Best Nouveau Noir Writer

Peter Plate

In novelist Plate's San Francisco, fog "murders" the streets, and the denizens of the Tenderloin and the Mission emerge from their residential hotels to commit crimes, take revenge, and talk to God. The writer, who developed his chops while squatting in the Mission, has created a noir S.F. in his books (among them Police and Thieves, Angels of Catastrophe, and his most recent, Fogtown), but not one nostalgic for the good ol' gangsters of the '30s. Instead, his stylized prose looks to the dark side of the city of the present, a recognizable if unlovely San Francisco, from the gum and spit coating Larkin Street's grubby sidewalks to the junkie shooting up on the corner of 16th Street and Mission. Seeing Plate live is something not to be missed. The author, decked in his signature dark work pants and shirt, watch cap, and sunglasses, recites huge portions of his books from memory, grabbing the microphone like a rock star and throwing his soul into the performance. Not your typical reading at the library.

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