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36 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't want to mess with this guy!
Hardcase was possibly the best action-filled book I've ever read. Joe Kurtz is an awesome character and pulls the reader into his life in the first line. If you are looking for a fast-paced, thrilling page turner, this is the book for you!
Dan Simmons has never let me down with any of the books I've read. He is a highly versatile author that you could never get...
Published on June 20 2003 by Avid Reader

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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard boiled egg salad
There isn't much Dan Simmons hasn't done. He's written full blown horror novels, sci-fi sagas, short stories, mainstream thrillers and a few books that fall between the cracks. He effectively hops from genre to genre, expanding their limitations or, as he does in Hardcase, works well within their boundaries. He doesn't want to enlighten or impress us with his prose - he...
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by jeff smith


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4.0 out of 5 stars From the chameleon writer of many genres, a good detective novel, March 30 2007
This review is from: Hardcase (Hardcover)
Dan Simmons writes Science Fiction (he won the Hugo award for Hyperion in 1989). Dan Simmons writes Horror (Bram Stoker Award, Carrion Comfort). Dan Simmons writes Fantast (World Fantasy Award, Song of Kali). And Mr. Simmons writes detective fiction.

These different genres mostly have different writing styles. Instead of trying to force one type of writing into another genre, Mr. Simmons changes his colors, adjusts his pacing, wording and style for the hard-core nasty world of private investigation.

Hardcase is the first of three (and we hope more) Joe Kurtz novels. Hard Freeze (A Joe Kurtz Novel) and Hard as Nails (A Joe Kurtz Novel) are the other two. Joe Kurtz isn't mean and nasty, but he also has no compunction about sticking a man's hand in a disposal or running over an unconscious man's legs. Kurtz has his own code. Getting out of jail after following that code, Kurtz throws himself in the middle of a Mafia mess that he learned about in prison, and starts churning up the mob and old acquaintances.

The pacing of this novel is well done, the dialogue believable. The plot integrates several subplots well, although some of the plot twists are tipped off early (ain't this called foreshadowing?).

I also liked how Mr. Simmons slides in a reference to one of his other books, The Crook Factory, about a spyring in Cuba run by Hemingway (see page 221 in the paperback for the reference).

Language and graphic violence make this an unsuitable read for kids. Everyone else will enjoy it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hard boiled egg salad, Jan. 28 2004
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This review is from: Hardcase (Mass Market Paperback)
There isn't much Dan Simmons hasn't done. He's written full blown horror novels, sci-fi sagas, short stories, mainstream thrillers and a few books that fall between the cracks. He effectively hops from genre to genre, expanding their limitations or, as he does in Hardcase, works well within their boundaries. He doesn't want to enlighten or impress us with his prose - he wants to grab us by the collar, put a knee to our groin and kick us down a flight of stairs. Hardcase is just Dan Simmons doodling between larger projects. As a matter of fact I'd be surprised if it took Simmons as much time to write this areodynamic novel as it takes to read it. Try to imagine a master chef at a 5 star restaurant making an egg salad sandwich on his day off. Hardcase is Dan Simmons egg salad recipe.
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1.0 out of 5 stars I don't get it, Oct. 22 2003
By 
L. Nicholas Deane "Nick Deane" (Montuak, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hardcase (Hardcover)
Everyone here really seems to like this book. As a matter of fact, I read it because of a recommendation here.
I have to admit, I'm a sucker for the hard-boiled school, as this book certainly is. However, I thought the book was complete waste of time. Every character, including the hero, is extremely one-dimensional, and the book was very formulaic. Maybe his other stuff is good, but don't bother with this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't want to mess with this guy!, June 20 2003
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This review is from: Hardcase (Mass Market Paperback)
Hardcase was possibly the best action-filled book I've ever read. Joe Kurtz is an awesome character and pulls the reader into his life in the first line. If you are looking for a fast-paced, thrilling page turner, this is the book for you!
Dan Simmons has never let me down with any of the books I've read. He is a highly versatile author that you could never get bored with. His selection of books vary from Horror to Sci-Fi and he writes each brilliantly!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Yikes, May 2 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hardcase (Hardcover)
I'm a huge fan of both Westlake and Stark so of course I grabbed up this book when I saw the taglines and reviews. Unfortunetly, this comes across as well written as a Mack Bolan (The Executioner) novel disguised as a mystery. VERY(!!) simple and cliched - I won't be checking out this writer's other novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hotter than an Extra Spicy Buffalo Wing, Feb. 13 2003
By 
Victor Catano (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardcase (Mass Market Paperback)
Some authors like to ease you into a story. You know, introduce characters, set the scene, establish the tone...
Dan Simmons is not one of those authors.
The first eleven pages of this novel are probably the most action packed and violent introduction to a story I've ever read. I loved it. I read the first chapter in the store, and I ran right over to the register to buy it.
And, remarkably, Simmons keeps this up for the entire book. This is the kind of story you'll race through and be out of breath when you finish.
And I loved the Buffalo setting! After going to school there, it was great to read the loving descriptions of Chippewa St., Ted's Hot Dogs, and the mountains of snow.
Fans of Richard Stark's Parker will enjoy Joe Kurtz very much.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Make my day, Jan. 30 2003
By 
Fred Camfield (Vicksburg, MS USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardcase (Hardcover)
This is a Mike Hammer type plot - the story leaves bodies strewn about the landscape as villains often get what they deserve. Joe Kurtz, former private investigator, has just been released after serving 11 years in prison at Attica for brutally murdering a man who raped and killed his girlfriend. He learned to use computers while in prison and is now setting up a legitimate investigative service.
Joe met the son of a mafia don while he was in prison. Now the family has secretly hired him to find out what happened to their accountant, and who is hijacking their trucks. Joe finds himself confronting enemies, both known and unknown, including friends and families of people he had previously killed plus a police officer who would like to send him back to prison. There are double crosses and a triple cross.
The novel has language, graphic sexual content, and a large amount of violence including shootings, stabbings, throwing people from heights, and setting one person on fire. Some cases of violence and injuries are overly descriptive. The story is R rated if not X rated.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Warning: Craftsman at work, Nov. 19 2002
By 
Daniel Soler "GENREBUSTERS.COM" (Seattle, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardcase (Mass Market Paperback)
Simmons will always be an author i respect. first, because he wrote the Hyperion series. and second, because after giving birth to such an amazing body of work, he packed up his bags, waved good-bye to his fans, and followed his whims and wants as he very well pleased.
few authors today even attempt such a coup. even fewer can get away with it, and still get published.
that said, i didn't enjoy Hardcase nearly as much as i wanted to. i was expecting a literary equivalent of the movie 'Payback' - which, in my opinion, is one of Mel Gibson's best roles, in his later years anyway. and for the most part, that is how Hardcase feels in the beginning.
yet at some point in the story, everything starts to feel just a little _too_ contructed; Kurtz keeps one-upping the thugs and suits that are after him, and you begin to wonder just how foolish everyone else is as compared to him; and in the very end, there's so many twists and turns - you almost expect the theme from Mission Impossible to ring up, and everyone to rip of their faces and reveal their true selves!
for the sake of brevity: you can taste Simmons' fine sense of craftsmanship behind this novel, and that alone puts it above and beyond many of its kindred. that very craftsmanship, however, starts to feel a bit too polished, as if in his attempt to fulfill the genre, Simmons overdid the construction of its basic elements.
so the book gets 3 stars, while i still have 5 on hold for Simmons, cause i know that SOB will keep writing no matter what!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Hardcase, Nov. 12 2002
By 
D. Hensley (jamestown, nc United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hardcase (Hardcover)
An open letter to Mr. Dan Simmons.
Dear Mr. Simmons: Please stick to horror novels and leave the PI stories to writers who understand the genre. Your novel Summer of Night is one of my favorites. But Hardcase has more holes than a 20 year old bucket. Why would anybody give an ex-con like Kurtz the time of day, much less quit their old job, give him a millon dollars etc.... And do not forget that in the first of the book Kurtz was looking for a missing accountant. After the accountant's wife is killed you never hear about him anymore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, Oct. 21 2002
By 
Glenn (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hardcase (Mass Market Paperback)
Call it Noir, call it hard-boiled, call it what you want this book is good.
I haven't found may characters in fiction quite like Kurtz. He's as mean and tough as they come. The only other character that comes to mind is Richard Stark's Parker.
If you want a fast action packed read, this is the book for you.
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Hardcase
Hardcase by Dan Simmons (Mass Market Paperback - Aug. 19 2002)
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