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Hardcase (Joe Kurtz #1)

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,505 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Award-winning author Dan Simmons expertly reveals more surprises than clowns in a circus car as he takes the reader on a trip with Kurtz through the cold, windy streets of Buffalo where one wrong move could mean a belly-full of lead...

Joe Kurtz has been wronged one too many times. So when he takes out the drug dealing thug that killed his girlfried, the ex-PI gets to cool
Paperback, 291 pages
Published August 19th 2002 by Minotaur Books (first published 2001)
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The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
193rd out of 522 books — 635 voters
Vampire Academy by Richelle MeadMarked by P.C. CastMoon Called by Patricia BriggsEvermore by Alyson NoelBlue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Books That Should Become TV Series
111th out of 129 books — 65 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,440)
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Dan Schwent
Aug 10, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing
After eleven years in the clink, Joe Kurtz, eager to get back on his feet, signs on with the mob to investigate who is highjacking their trucks. But can Joe figure out who's stealing from the mob before someone from his past guns him down?

Wow. Dan Simmons knows how to spin a yarn. Hardcase is an homage to the Parker books for Richard Stark but manages to steer clear of ripoff territory.

Joe Kurtz is a former PI that winds up working for the mob and gets caught in the middle of a power struggle.
Jan 07, 2011 Kemper rated it really liked it
If you have any doubts that this one was inspired by the Parker novels, just check out the dedication: “This book is for Richard Stark, who sometimes writes under the wussy pseudonym of Donald Westlake.”

Joe Kurtz may be a private detective instead of a professional thief, but he can match Parker for sheer ruthlessness and poor social skills. In the first six pages of this book he sticks a guy's hand into a garbage disposal and chucks him out a window. For that little temper tantrum, Kurtz spends
Jun 26, 2009 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-detective
This entire book is a cliche, but that doesn't stop it being entertaining from the first to the last page. The protagonist (he's not really a hero when one takes an objective view, yet he gains the reader's sympathy very quickly) is not hard-boiled, he's grilled on the forge Sauron used to make the One Ring. I'm surprised there hasn't been a film adaptation, since the book has the tone and plot of a crime-revenge-thriller-action movie. Looked at another way, it's Dashiell Hammett for the current ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Nate rated it really liked it
I'm starting to suspect Dan Simmons is a genius. I know that sounds ridiculous and hyperbolic but hear me out. The fact alone that he can write something as lofty and high-minded as Hyperion and something as gleefully lowbrow and uncouth as this book and they can both be so thoroughly and casually awesome has already made him one of my favorite writers. As a sidenote, I'm almost finished with The Terror so look out for that almost assuredly annoyingly-gushy review. What we have here is a no-fril ...more
Feb 01, 2011 Brandon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011
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
3.5 stars
Think Pulp Fiction with Roid Rage and you'll have a taste of what's in store for you with Hardcase.
This is one action-packed, graphically violent, pared down to a bare minimum, hard-boiled suspense novel.

Former Private Investigator and ex-con Joe Kurtz spends 11 years in prison after avenging the death of his partner and lover Samantha Fielding. While in jail, Kurtz protects & befriends Steve Farino, the son of New York mob boss. Don Farino becomes Joe's first client on leaving pris
Hardcase - Ex
Dan Simmons
When ex-PI Joe Kurtz emerges from Attica after an 11-year-stretch, he is still being sought by the brother of a man he iced for murdering his partner, as well as by disciples of a Black Muslim group whose leader he killed in stir. Not the most obedient parolee, Joe clandestinely resumes detective work, tracing a vanished mob accountant for aging don Byron Farino much to the aggravation of the don's family and associates, who are secretly double-crossing one another and jo
Apr 24, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
Hard Case Hardcase by Dan Simmons is a definitely a favorite, Five Stars. “Kurtz sighed, forearmed the thug in the throat, bent him back over the sink, and jammed Eddie’s right hand down deep into the garbage disposal. Eddie Falco was screaming even before Kurtz reached over and turned on the switch.” That was page 3. What else can we expect from Joe Kurtz? Joe Kurtz is one tough cookie and you do not want to mess with this guy. I read the three Joe Kurtz novels in reverse sequence. Doesn’t matt ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm somewhat disappointed with this book. Dan Simmons, the author, gets a lot of rave reviews for his novels, so my expectations were set high. This book didn't really live up to them. I wasn't wowed.

The story is about P.I. who gets out of prison after doing an eleven year stretch for manslaughter. He resumes his investigation business (without a license) and picks up a case courtesy of the local Mafia don. Oh, and by the way, he made some enemies in prison, so there are a raft of characters tha
Feb 16, 2014 Ed rated it it was amazing
Ex-con Joe Kurtz works for the elderly Don of a fading Buffalo based mafia family and is aggressively hunted by a homicidal dwarf, drug dealing gangsters, crooked cops and an international hit man known as "the Dane". Politically incorrect and big fun to read. I've already started the sequel" Hard Freeze".
Feb 04, 2011 Tal rated it really liked it
i didn't know what to think about this book before i got it or even when i was first reading it. if they language was taken out, i would have loved the book. well, maybe i still would have given it 4 stars, i'm not sure. anyways, the twists and turns caught me off guard and so that was awesome. someone killing someone, but was supposed to be killing someone before killing someone, but then killed someone else. yes, it had a lot of twists and turns. i enjoyed it though and will definitely finish ...more
Michael Emond
Jun 02, 2015 Michael Emond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not Parker but since I have already worked my way through all of those novels it was a nice substitute. Instead of Parker, a pure criminal, we have Joe "It's German for Short" Kurtz who was a private investigator until (in Chapter one) he kills the two men who killed and raped his partner. We pick up the story 11 years later as he is released from prison and is starting his life again on the outside - picking up work from a Mafia Don who suspects someone is trying to take over his operation ...more
Oct 09, 2014 Gabe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2010 Tamahome rated it liked it
Page 109: Apparently a salute to the Richard Stark (Donald Westlake) noir books. Pretty violent. Moves along quickly for a Dan Simmons book. Reminds me of Frank Miller's Sin City.

All done. It would probably be a 5 hour audiobook.
Es Dan Simmons: se supone que la novela está bien escrita (la edición sería cuestión a parte, y más siendo de La Factoría) y en sí, como novela de su género, es buena. Así que vamos a decir que el problema es ese: el género. Thriller puro y duro y acción a raudales, con una trama que, aún siendo compleja, al final es de lo más simple... porque suena todo a cosa conocida, y no sólo le falta originalidad si no que además los personajes son en gran medida puro cliché y les falta personalidad.

Como p
John Walsh
Mar 29, 2015 John Walsh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific hardboiled crime in the Donald Westlake/Richard Stark tradition. What usually kills this kind of book, for me, is a lack of nerve; so often we get a character described as the baddest of the bad, but then he has a soft spot for a kid or he's a defender of helpless women, when it's a lot more believable to have such criminals be the perpetrators of violence against the defenseless. At first I thought Simmons was going to fall into this trap, but he quickly puts that aside. As is the case ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Simmons is one hell of a writer in the SF and Horror genres. He's won real praise from the likes of Stephen King and has won or been nominated for just about every award going in those two fields. So, he decided to try something new and write a crime novel...a noirish, violent, tough guy thriller. And, he hits all the right notes, and the book is very readable, but it's all very ordinary and has been done a thousand times before by a thousand (seems like it!) different authors. I may read Si ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WHOA! Came across this series of books when I was researching what to read when I am finished with the Parker series, and good God almighty am I happy I did. Appropriately enough, the book is dedicated to Westlake/Stark, and this book reminded me of early Parker, back before "Butcher's Moon", when Stark had an economy of words and he got in and out of the story in a shade under 160 pages. This was a bit longer than that (around 200 pages), but it read fast. Great imitation of Stark, but with a v ...more
Jul 28, 2007 Matthew rated it liked it
Dan Simmons dumbs it down! Way down! Who cares? Not me! Kikk assss!
Feb 14, 2014 Ivan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
The bad news - although Dan Simmons is my favourite author of all time, this is probably my least favourite book of his. It is a classic tough guy detective crime thriller, and although it is entertaining and has some good twists, it didn't really grab me. I loved reading Flashback, which is probably the most similar book I can remember of his. It is not especially similar, but it does have the protagonist trying to solve a mystery. Still, this book is alternately amusing and intriguing, so I st ...more
Um „Eiskalt erwischt“ zu beschreiben, braucht es nicht allzu viele Worte. Dieses Buch ist ein moderner hard-boiled, der, entschuldigt meine direkte Wortwahl, voll auf die Zwölf haut. Bei mir lief der Roman während des Lesens in feinster „Sin City“-Manier in meinem Kopfkino ab und das beschreibt vermutlich auch schon ganz gut die Stimmung dieses Thrillers. Wer dem Film etwas abgewinnen konnte, wird sich mit diesem Buch sicher auch wohlfühlen.

Auch wenn das Buch weniger abstrakt erzählt wird, ist e
Voor Joe Kurtz was de moord op zijn vriendin de laatste druppel. Na zijn afrekening met de dealende klootzak die het gedaan had, mag de privédetective jaren afkoelen in Atica. Daar beschermt hij 'Little Skag' Farino, de zoon van een maffiabaas, tegen ongewenste intimiteiten. Na zijn vrijlating ontmoet Kurtz de oude Farino.
Don Byron Farino wil met pensioen, maar klampt zich desondanks vast aan zijn afbrokkelende status binnen de georganiseerde misdaad van New York.
De Don betaald Kurtz om een ver
Aug 26, 2008 Kellie rated it really liked it
"Joe Kurtz has no intention of giving up his chosen profession of private investigator, even though he's just spent 12 years in jail. He believes it's only a matter of finding the right case. But that case will never come to him, so he pays a call on Byron Tatick Farino, mob boss, and suggests that for $400 a day plus expenses, he'll try to find the Family's missing accountant and also figure out who's hijacking the Family's trucks. Farino is inclined to let him do this since he has nothing to l ...more
Dec 02, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: festa

EISKALT ERWISCHT ist mein erstes Buch aus der neuen CRIME-Reihe des Festa Verlages. CRIME klang anfangs für mich sehr nach KRIMI und Krimis sind ja weniger meins, da sie mir meistens zu langweilig und harmlos sind.
Doch ein Buch von FESTA kann einfach nicht dem typischen Klischee eines Krimis entsprechen und so war ich von Beginn an neugierig auf diese Reihe.

Mit EISKALT ERWISCHT liegt der erste von drei Teilen um den Privatdetektiv Joe Kurtz vor. Zu kurz kann und muss ich nur eines sagen: Was fü
Rosina Lippi
Jan 24, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it it was amazing
There are three novels in this ultra-hardboiled (thriller/detective/ough guy) series. (The genre is in flux, and at present there isn't really a term for it that I like.) The hero is Joe Kurtz, and he's is the hardest fictional case I've run into who still comes across as three dimensional and interesting in a variety of ways. The third in the series (Hard as Nails) is just out. I haven't read it yet, but I will soon.

Genres are genres specifically because there are conventions associated with th
Rosina Lippi
Feb 06, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three novels in this ultra-hardboiled (thriller/detective/ough guy) series. (The genre is in flux, and at present there isn’t really a term for it that I like.)

The hero is Joe Kurtz, and he’s is the hardest fictional case I’ve run into who still comes across as three dimensional and interesting in a variety of ways.

Genres are genres specifically because there are conventions associated with them. Romance novels (whether or not they are marketed that way) are love stories with a hopef
Dec 09, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Kurtz ist ein Willensstarker, selbstbewusster und ziemlich schlauer Mann mit unabweichlichen Prinzipien. Nach 12 Jahren Gefängnis fällt es ihm zunächst schwer, sich an die „Neue Welt“ zu gewöhnen und anstatt sich zurückzuhalten und erst mal anzukommen, startet er gleich wieder voll durch. Er nimmt einen Auftrag an ohne zu merken, dass dies fatale Folgen haben wird.

Aufgrund der dargestellten Persönlichkeit von Joe Kurtz, und dem direkten Schreibstil des Autors, wird dem Leser das Gefühl gegeb
Tim Niland
Dec 01, 2013 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Author Dan Simmons is more well known for his works of science-fiction and horror, but he also acquits himself quite well to noir crime. PI Joe Kurtz is released from Attica after serving twelve years in prison for murdering his wife's killer. Back on the streets of Buffalo with no hope of getting his license reinstated, he goes rouge and offers his services to a mafia family, one of which he met while in prison. Hired to find the family's missing accountant, Kurtz runs afoul of a whole range of ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Aaron rated it liked it
My love for Dan Simmons has no boundary. Everyone knows this.

That love is the largest reason why I found this novel to be utterly disappointing for the first hundred pages or so. It's written in such a truncated style that it doesn't read like a Dan Simmons novel.

I'll give you an example--

Normal Dan Simmons sentence: Kurtz swung his elbow backward with brute force, connecting just under his would-be assailant's chin with such power that it knocked him backward, rendering him unable to catch hi
Ron Davidson
I'm not into crime novels, but I got this on a recommendation, because CHEEKTOWAGA! The story is set in the region where I grew up, so it was fun to compare reality with the scenes in the book. The author got it mostly right, except nobody says Alternate Route 20 -- it's 20A! I had another minor quibble, but I forgot it. :-) ETA: Now I remember! There are no Texaco mini-marts in western New York, as far as I know. There, I feel better.

As for the book . . . Meh. I'm still not into crime novels.
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Kurtz (3 books)
  • Hard Freeze
  • Hard as Nails

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