Take a lurid look at LA noir

Right from the get-go Taschen's massive 475 page book "Dark City: The Real Los Angeles Noir" is visually arresting. The 50's black & white crime scene photo on the triple-thick book cover is shot thru with bullet holes, which reveal dripping blood on a LA street map inside. Great start!

Also inside are hundreds of lurid images of famous and infamous crime scenes: kidnappings, suicides, gangland murders, and general vintage mayhem from the gritty streets of LA. See the glamorous movie stars, grimy gangsters, hookers, pimps, drag queens, and shady gamblers in glorious back and white police photos and tabloid spreads. There's also reproductions of actual period tabloid papers, detective magazines, and gossip rags bound into the book, complete with vintage ads for weight loss gizmos, patent medicines, and mail-order correspondence classes ("train at home!"). Fantastic!

And what look at LA Noir would be complete without an appendix full of period movies and books to continue your studies. My favorite:  Stanley Kubrick's 1956 "The Killing" with Sterling Hayden as the hapless ex-con who masterminds a tricky racetrack heist.  The flashbacks and time jumps from multiple criminal characters' POV was decades before "Pulp Fiction."