Hard Case Crime discussion

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Which is the 'best' Crichton HCC?

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message 1: by Charles (new)

Charles Ardai | 39 comments You probably weren't asking me, but since I've read them all (multiple times), I may as well weigh in. The ones that are the closest to Hard Case Crime's core mandate are the two we published while Michael was still alive and working with us on the reissues: GRAVE DESCEND (which even got nominated for the Edgar Award) and ZERO COOL. Each has a bit more of a thriller element than you usually see in our books and can be a bit over-the-top in spots, but they're crime stories at their core (especially GRAVE DESCEND). The two books that are the most remote from our core mandate are EASY GO (which is about plundering a lost tomb in the Egyptian desert) and DRUG OF CHOICE (which is a psychedelic science-fictional adventure about a remote island retreat where a dangerous technology is used to deliver a never-before-seen leisure experience). ODDS ON is a fun heist story, but with a lot of sex, so steer clear if that turns you off. SCRATCH ONE and THE VENOM BUSINESS are solid thrillers, nothing there to turn you off (though VENOM BUSINESS runs a bit long). BINARY is more of a political thriller and a bit dated, in my opinion (if Michael had still be alive, we'd have edited it together, I'm sure), but some people have told me they loved it, so take my comment with a grain of salt. But if I had to rank them, I'd put GRAVE DESCEND and ZERO COOL at the top and DRUG OF CHOICE and BINARY at the bottom. (Interestingly, Michael ranked DRUG OF CHOICE right after GRAVE DESCEND and ZERO COOL, or at least wanted that to be the next one we did.)

By the way, regarding SOHO SINS, I honestly think that's one of the dozen best books we have ever published, period. People who think it's a pedophile fantasy either haven't read it or are idiots. These are the same people who think LOLITA is endorsing sex with children. SOHO SINS is very much not boring, it's not pretentious (unless you automatically think any mention of painting and sculpture automatically makes something pretentious), and I personally found it heartbreaking and unforgettable. Reasonable people can disagree, of course, but I think the fact that a lot of readers passed this one up because some angry preacher somewhere got his flock to post a bunch of 1-star reviews on Amazon is truly a travesty. It's a terrific book, and very solidly in the hardboiled crime tradition (not like Elissa Wald's novel, which I personally love but admit was not our traditional fare). If you read the book and don't like it, fine -- but don't be dissuaded from even giving it a chance. (You can try the sample chapter on our website if you want to see if the author's voice appeals to you or not.)


message 2: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Montgomery (brandonmontgomery) | 1 comments I know it isn't an answer but...I have a couple of them on my shelf, but I doubt I'll ever get around to them. They seem to be mainly thrillers and I'm interested in HCC because they're such good curators of hard boiled/noir/crime fiction, and with other publisher of that sort of fiction you have to separate the wheat from the chaff yourself - That and the fact that they revive long out of print titles you'd otherwise have to find an old tattered copy of.
Hell, I may have to reconsider reading Drug of Choice because "psychedelic science fiction" sounds like something I'd be into.

Charles, you mentioned Soho Sins as one of the dozen best books you guys have published. Out of curiosity, what are some of your other personal favorite HCC titles?


message 3: by Charles (new)

Charles Ardai | 39 comments Hi, Brandon! I've created a separate topic for people to list their personal favorite titles, or their choices for the best books we've published, and I'll stick my list there after a few more people have had a chance to respond.

As a preview, though, I will say that while there's disagreement about some of our titles (some people will love a book that other people think is just so-so), I have yet to meet anyone who didn't think Charles Williams' A TOUCH OF DEATH is terrific.


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