Hey Susan. Here to tag your story from the forums. I've looked around your page to see what's new and this little project caught my attention at once. I love how it started and I'm determined to follow it through as you unfold the mysteries that lie beneath Hogwarts' surface.
Admittedly I have no prior experience to 'the film noir', apart from some short information I read on the Internet, so I might not be most helpful on that field. However the little I've read has made me want to read this story even more. I've decided to find a movie or two in this specific genre so I might familiarize myself better to the layout and what defines a film noir, all the better to understand your story. If you have any recommendations it'd be lovely :)
Now on to the actual review! The start off of this story was well paced in my opinion. It felt pretty stable, not going too fast but not terribly slow either. Even though the action unfolding in this chapter only took place at one particular setting, namely Hogwarts, there was enough description of the surroundings which intertwined with Moody's dark thoughts and ominous premonitions made this chapter come alive in itself.
We have the ground base of the story: something horrible is about to happen if action is not taken. Moody feels that many things are amiss and he is determined to find out what, despite the elusive nature of the Headmaster's questions. If he doesn't answer straight, Alastor must know that expecting straightness from others is all but an illusion.
As to the characters you really have set a task for you. Moody, Dumbledore, McGongall. They are not an easy bunch but you have experience with at least one if I remember correctly (McGonagall?) so it might not be that difficult. Up until this point everything was OK with how you handled the characters. Moody is great to read about and I must admit I ravage any story I can find about him (more so if they're yours /blush). He definitely needs more love on the Archives!
I'm most excited to see how this will progress and what you have in store for the characters. Until next time!
Author's Response: Thank you, Debra! It's wonderful to hear that, of all the stories I've been working on, you chose this one. It's an unusual story, particularly when set among the romantic comedies that are ever-popular on this site, so it's interesting to see how many readers choose this kind of story instead. I've always loved reading mysteries (though writing them has proven to be far more of a challenge), so I find myself writing the kind of story that I'd want to read. It means a lot that you've enjoyed this first chapter and are intrigued by the mysteries of Hogwarts. :D
Film noir is one of my favourite genres, especially in movies, but "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett and the stories by Raymond Chandler are the "classics" of noir fiction. They're very hardboiled, a precursor to a lot of today's crime fiction, but there's something interesting about the style - not only is it often confusing in plot, but it's just so dark and cruel, portraying an unforgiving world that's lost all sense of right and wrong. That's a difficult thing to apply to the Potterverse, particularly characters like Moody and McGonagall, whose loyalties are obviously on the side of good. Moody's ethics may be shady, but he's unquestionably loyal to the Order. Yet in this story, it can't be so clear-cut.
The descriptions are one of the most exciting aspects of writing this story - I love having the opportunity to make readers look at familiar things in new ways, and seeing Hogwarts for what it is in many ways - a Gothic castle with a long history, both good and bad - is fascinating. And Moody is the perfect character with which to explore these possibilities because he has this morbid, paranoid streak that sees the negative side of everything. It's one of the reasons why I love writing him. :D
Thank you again for the fantastic review! It means a lot that you're interested in seeing where this story goes next - I hope that you continue to enjoy it!