If you'd really like to cook your brain with some outstandingly bleak writing, check out the works of Cornell Woolrich. I mean this guy puts the "black" in Noir.
A contemporary of fellow hardboiled writers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich starting writing stories for mystery "pulp" magazines in the late 1920's and 1930's. It wasn't until the 1940's that Woolrich really hit his stride and started writing quality dark novels.
A good starting point into the dreary world of Woolrich is Rendezvous in Black (1948). The story is set in the early 1940's and revolves around the murder of Johnny Marr's fiance Dorothy as she waits for him on a street corner. Enraged at the loss of his true love, Johnny vows revenge against the drunken men responsible for Dorothy's death and exacts shocking vengeance against them.
Woolrich writes with a flair for details and the descriptive sense to make those details come alive. His "bad" characters are really bad and his "good" characters are even worse, but somehow the paranoia and bleakness of Woolrich's stories come across as enlightening to me. So with the coming of winter and the grey days ahead, why not enhance the dreariness of your day with a book by this macabre master of dark and brutal literature.
While your at it, why not watch one of his films after reading one of his stories. Some of his more memorable stories that were made into film noir classics include The Leopard Man, Black Angel and Rear Window.
Submitted by Dan@Central