Dan Schwent's Reviews > Songs of Innocence

Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas
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's review
Feb 13, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: hardcase, favorites, cool-covers
Read in August, 2009

Three years after the events of Little Girl Lost, John Blake has quit the detective game and gone back to school. When his friend Dorrie turns up dead in her bathtub, John puts his detective hat back on and goes looking for why Dorrie ended up dead. The trail takes up through New York's seedy underbelly of "massage" parlors and up against the Hungarian mob. Can Blake piece together what happened before he ends up dead too?

Ho. Lee. Crap. Songs of Innocence is the most powerful of the Hard Case Crime series I've read so far. Blake's desperation is a tangible thing. The mystery of what happened to Dorrie gets worse and worse, as does John's situation. I didn't see the end coming until it hit me like a freight train. The characters are well done. Not only Blake, but the supporting cast as well. It would have been easy to make the other masseuses into stereotype sluts but Aleas didn't skimp.

Like I've said before, I was prepared to dismiss Richard Aleas (aka Charles Ardai, the founder of Hard Case) as a pretender but the man has made a believer out of me. You can definitely tell that the Hard Case Crime series is a labor of love for him.

If you're itching for a good crime story, Songs of Innocence fits the bill. You might want to pick up Little Girl Lost first, though, for a little more background on Blake and Susan.
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Reading Progress

08/21/2009 page 1
08/21/2009 page 56
21.88% ""You like living?"
"Some days.""
08/21/2009 page 67
26.17% ""You like living?"
"Some days.""
08/21/2009 page 180
70.31% "Holy Shit!"
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Nancy The cover art looks very 50's.

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Nancy wrote: "The cover art looks very 50's."

That's what got me into the Hard Case Crime series. All of the cover art for the Hard Case books looks very pulpy.

Nancy Are they by different authors?

message 4: by Nancy (last edited Aug 21, 2009 07:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nancy I'm checking out some of the other covers now and predict I'm going to soon buy more books that I have no room for. Do you know if Bill Pronzini has titles in this series?

message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent They're by different authors although some have done more than one. Some are reprints and some are new. Here's a link to all the covers:

Hard Case Cover Gallery

message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent Danielle wrote: "This sounds good."

It was but I feel a little beat up now that I've finished it.

Nancy My Goodreads friends are going to make me put my husband out so I can have more room for my books. Great review!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Those books are hard on you that do that. I can't handle stuff about the sex trade that well. It affects me a lot.

Kemper I really didn't like Little Girl Lost, and I thought I could safely pass on any of the Aleas/Ardai books as vanity projects. Then you gotta go and get me all intrigued.

message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent That's what Goodreads chums are for: adding to your growing to-read pile.

message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim Some of my GR chums are too good at adding to my TBR pile. It's starting to make walking in the house difficult!

message 13: by Lance (new)

Lance Greenfield At least it is a real woman on the cover of this one, Dan!

James Thane This is also one of my favorites in this series.

message 15: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent James wrote: "This is also one of my favorites in this series."

It's definitely in my top five. I like that even though Ardai is the publisher, he didn't phone this one in.

Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* I agree that this is the best Hard Case I've read

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