Chad Taylor is the author of the novels DEPARTURE LOUNGE, PACK OF LIES, HEAVEN, SHIRKER and ELECTRIC, and the short story collection THE MAN WHO WASN'T FEELING HIMSELF. HEAVEN was released as a feature film by Miramax in 1998. His latest novel is THE CHURCH OF JOHN COLTRANE.
Chad Taylor's style can be described as neo-noir. His themes include murder and love, sex, reality, identity and life in an intense, urban environment. He acknowledged the noir label in a 2009 interview with Primastoria.com: "I’ve basically deconstructed crime novels: I’ve taken aspects of crime novels, rewritten them, taken them apart. People used to ask me, “What do you write?”... I just don’t know. But you have come up with a word for what you do. ‘Noir’ kind of fits it."
In 1998, his novel "Heaven" was made into a feature film by Miramax. The film was produced by Sue Rogers, directed by Scott Reynolds and starred Martin Donovan. Taylor has also written for film including the original screenplay for the short film "Funny Little Guy" (1994), directed by Chris Graves. In May 2003 the NZ Listener listed him as one of "New Zealand's Top Ten Novelists Under 40."
"Electric" (2003) is set in Auckland during the power cuts that blacked out the city in 1998. Time Out selected the novel as Book of the Week on Jan 22, 2003. Time Out critic Roger Howard said: "His setting is a New Zealand you won't see in Lord of the Rings: a city suffering from the same urban malaise as glitzier metropolises on other continents. Our protagonist, Samuel Usher, is a drug addict who supports himself by recovering data from damaged computers. He falls in with a couple of drifters who occupy themselves with recondite mathematics. But the favoured activity for all three involves powders on polished surfaces. When Jules dies in mysterious circumstances, Usher sets off to find out why. Thematically, Taylor's concerns are twofold: the infinite extent of digitised culture; and the limitless flood of narcotics (not to mention the global industry behind it). "Electric" looks at what happens when chaos rises up to warp these apparently unassailable worlds."
The novel 'Departure Lounge' (2006) is based on the 1979 Erebus crash. Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley said of the novel: "His style owes a lot to Raymond Chandler and lesser apostles of noir, but at the same time it's very much his own. His prose is spare but with a strong undercurrent of emotion; "cool" certainly is the word for him, but there's a good deal of heat beneath."
In 2008 Guardian critic Maxim Jakubowski described Chad Taylor as a cult author: "Taylor is a minimalist whose tortured characters populate a world where silence and night form a disconsolate backdrop for their musings and meanderings across a landscape of bleak, concrete cities... (He has) a profound empathy for the losers in our midst and an acute sense of place and the bizarre in everyday life."
In 2011 Guardian critic Darragh McManus picked 'Shirker' (2003) as one of his Halloween reads: "Set in New Zealand, this tale of one man cheating death is one of the best crime novels I've ever read. Beautiful artful prose, a great, twisting noir story, and a seriously spooky, sexy atmosphere. You'll feel all sorts of chills running along your spine."