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Hardcase

Hardcase - Dan Simmons Over the past 2 years, I’ve discovered that my favorite books to read are crime fiction. I fell for the genre when I picked up my first Charlie Parker novel and have never looked back – reading stuff by Stieg Larsson, Connolly, Koontz and Jeff Lindsay. With those authors, I have yet to even crack open the proverbial briefcase of crime fiction but hey, you got to start somewhere.

When perusing good reads one evening, I noticed a few reviews for the Dan Simmon’s series about hard boiled ex-PI, Joe Kurtz. In his debut novel, Kurtz is freshly released from prison following the murder of a no-good-nik (can I still use that phrase). It should be noted that Kurtz spent 11 of those hard years protecting both himself and the son of a prominent mob boss. Upon release, Kurtz is granted a meeting with said boss and finds himself in employment once again. This time, Kurtz is working for the mob in an effort to track down the family accountant who recently went missing.

This book was really fun. Unlike a lot of crime fiction I read, they delve into extensive back stories and character development. That’s not too say that Simmons writes simple one dimensional characters, it’s just that that’s not really his focus here. I don’t want to speak directory for the author but it reads like a Hollywood blockbuster. I mean, you’ve got the vengeful anti-hero, the conspicuous plot and an array of enemies that mirror your average big budget action film. You’ve even got the unstoppable monster who rarely speaks! C’mon! What else can you ask for?

The writing is pretty straightforward; there are a lot of one liners and violent action scenes but you can’t really find fault in that as it works really well. There’s one particular “fight” scene that had me laughing out loud. Anyone who literally kicks someone’s ass can always get a chuckle out of me.

I’m game for the next in the series and the only reason that this received anything less than 5 stars is just personal preference. While I did enjoy it, it’s not up there with the more intricately plotted novels and characters I’m used to. If I could give it 4 and a ½ stars, I would. Either way, it’s a sold outing in my book.