The Hard Stuff 

"Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off."

— Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

Attention all bourbon sippers, bottle blondes, and barstool detectives: Noir at the Bar is a national phenomenon combining two great tastes that taste great together, crime fiction and alcohol. "There will be booze flowing, plenty of it, and lots of good conversation," says William Boyle, the Oxford Noir at the Bar organizer. "Other than that, the night will be a wildcard — with noir, you never know what doom you'll fall into."

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better collection of Noir at the Bar writers than those at the Oxford event: Readings will be given by Edgar Award-winner Megan Abbott (Dare Me; Bury Me Deep), New York Times best-sellers Ace Atkins (Dirty South; Robert B. Parker's Lullaby) and Tom Franklin (Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter; Smonk), and Writers Guild nominee Chris Offutt (True Blood), along with Scott Phillips (The Ice Harvest); Jack Pendarvis (Cartoon Network's Adventure Time); Derrick Harriell (Cotton); Jedidiah Ayres (Peckerwood); and Boyle (Gravesend).

Part of what makes this installment of Noir at the Bar so rich is that there's an embarrassment of riches in the Ole Miss English Department. "I've been in Oxford since 2008, and I've wanted to organize a Noir since I got here," Boyle says. "When Megan Abbott, one of my favorite writers, came to town to be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence, I knew it had to happen now."

Chandler might advise you arrive early, too. "The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar — that's wonderful."

Noir at the Bar at Proud Larry's, 211 S Lamar, Oxford, MS, Wednesday, February 5th, 9 p.m. Free.

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