He’s also a fine crime writer, given to terse descriptions of gritty and dark Grand Guignol violence. As in his novel: SLAMMER.
Allan Guthrie is rather adamant that no character in a noir novel should be sympathetic. He himself pulls this off brilliantly, somewhat like James M. Cain but with buckets rather than squibs of blood.
My own feelings are somewhat different. If I can’t sympathize with its protagonist, a book usually doesn’t cut very deep. Avoiding empathy, one risks writing what amount to mere manifestos of gore and academic exercises in mayhem.
I want to put you there and make you feel the action in a hair-raising way. This includes the risk of falling in love with a character who might be ill-fated, even doomed.