The austere beauty and bleakness of the Northern Irish landscape provides the perfect backdrop for the BBC's latest thriller Bloodlands.
In his first foray into television and crime noir, writer Chris Brandon says the idea for the drama, starring James Nesbitt as a detective forced to face his past when he is sent on the hunt for a mythical assassin, came from a 'distinct sense of place'.
Having spent part of his life growing up in Strangford, Brandon's imagination was sparked by the 'scarred and sodden hillsides, windswept islands and bouldered shorelines' and the story he set out to tell was of a man whose journey was linked to the land.
But it is not just the grey, melancholic setting that lends itself to crime noir. The legacy of violence and the omnipresence of the past gives locally-based crime fiction an added dimension. In noir fiction, right and wrong are not clearly defined and the anti-heroes, such as Nesbitt's Tom Brannick, are deeply flawed. Bloodlands' central character has one foot in the present and another in the past.
It is this intriguing mix of history, setting and atmosphere that has brought Northern Ireland to the forefront of crime noir and crime fiction.
Almost 10 years on from the first series of BBC psychological drama The Fall, Belfast is now emerging as the capital of crime noir - or Nordy Noir, as it has been dubbed in crime writing circles.
Such is the growing success of the genre here, Belfast now hosts its own Noireland Crime Fiction Festival while local crime fiction writers are flying the flag for the genre both at home and abroad.
The third series of ITV's Belfast-based crime drama Marcella, created by crime noir master Hans Rosenfeldt and starring Anna Friel, has just ended.
And though not actually set in Belfast, cult series Line of Duty, filmed in the city, is set to return to our screens later this month.
Chris Brandon, writer of Bloodlands, which is produced by Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio, says Northern Ireland is ideally placed to be the new capital of crime noir.
"I remember when The Fall was showing, there was a lot of discussion at the time that Belfast would be a great place for crime noir," he said.
"In Bloodlands, Brannick is haunted by his past. That's a noirish theme, like in Raymond Chandler's novels. There's that legacy of intrigue and violence.
"Noir is like a black mirror which we reflect ourselves into. We're always looking behind us. I set out to tell a story that has a certain aspect of allegory in it. Things are so oblique. Nothing is entirely right or wrong, much like the landscape of Northern Ireland, there are grey areas.
"But it's not just the landscape that lends itself to noir. The people have a dark sense of humour; a survival mechanism that has helped them get through, not just their past, but tough winters, tough conditions.
"To have that dark humour coming through, along with the landscape, elevates something that could otherwise be quite dour.
"Belfast's urban landscape is unique, with everyone living in the same valley. Geographically, it lends itself to good noir."
In 2012, the year before The Fall first aired, Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin, who created Detective Inspector Rebus, predicted that Belfast would be the next capital of crime fiction.
The novelist said crime writers had a wealth of material to draw on, post-Troubles. And he said Belfast was a fascinating city with a unique character of its own which would make for a great setting.
He said: "Belfast, like Edinburgh, is a city of character. That's what crime fiction does, it gives you a great sense of place.
"I find Belfast a fascinating city to walk around. It's full of great locations, great pubs, great characters. Walk around the corner and you'll find something else interesting to look at. For the writer, that's a good starting point."
Angela McMahon co-directs the Noireland Festival with David Torrans, who runs Belfast's No Alibis bookshop and publishing company. Both have noticed a huge surge in the numbers of crime writers coming out of Northern Ireland over the last 20 years.
Authors like Adrian McKinty, Steve Cavanagh, Eoin McNamee, Gerard Brennan, Brian McGilloway, Colin Bateman and Stuart Neville have put Northern Irish crime fiction on the literary map.
But while the genre was previously male dominated, female authors such as Claire Allan, Clare McGowan, Kelly Creighton and Sharon Dempsey, who all write about Northern Ireland, have since come to the fore and are producing 'exciting' novels in the genre.
"It's fantastic to see so much crime fiction coming out of Northern Ireland," said Angela. "For such a small place, we have so many brilliant writers and so much exciting fiction on page and screen.
"Belfast is very much the crime noir capital now. I lived in London for 20 years and since I moved home, I've talked to many crime writers in different cities who are so excited about what is happening here.
"Our past has formed us and it shouldn't hold us back. In fact, it gives us another dimension that people are fascinated by and that inspires writers. Crime fiction coming out of here is helping us digest our past and heal from it as it's addressed in a safe way.
"Our writers are now addressing contemporary issues but a lot of them have links with the past. We always had a bit of an edge because of our past, but it's a creative edge now and that huge evolution is attracting a bigger audience."
David Torrans, who has been credited for helping to give a platform to many local writers, cites the success of Line of Duty as a key factor in drawing crime dramas like Bloodlands and Marcella to Belfast.
And he believes that timing has been a factor in allowing local writers to delve into Northern Ireland's past, in a safe and nuanced way.
"Although Line of Duty isn't set here, the fact it's filmed here is a wonderful representation of the city and how it looks," he said.
"On one hand we have this industrial city that appears to be prosperous and dynamic but underneath that, there's a wealth of social inequality and contained tensions which lead to conflict and a pressure build up.
"People who used violence before now must find new ways of maintaining control and all these flaws allow for narratives to develop.
"Many authors didn't want to write about the Troubles because it was part of everyday existence. People who weren't from here could write about it because they were writing from a distance.
"Authors who live here are trying to approach it in a different way now, without appearing crass and exploitative."
Derry's Brian McGilloway, author of the hugely successful Inspector Devlin and Lucy Black series, set in the North West, says both Northern Ireland's setting and its grim past sit well with noir fiction.
"We've had Tartan Noir and Scandi Noir and given that we share the same dark, gloomy weather and long winters as Northern Europe, you can see why this place suits the tone of crime noir," he said.
"The mood and setting are just right. From a setting point of view, we have this melancholic, grey, overcast atmosphere and a melancholic stoicism in the people that suits noir fiction.
"But what's more important than that is that a crime novel starts at the end. It begins with a death and the narrative then moves forward. We are constantly looking back, reflecting on our past,
"The ending brings us to a point where we understand the beginning. We're constantly moving forward and backwards simultaneously, which reflects where we are in Northern Ireland."
Fellow Derry author Claire Allan has just had her crime novel The Liar's Daughter optioned for television by a major UK production company. She is currently working on the screen play for the 'domestic noir' thriller, which, like all her books, is set here.
"I'm fascinated by the crime genre because it allows us to hold a looking glass up to the darker elements of society," she said.
"Also, ninety nine times out of one hundred, we get justice in crime novels which we don't get in real life."
Claire agrees that the geography of Northern Ireland - from the mountains to the mean streets of the cities - and the legacy of the past, present writers with the ideal noirish backdrop.
"I think it was Ian Rankin who said Belfast is the most noir place in the world," she said. "We have such a rich tapestry here and so much dark humour too. We're really ripe for the picking."