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House Dick

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  29 reviews
House Dick is one of Hunt’s very best, a classic hardboiled story of a detective in a Washington D.C. hotel (no, notthathotel) investigating a twisty tale of burglary and murder, of skullduggery under cover of darkness, of deception and shifting loyalties – and of the price you pay when you trust the wrong people… ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Hard Case Crime (first published 1961)
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Dan 1.0
Pete Novak is a hotel detective (or house dick) working for a Washington DC hotel. Novak takes a shine to a gorgeous guest, only to find the murdered body of her former sugar daddy in her room and the jewels he gave her missing. Can Novak find the jewels and keep the woman out of jail?

First off, I almost dismissed this one as one of Hard Case's more dubious picks, like the Robert Parker book that wasn't by the Parker everyone was thinkng of. E. Howard Hunt was involved in the Watergate break-in,
From the outset its apparent that Novak is going to be involved in some heavy handed duties following the arrival of Paula Norton, an alluring blonde whose husband is a prominent underworld figure and whose lover happens to have more jewels than he does sense.

Author E. Howard Hunt established a backdrop which was as much a living organism as the characters. I liked the emphasis placed on creating a feeling of being inside the inner workings of busy hotel where staff have chance interactions, co
A stellar example of the pulp noir genre, HOUSE DICK assembles all the expected cliches, but does so in a way that still feels sharp and invigorating. The writing is outstanding and deliciously hardboiled, but modern readers who are unfamiliar with old-fashioned crime lingo may find certain elements--including the title--difficult to decipher. The book is a truckload of politically incorrect retro fun, and, interestingly, was penned by one of the real-life "plumbers" involved in Richard Nixon's ...more
So, part of the enticement of this book is that the author was partly responsible for the Watergate break-in under President Nixon's administration and here he is the author of a book about a hotel house detective in Washington D.C.. How meta! Of course the book was written almost twenty years prior to that infamous robbery. Taken on its own terms, this is a fairly straight ahead murder mystery with slight dips into blue collar philosophy (" there more to life than that?" "I wouldn't know." ...more
Taking this along on a trip. Most of us who lived through Watergate rather despise E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy and Chuck Colson and all those cretins, but apparently Hunt had quite a career as a writer of noir pulp fiction, a genre I rather enjoy, so we'll see how this pans out.

The story revolves around a house detective (dah!) working at the Hotel Tilden. Pete Novak is the classic hard drinking, babe loving, honest-to-a-fault, cigarette smoking, gumshoe who gets caught in the middle of a d
Take a seedy no-nonsense somewhat battered detective with a bottle of scotch in his desk drawer and a love-hate relationship with the cops, and toss him into a respectable hotel in the early 1960s, and you end up with Pete Novak. Knowing that a hotel is only as good as its reputation, he does what he can to keep out the unsavory elements, the grifters, hookers and thieves, but since this is Washington DC you can only do so much. After all, some people come to Washington to be bad, and others get ...more
Lemme take this opportunity to talk about this little publisher, Hard Case Crime. To me they've released as exciting a series of novels as the ones currently being resuscitated by New York Review Books. Almost every one I've read has been a great ride (with the exception of Stephen King's 'Joyland') and, at least one of them, Donald Westlake's 'Memory,' I would call Great, capital G.
As for this entry in the series, it's breezy and fun, well-written and constructed, with a lot of great noir patt

House Dick is one of Hunt’s very best, a classic hardboiled story of a detective in a Washington D.C. hotel (no, not that hotel) investigating a twisty tale of burglary and murder, of skullduggery under cover of darkness, of deception and shifting loyalties – and of the price you pay when you trust the wrong people…

About the Author

Before he became one of the most controversial figures in modern American history, going to prison for his involvement in the Watergate conspiracy, E. Howard Hunt w

Before Howard Hunt became a Watergate burglar, E. Howard Hunt was a crime-thriller writer. House Dick is very much a by-the-numbers early-'60s noir book, but the fact that it's typical -- more typical than the higher-quality novels Hard Case publishes -- actually makes it more fun. It's at once effective as a crime story and campy-goofy because it's so average. That makes me love it. It's packed with stereotypical dialogue, a detective who grins, sleazy characters, swaggering mobsters, and insul ...more
Sean O'Hara
If only E. Howard Hunt were as good at covering up crimes as his fictional heroes, America would've been treated to an extra two years of Richard Nixon. Oh, what could have been. What could have been.
Howard Hunt could write! I mean, really write: he won at least one literary fellowship early in his career. Which also confirms that whole vision I've had of the early CIA as this oddball nest of literati and American Studies profs. This has a bunch of gritty details about being a house detective in a DC hotel. No clue if they're real, but they SOUND good. Plus, oddly, a lot of law-and-order and respect-the-police pleading: cheaply ironic, given his later escapades. Did kind of make me want to r ...more
this was my first foray into the Hard case crime series - and im glad i did as this was a very good start...this rating should really be on the good side of 3.5

ive read barely any of the noir type fiction, im normally a fantasy/SF reader, but im trying to get into more crime...

well written, reasonably straightforward plot, some decent action, a few twists and turns...

also liked that it was written by a key figure in the watergate scandal...made it more interesting somehow...

all in all, a solid
Dick Peterson
I was curious to see what the novels of E. Howard Hunt, the famous CIA guy, White House plumber, and Watergate burglar, were like back when. This one was originally published in 1961 and was typical of detective fare of the day. It easily could have been the basis of a B-movie of that era. Our tastes have changed since then, so I don't think I'll do another of his way oldies. But, I'm glad I read this one. I was entertained.
I went into this not knowing what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. The main character is a hotel detective, who succeeds best at being obstinate. He refuses to give up and has no interest in getting ahead. How did he get this way? Why is he such a good detective, when the majority of his job consists of security? There is no explanation of his past experiences, but it's a fun, quick read nonetheless.
Hotel detective gets caught up in theft, blackmail and murder. Sturdy but not extravagant language from Hunt and a cast of characters that have little time to grow beyond the second dimension while pursuing a plot that has a little too much a-b-c to it. But somehow it seems better than that as a whole. Anyway, a harmless way to pass a couple of hours. Rated M for some violence and adult themes. 2.5/5
tough guys, tough broads, and good old fashion persuasion.
this is written with heavy era slang- it immerses the reader.
I like it, it is fast paced, and it is hard to see which way the tale is going to go. you can't help but like Novak.
is this literature now? 50 years removed from when it was just a news stand throw away? Its good and you'll want more.
Even though his name became synonymous with dirty tricks in the Nixon era, Hunt knew how to write well. This is one of the more enjoyable Hard Case books I've come across. Good tough guy noir; images of Sam Spade and The Maltese Falcon came to mind more than once during the read but that's to the work's credit.
Pete Novak is the house dick of an upper class hotel in Washington, D.C. In the course of a couple of days, he becomes involved in a case with stolen jewels that aren't stolen, a murder, gets beat up by a couple of thugs, checks up on a conman doctor, and they're all tied together.
Written by one of the figures in the Watergate scandal (before he went to jail), this is a gritty crime novel set in 1960's D.C. It's got that rough, terse tone and the cast of beautiful women, grizzled detectives, and lying schemers you'd expect. A fun quick read.
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Fredrick Danysh
Hard boiled detective story written in the style of Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Hotel detective Nick Novak gets involved in robbery and murder at his hotel. The suspect is a beautiful woman that he falls for. Enter ex-husbands and lovers.
Well-written and plenty twisty, but a little softer on the punch than some of the best Hard Case Crime titles. Still, you want action, bad girls, and the nail-chewing discourse, and you get it.
E. Howard Hunt knows how to tell tales, and that's what got him a Watergate conviction. This dated but fun story is set in a hotel in Washington D.C. Fun pulp from Hard Case Crime.
Peter Martin
Surprisingly good read. Hunt sometimes flares into self-conscious hard-boiled territory, but it contains plenty of period flavor, which props up a familiar cast of characters.
Philip Athans
Hunt should have kept on writing crime fiction, instead of going into the business himself. This is a tight little narrative in the style of Chandler and Hammett--fun stuff.
Who would have thought one of the guys responsible for the Watergate scandal could also write a mean pulp novel?
A satisfying hard-boiled detective romp from a man whose future included Watergate.
Harry Casey
very good story. much better than expected. hard boiled detective fiction.
A.j. Medlock
A.j. Medlock marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2015
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E. Howard Hunt was an American intelligence officer and writer. Hunt served for many years as a CIA officer. Hunt, with G. Gordon Liddy and others, was one of the Nixon White House "plumbers" — a secret team of operatives charged with fixing "leaks." Hunt, along with Liddy, engineered the first Watergate burglary, and other undercover operations for Nixon. In the ensuing Watergate Scandal, Hunt wa ...more
More about Howard Hunt...
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“A hotel is like a prison, he thought. The rooms are cells holding secrets and passions. Then something happens, the smallest thing, and the doors fly open. The explosion goes off. Panic. And fragments of truth.” 1 likes
“All quiet at the Tilden.

Except for the obese wife of a wealthy industrialist, the furtive face of a raw food quack and the memory of a silk-shirted hoodlum tossing a bill on the carpet for you to crawl and fetch.

All quiet except for the tortured face of a grey-eyed, ash-blonde lovely with a showgirl’s body and a conscience heavier than a carload of sins. Mouth, a slash of red; eyes that pleaded for pity, understanding. And lips that told nothing…”
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