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Robert J. Stava
4.0 out of 5 starsThe hard side of Buffalo...
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2021
This tale has all the hallmarks of a classic private detective tale. While it stretches plausibility to the limit, it is entertaining. I only wish there was more focus on the Artful Dodger and the creepiest scene of the entire novel: the abandoned amusement park.
5.0 out of 5 starsexcellent end to the Kurtz series
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2019
the kurtz series starts out slow with Hardcase picks up with Hardfreeze and finishes with what I expect from Dan Simmons in Hard as Nails. A great character Joe Kurtz with mostly nonstop action. the secondary characters are better developed in this book and help drive the story to a satisfying climax.
I am a big Dan Simmons fan - he is by far my favorite author and he has captivated me for many years. From 'Summer of Night' through 'Ilium', he masters genres like a pro. The Joe Kurtz series is a wonderful idea, and I enjoyed the first 2 books in the series a lot. However, with 'Hard as Nails', Simmons stumbles. I found quite a few plot holes and grammatical errors as I read the book, which I normally overlook, or (quite honestly) tend not to notice. However, when Simmons refers to the character Rigby King as "Ridley" at one point, I have to say I was a little concerned with my favorite author. Perhaps he rushed the book or perhaps he didn't have a good editor. Nonetheless there were a couple of points where his narrative contradicted what happened previously. It dragged me back to reality, and spoiled the book for me. Also, SPOILER ALERT, if you read the 2nd book in the Kurtz series, there is a very similar resolution at the end of the novel. Kurtz' ass is saved by the exact same character who saved him in book 2. Repetition of plot resolutions do not amuse me! It felt forced, and even though it does not technically qualify, it felt like a Deus Ex Machina. I love Simmons and will read everything he writes. I just wish this book were better. As it stands, though, a middling Simmons novel is still better than most anything else! in keeping with Simmons' style, I refuse to proof-read my email, so let the typos fly, baby! -newfers
4.0 out of 5 starsNow We Know Who Kurtz's Daddy Is....
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2006
This is the third in Simmons' hard-boiled series of Joe Kurtz books, and it's another winner. It's a little more predictable than the first two (not surprising with later series entries), but still a good read-- and we now know who Kurtz's father is (or we do if we are fans of Richard Stark).
I'm used to noir heroes getting beat up and abused: Philip Marlowe and the Continental Op and Travis McGee and every two-bit gumshoe gets pummelled into unconsciousness or winged by a gat or tortured unmercifully on every other case. But Simmons is REALLY cruel to Kurtz. In every book, he's so abused you just wanna tell him to sit down and have a beer and watch Oprah and recover a little. Hell, I thought he was pretty much dead at the end of the second book. Now, here he is, back again. Ten pages in, though, he's pretty much dead again. Simmons: Give Kurtz a break!
Simmons is always worth reading-- if you've read the first two Kurtzes, you'll want to read this one.
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2008
I really enjoyed the first two Joe Kurtz novels. They were almost parodies of the hard bolied genre, but never crossed the line. Aside from the enjoyably drawn characters, the books had a fairly straightforward plot and an unusual setting. The plot of this one is ridiculously complicated, the circumstances and consequences unbelievable, and it crowds out the characters. Most authors seem to be able to get through about five books with the same characters before they feel the need to raise the ante. It's still an OK read, but the apparent lack of any sequel seems to indicate Simmons knows he blew up the series.
Joe Kurtz, ex PI, ex con is one of the most interesting antiheros currently being written about. Simmons blends the atmosphere and mood of western New York into a modern noir canvas, and Kurtz and his former lover Rigby inhabit that world in a gray area of law and order that is both disturbing and realistic. Even after getting shot in the head, Kurtz displays the almost herculean toughness that would make Spenser wince - hence the title. The plot moves from place to place with a randomness that seems incongruous, but ultimately is very satisfying in the end. One of the best mystery/detective novelists working today. I highly reccommend going to Simmon's back list and catching up with the rest of his fans. He seldom has disappointed.
This is the third and so far last installment in the series with Joe Kurtz as the main character. This book was a great read and I truly hope that Mr. Simmons decides to pick up this series again.
"Ex-PI Joe Kurtz's survival is on the line when an ambush leaves him badly wounded and his parole officer, Peg O'Toole, barley clinging to life. Their respective professions have ensured that neither suffers from a shortage of enemies, so discovering which of them was the intended target isn't easy."
And the action continues from there and keeps you engaged until the last page!
4.0 out of 5 starsDritter, letzter und schwächster Teil der Joe Kurtz Trilogie.
Reviewed in Germany on September 9, 2007
Hard as Nails wird allen gefallen denen die Vorgänger Hardcase und Hard Freeze gefallen haben. Der Humor ist da, die Action findet immer noch in einem halsbrecherischen, oder in diesem Falle, kopfschiesserischem Tempo statt. Das Problem diese Buches ist teilweise der etwas zu komplexe Plot für knappe 300 Seiten: Es gibt einfach zu viele Parteien die irgendwie an irgendwas (man weiss bis kurz vor Schluss nicht so genau was) beteiligt sind. Teilweise sind es aber auch Ermüdungserscheinungen: Wieder ein Serienkiller, der Jahrzehnte unentdeckt bleibt, wieder Joe Kurtz, der sich einfach partout nicht weiterentwickeln will und kann und damit seine persönlichen sowie... beruflichen Probleme höchstens mittelfristig löst.
Was dieses Buch trotzdem lesenswert macht, ist einfach typisch Simmons: Wo die meisten Autoren etwa 2-3 richtig bemerkenswerte Szenen in ein Buch packen (und damit sind GUTE Autoren gemeint) hat Simmons wieder eine Vielzahl. Simmons' Liebe zum Detail und unglaubliche Sachkenntnis in allen Bereichen die er beschreibt macht z.B. den Hubschrauberflug in diesem Buch einfach um das bestimmte Stück mitreißender, die Schiessereien vielfältiger und nachvollziehbarer(!) als in bei den Genrekollegen.
This has been the best of the Kurtz series and it seems there were no further books with Kurtz. This book is worth to be read again after some time. It kept me from sleeping at the usual time. I had to get to the end and the end was quite exciting. While not all of Simmons books are interesting to me, this one and the the 2 other Kurtz stories are high on my favorite list.