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Hard Man

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3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  138 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Pearce, an ex-con and Edinburgh hard man who’s still recovering from the recent loss of his mother, is invited by the dysfunctional Baxter family to protect their pregnant sixteen-year-old daughter from her martial-arts-expert husband, Wallace—a man ten years her senior with a penchant for killing family pets. Having found out that the baby’s not his, Wallace has sworn ven ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 4th 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2007)
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Knots and Crosses by Ian RankinCold Granite by Stuart MacBrideHide and Seek by Ian RankinBlack and Blue by Ian RankinStrip Jack by Ian Rankin
Tartan Noir
196th out of 244 books — 91 voters
The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray PollockThe Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerPhineas Poe by Will Christopher BaerFrank Sinatra in a Blender by Matthew McBrideBlind Corners by Jemir Robert Johnson
Noirs
70th out of 108 books — 16 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 223)
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Keith Nixon
Jul 12, 2014 Keith Nixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pearce and his 3 legged dog, Hilda return in another rip roaring read fm Allan Guthrie. For once Pearce isn't looking for trouble, in fact he's had enough of it. His sister turned to drugs, was raped and killed herself - Pearce found the drug dealer who'd fed her habit and killed him. He got 10 years in prison. Then his mother died in a robbery. So Pearce has no one left, besides Hilda.

When Pearce is approached by a family to protect a pregnant 16 year old from a mad man called Wallace Pearce s
...more
Lance Greenfield
This book just cannot be taken seriously. It is meant to be a comedy of continuous violence, isn't it?

When the sixteen year old wife of an extremely violent man, Wallace, falls pregnant by another man, he vows vengeance on the girl, her unborn child, her lover, and anyone else who gets in the way. That's a bit OTT in itself, but when her father and two incompetent brothers leap to her defence, and try to involve half of the criminal fraternity of Edinburgh, the situation rapidly dissolves into a
...more
Keith Nixon
Nov 29, 2014 Keith Nixon rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
Pearce and his 3 legged dog, Hilda return in another rip roaring read fm Allan Guthrie. For once Pearce isn't looking for trouble, in fact he's had enough of it. His sister turned to drugs, was raped and killed herself - Pearce found the drug dealer who'd fed her habit and killed him. He got 10 years in prison. Then his mother died in a robbery. So Pearce has no one left, besides Hilda.

When Pearce is approached by a family to protect a pregnant 16 year old from a mad man called Wallace Pearce sa
...more
Rob
Jun 14, 2009 Rob rated it really liked it
What a fucking beautiful book. Sick, violent, touching - for the hardcore violent crime novelist this one's really a challenge. On a reread I might revise this from four stars to five - best modern noir I can think of. And there's funny jokes in the midst of it all.

Excellent crime novel with an effective plot twist that occurs less than half-way through the book and throws the already careering plot into further disarray. Yeah!

The thing is, author Allan Guthrie not only tells a magnificent tale
...more
Maddy
Nov 03, 2014 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007-reads
PROTAGONIST: Gordon Pearce, ex-con and hard man
SETTING: Edinburgh
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 3.75


HARD MAN
by Allan Guthrie
ISBN: 978-0-15-101298-5
Harcourt
June, 2007

Maddy Van Hertbruggen
Review Due: 6/17/07

The following quiz will help you determine if you should read HARD MAN or not:

1. I prefer books where at least 50 percent of the humans and animals are alive at the end of the book.
____ True ____False

2. My favorite kind of book is one where a little old lady solves a crime while sipping tea and kn
...more
Tim
Dec 27, 2010 Tim rated it liked it
I wrote this review for PW back in 2007:

With its over-the-top violence leavened by an acerbit wit, this third "Tartan Noir" novel from Scotland's Allan Guthrie, set in contemporary Edinburgh, is repulsively fascinating. Like a bloody automobile accident, it's hard to look away. With his grown-up sons Rog and Flash, Jacob Baxter is trying to protect his daughter May—pregnant with another man's baby—from the jealous rage of her husband Wallace. But when the three Baxter men confront him, the encou
...more
Warren Stalley
Dec 19, 2013 Warren Stalley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first came across the author Allan Guthrie in the ebook anthology True Brit Grit. Being curious I decided to investigate more of his work. Bad Men is a crime novel set in Edinburgh featuring one of Mr Guthrie’s most interesting characters. Gordon Pearce is an ex-con and loner with only his three legged dog Hilda for company. But he’s also a hard man with a heart who unwillingly gets mixed up with the Baxter family whose pregnant daughter May is being threatened by her abusive husband Wallace. ...more
Travis
Mar 06, 2014 Travis rated it it was amazing
I read Allan Guthrie's "Savage Night" as a random buy from a small, used book store in Burbank and I absolutely loved it. Enough to want to read more of his work. I think I enjoyed "Hard Man" even better. This guy knows how to write jaw-dropping, intense, original, and suspenseful noir style crime fiction. He has become one of my favorite authors and I can't wait to read more of his works. Definitely not for everyone...especially not the squeamish. He does make me scared to ever visit Scotland, ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 30, 2008 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘If we can’t find a bodyguard for May, how are we going to persuade someone to kill to kill Wallace?’
This is the critical question for the Baxter men as they seek to protect May, their daughter and sister, from her husband, Wallace. Their answer: to try to involve Pearce, a local hard man (tough guy).

This is an action-filled novel: peopled with dysfunctional individuals. This is not a novel that requires (or even invites) detailed analysis. The equation is simple: stupid people doing stupid thin
...more
John
Aug 18, 2015 John rated it liked it
Pearce strikes me as "Jack Reacher light". I kept waiting for Pearce to fully engage in the story/action but he never really did. That being said, it was a well written, easy to read book. There was good foreshadowing of serious mayhem/payback to come, but it never really got there in my opinion.
Jack LesCamela
Jul 04, 2008 Jack LesCamela rated it it was ok
Line by line this book was well written and engaging. My issue with it, why I only gave it two stars is that what I was hoping for and what inside blurb seemed to hint it was a sort of Scottish Charles Bronson sort of thriller. That isn't what it turned out to be.

Things started well with some engaging scenes and dialogue, but failed to build to a satisfying conclusion for me. Most disappointing was that the main character, Pearce, has little effect on how events play out and is almost more of an
...more
Johnny
Nov 03, 2010 Johnny rated it liked it
Violent and over-the-top, and that's definitely a compliment. Guthrie has a lot of fun beating the crap out of all his characters, including the dogs. And while the story is never predictable, the reason is because it often feels like it's being made up as it goes.

For all its originality, the depth of the characters never really gets past the surface. And in a story where the entire world of the story revolves around eight people, it seems like there would have been more of a chance to dig deepe
...more
Steve
Jan 27, 2016 Steve rated it liked it
a bit gory but had a ring of truth about it .Lots of sods law in there
Sandra
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it it was ok
Absolutely no doubt the man can write, and with a unique and powerful voice, creating a cast of dysfunctional individuals who damage each other in a never-ending spiral of nasty ways.
As to who the 'Hard Man' of the title is, there appear to be, initially, several contenders, each of whom falls painfully by the wayside.
That said, I didn't especially enjoy the tale, despite acknowledging its cleverness and tension. Partly because of the dog.
Chris Logan
Apr 30, 2013 Chris Logan rated it liked it
A dysfunctional family bent on revenge over a perceived sleight but ill equipped to uphold their honour. Doesn't stop them trying though. This book is very violent and not for the feint of heart, very graphic all the way through. Having said that I enjoyed the twists in the storyline. I have read Guthrie before and read this book as it was the next in the series, so I had to finish it. But be warned if violence is not your thing.
Dave
Mar 18, 2013 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: crimedetnoir
This is a very dark comedy. A comedy of terrors. It started in a strange place and ended in an even stranger one. I will say that I did not guess how this story would go. At all.

Gordon Pearce, the protagonist, had a compelling back story but I really couldn't get a sense of him in the present. It's a problem when your character's back story is more interesting that what he's doing in the actual book.

Still enjoyed the read.
Eric
Feb 10, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, 2008
C'mon, fess up. Are you hard or soft? If you're a hard man, then I whole-heartedly recommend this book. Ultra violence and torture porn were never so funny. If, on the other hand, you're a soft man, I recommend you start rereading your collection of Carolyn Keene books. Back cover quote (pay attention Kit Fox): "What Robert Aldrich and Sam Fuller did to cinema, Allan Gutherie is doing to British crime fiction."
Brian
Dec 27, 2012 Brian rated it it was ok
First half was okay, reminding me of the previous Pearce novel. But then it switched to a gore-fest instead. Skipped large parts just because it was boring. Especially the drugged parts. It's enough to know a character is drugged and babbling. I don't need to read page after page of it.
Ben
Aug 26, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it
A very fast paced, easy to lose oneself in crime drama. It's a story of a man and his dog, and everything that happens cause he loves said dog. Gritty tough, like using an SOS pad to clean a scraped knee. READ IT...
John
Nov 03, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hard-boiled, neo-noir fans
Guthrie's book is noted for its intense violence, but it's as much a story about perception as it is one of visceral bloodletting. He's definitely an emerging talent in the crime fiction genre.
Kay Townsend
Jan 22, 2015 Kay Townsend rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. It was gripping at times and was a really good read. First book I have read by this author and I will definitely read more.

Would definitely recommend it.
Chris
May 07, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
F!
I counted 32 'F' words on one page. It doesn't bother me, but by God that is lazy writing!
Like a fourteen year old having fun with naughty words, this was average to say the least.
Tom
Nov 13, 2008 Tom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
an everyday tale of inept gangsters and their families - although a short book it still dragged. some funny lines, but it didn't satisfy either as pulp, or thriller, or black comedy.
Doug
Jan 23, 2008 Doug rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
andeeeeee
Feb 05, 2008 andeeeeee rated it really liked it
brutal and super funny. a sort of noir, but with some seriously deranged characters, a three legged dog, and some head spinning ultra violence.
G8tes
Dec 31, 2012 G8tes rated it it was amazing
Allan Guthrie manages to perfectly blend over-the-top violence with humor. Always love the mix. Really enjoyed this one.
Brandon Nagel
Dec 19, 2012 Brandon Nagel rated it it was amazing
Pearce, Hilda, Jesus, Magic Mushrooms, and Total Madness. Perfect. Guthrie is the best!
Adam
Manic comedy, slow to start, then goes off the rails, but in a good way.
Fangface666
Oct 23, 2008 Fangface666 rated it liked it
Judge this book by it's cover.
Barbara
Apr 13, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Great noir find. I'm loving it.
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