Hard Freeze is the follow-up to Hardcase, the first novel about former private investigator Joe Kurtz, who is just back on the streets after serving hard time in Attica for the vengeance-murders of some mob thugs.
Dan Simmons has crafted a taut and gritty novel set in the deep winter of Buffalo, New York. Hard Freeze proudly carries on the tradition of über-hard-boiled detective stories. Once again, Joe is having problems with the Farina Family, and also manages to get a psychotic serial killer on his tail. Simmons draws his characters with compassion and a keen eye for detail, and executes well on a tight plot laden with double-crosses, sociopathic mobsters, corrupt cops, and epic shoot-outs.
One of the nice things about the Kurtz character (even though, yes, the name is a bit much) is that Simmons writes him completely consistent in his behaviors and stances. Kurtz is emotionally frozen to the point of sociopathy, and thus is not the kind of person who would hesitate to pull the trigger when it suits his purposes. Which it often does.
Hard Freeze succeeds admirably as a bleak, modernized off-shoot of the Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson branch of noir. The weakness of the novel is that the odds are piled up so high against Kurtz that Simmons sometimes has a hard time getting him through without resorting to plot devices that come perilously close to Deus Ex Machina. But that is a minor quibble.
If you like your fiction boiled to diamond hardness, you’ll enjoy Hard Freeze.
Posted Sunday, 14 November, 2004 by Nic Lindh
All Nic wants for WWDC is sync that actually works
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.