Paramount Pictures with ties to films such as “Witness” and “Pretty in Pink,” channels his formidable writing skills in an exciting new direction. The result is a book we’re expecting to become a best new noir fiction novel of 2021 and Bronson’s flawed-but-well-meaning protagonist, Jack Shannon, a burgeoning new hero for fans of Post-War Hollywood.

Start Your New Noir Fiction Adventure Today

Someone to Watch Over Me is an immersive, satisfying read for anyone who longs to lose themselves in a moody mystery. It’s available in paperback, hardcover, Kindle, and Nook. Grab your copy today. And learn more about the author at the links below.

Dan Bronson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Visit Dan Bronson on Facebook

Today’s Psychological Thriller: What Makes Us Love It So Much?

“A Gripping Psychological Thriller with an Unusual Twist!” a book cover proclaims in big, bold lettering. But the book itself has little to do with the inner workings of the characters’ minds.

Is this truly a psychological thriller? Or has psychological thriller simply become a buzz phrase that we slap haphazardly on the cover of a book to make it more attractive to a select audience?

I’m not criticizing, mind you. For a short period of time, my second book had that tagline on the cover. The idea was that readers searching Amazon for psychological thrillers would also happen upon my book and become instantly intrigued.

I’ve since removed that particular description from my books because, with the exception of Sweet Cold of Winter, they aren’t psychological thrillers at all. They’re literary fiction, and misleading your readers is not only shady, but it’s risky, too. An excited reader who expects a gripping psychological thriller doesn’t want to be met with a cozy mystery or historical fiction.

What Is a Psychological Thriller?

Bill Paxton’s portrayal of an off-the-rails dad in Frailty was the stuff of nightmares.

Readers of psychological thrillers want The Silence of the Lambs. They want The Girl on the Train. Possibly, they want Frailty. Frailty was actually a movie, but it’s still an excellent example of a psychological thriller — dark, inner workings of a disturbed mind? Or messenger of God?

Readers who find something other than what they paid for in a book are apt to leave THE REVIEW.

Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of THE REVIEW. THE REVIEW is a psychological thriller in itself — the stuff of nightmares and Goodreads.

Needed Elements of the Psychological Thriller


But then again, if an author intentionally misrepresents the content of his book, he deserves THE REVIEW. A psychological thriller should leave you wondering exactly who you can trust. It should build tension and contain unexpected plot twists that you never saw coming. Skewed thinking, irrationality, unexpected reality — all are important literary techniques needed for the proper telling of a psychological thriller. And speaking just for myself, I need that A-ha! moment at the end.

I have my own ideas on what makes up a psychological thriller, and some might disagree. But when I see that tagline on the cover of a book, my heart begins to race, and my mouth waters, accordingly. I feel a smile form because the psychological thriller is one of my favorite genres, when it’s done well.

The Psychological Thriller Defined


Cujo was a classic psychological thriller


Author Mark Edwards of The Magpies and Because She Loves Me offers sound advice on what readers should find between the pages of a riveting psychological thriller. In his guest post at Writer’s Digest, Edwards recommends a few key components, including:

  • Average People
  • Unusual Circumstances
  • Recognizable Surroundings
  • Unexpected Plot Twists
  • Tension, Tension, Tension

In other words, the goal is to successfully enact terrifying events on unsuspecting people just like ourselves. The more identifiable the characters, the better. The more mundane the setting, the more we can imagine ourselves inside it.

One of the most impactful books I ever read was Stephen King’s Cujo. Not because the dog was so big and scary, but because I drove an unreliable old beater at the time and could put myself inside that sweltering car with that desperate mom who was so determined to keep her small son safe.

I’m not going to lie. Cujo made me cry. The book ended differently than the movie, and if you’ve read it, you understand. If you haven’t, and you like a good psychological thriller, you should. Some might actually say Cujo leans more toward the horror end of the spectrum, but I disagree. The characters are just relatable enough to feel decidedly real. And real dogs get rabies, no one can deny. Men abuse their wives and kids, mothers have extra-marital affairs, and children are more fragile than adults. As a result — reality.

Reality with a side of OH MY GOD!

THAT’s what makes a good psychological thriller.

Oh, how I love them.


Writer’s Digest