Like Jim Thompson, Daniel Woodrell's novels are about the wretchedness of life on planet earth-- a mode I consider to be the top floor of noir, beyond hard-boiled. In his early Bayou novels, though, Woodrell is writing detective yarns, and is still (for my tastes) still a bit too handy with passages of character exposition-- but his turn of phrase is so sharp that he can often get away with it, as he does here, in Muscle for the Wing:
"As serendipity would have it, Shade escaped charges on all counts, was only stomped by cops once, and outgrew his criminal aspects when he devoted himself to boxing. Over his sporting years, Shade drifted away from Sugie and Tip and a street corner choir of other accomplices. He had since endeavored to go down that endless crooked road that was somehow misnamed 'the straight and narrow.'"