Hard Boiled is a sub genre within the more encompassing category of “mystery”. I've been learning and reading all about it. I'm taking a Detective Fiction course in college. As my parents said “are you even getting credit for that?” As an English minor, Yes, I am.
I feel like an expert. I recently got my test back on it and I feel confident and comfortable in talking to you about on this topic. In a surprising turn of events I actually passed it.
Hard Boiled detective stories are supposed to be “real”. They're appeal was directly targeted at this dominant white male American society. A lot of these writers started out in the Black Mask magazine. It's not a surprise that with this target demographic that putting down the “other” was such a popular pastime. It just reasserted their dominance and expanded on the inferiority of the “other”.
One of the first books we read was the classic, iconic The Maltese Falcon. Dashiell Hammett's crowning achievement. The film adaptation starred Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. This book is perfectly violent. It's one of the cornerstones of the sub genre.
The one I found the most disturbing was Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. Where Dashiell Hammett's problematic way of viewing the world was relatively low key. Raymond Chandler enjoyed being overtly homophobic and misogynist. The one thing he did right was make a striking point on police brutality that's still applicable now.
When you read books like this you realize where our culture came from. The Big Sleep would have been mainstream consumable reading. What he wrote was acceptable. It's crazy to think just how much we our society enjoys oppressing minority groups.