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Publisher's Summary

Once Joe Kurtz needed revenge - and revenge cost him 11 years in Attica prison. Now Kurtz needs a job, and the price is going to be higher. Out of prison, out of touch, Kurtz signs on with the Byron Farino, Don of a Mob family whose son Kurtz had been protecting on the inside. Farino enlists Kurtz's help to track down the Family's missing accountant - a man with too much knowledge of Family business to have on the loose.

But someone doesn't want the accountant found - and with enemies inside the Family vying for his throne, and turf warfare just around the corner, Farino needs an outsider like Kurtz to flush out who's really behind this latest affront. As the story twists and turns and the body count rises, Kurtz no longer knows who he can trust. Everyone seems to be after something, from the mob boss' sultry yet dangerous daughter, to a hit man named The Dane, an albino killer who is good with a knife, and a dwarf who is armed to the teeth and hell-bent on revenge. Kurtz has always been an ace investigator. Now he's about to discover that to get at the truth, sometimes you have to go after it - hard.

©2001 Dan Simmons (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A cinematic story." (Chicago Tribune)
"A hardcore full-tilt rocket ride." (Rocky Mountain News)
"[Simmons'] narrative is all sinewy blood and gristle... hard to beat for a pulp-fiction beach read." (Publishers Weekly)

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Another Excellent Dan Simmons Book

I've been reading Dan Simmons for years. I had read Hardcase years ago before the audio version was available and loved it. I just finished listening to the audiobook version and it was fantastic from start to finish. I've already purchased the next book in the series, Hard Freeze, and look forward to listening to that. Hardcase features an exciting story, excellent fleshed out characters and even good villains. Joe Kurtz is a no nonsense hardboiled detective. The people in the story act and talk like you'd expect real people and the narration was perfect. Hardcase reminds me very much of the style of writing and characters you'd find in a really good Elmore Leonard novel (examples include Gold Coast, Stick, Swag and Mr. Paradise). Other Dan Simmons audiobooks I've enjoyed (multiple times each) include: Flashback, Illium and Carrion Comfort. The Joe Kurtz series is new to audio and I hope he releases Joe Kurtz #3 soon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Just more really good Dan Simmons

I've read most of his works and have not been let down yet. Hardcase has simply obligated me to buy all the Joe Kurtz "hard" to put down reads.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not believable in the slightest but incredible fun

Joe Kurz is a very straight-forward ex-Private Investigator; jailed for a decade for a revenge killing he most willingly committed and whom we join as he is released back into the world of 2001 (I think) to restart life on the outside. Subsequently a *lot* of characters get involved and a surprising number of events occur in what is a pretty short story (6 hours of audio, 300ish pages). The characters are mostly the ones you expect to find in a detective story but there are some surprising gems like Pruno and Soul Dad.

This is Dan Simmons' (of Hyperion fame) foray into the hardboiled detective-noir genre. I wasn't sure what to expect from him in this genre, mostly that's why I read it, to see what he did after his science fiction triumphs. Other writers have made a good job of melding sci-fi and detective-noir (Alastair Reynolds' Century Rain for instance), but this is straight up detective story and it's very good! One of the more interesting things for me was the fact that this is set in a modern time compared to the majority of other books in this genre and I enjoyed this style of story-telling with more modern trappings. I was surprised to find some recurring themes from Hyperion here: the story of Abraham pops in ever so briefly, in a chapter packed so full of whacky references that it'll keep me going for months with side-reading (starting with the angel Mastema).

There were very few chapters that were reasonable points to pause at, I almost always needed to find out what happened next, and the final twenty chapters were just one long twisty turny crescendo. None of it is believable in the slightest, but it's an incredible amount of fun and rather unputdownable! Why this hasn't been made into a Jason Statham movie is beyond me.