The archetype was born: men out for justice and/or revenge, pounding perpetually rainy streets in a dark American city. But isn’t he an anachronism today?

“I suspect he always was,” says author Lawrence Block, who has been writing noir for 60 years. “Which is not to say that there aren’t a fair number of such lads walking around at present. I suppose the character owes much of his appeal to being the sort of person the reader would be if he could.”

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