Well, research can be your friend, a friend that likes to drink and tell lewd stories. Turns out I guessed right in wanting to write "Bladesman" in a harboiled/noir detective style. It has all the traits of one. So I have some of the books on CD, and I'm looking for more. I hear Elmore Leonard is supposed to be good, so if anybody has any recommendations I'm listening.
I'm getting books by Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane (having trouble finding those) and Dashiell Hammett (if there are books I "just gotta read" by these or anybody else, let me know). From what I can gather, Raymond Chandler is the guy to study. Much of my research says his writing achieved the pinnacle. I have some of the "original source" material done. As a young man I read my Conan Doyle and Christie, my Poe and much of the rest. Sure, I wasn't reading and dissecting the words and structure, and I've forgotten much, but I think enough lingers like stale cigarette smoke in my mind.
A murder does start the book, however there's really no mystery of who dunnit. The "mystery" part revolves around the "why" they dunnit. There's also the reverse detective story, the "how are they going to catch the murderer" type. And while police are still an option, it's not one that our main character and his cohorts will ever take seriously. So without really meaning to, I've been wrapped in a rug and stuffed in the trunk of the hardboiled detective genre. To be sure, this is also an urban fantasy novel, can't get around that. What else would you call a novel that's near future, dystopian, west coast after the earthquake and a Chinese Invasion, economic collapse and it's aftermath, all with swords and magic anyway. There's a decidedly low-tech grunginess brought about by economics alongside the high tech geegaws and work flow. And there is magic, very limited in who can use it, but very powerful.
So now it remains to be seen if I can keep all these voices separate in my head straight to write the three novels (neo-noir, high fantasy, and contemporary satire). Or there's going to be some weird mix ups.