The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 14 November 2004]

Review: Hard Freeze

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.

**Listening To: **“What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)” by DJ Shadow itunes

« All right, I give up

 »


Enjoy the ten latest posts!

Die in a ditch

After all these years, Nic still can’t understand the American attitude to healthcare.

The big thieves hang the little ones

Book roundup, part 29

A sci-fi and fantasy heavy installment that includes The Valedictorian of Being Dead, The Mastermind, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy, Tiamat’s Wrath, The Raven Tower, The Liberation, The Light Brigade and Cryptonomicon.

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable

Book roundup, part 28

Includes The Incomplete Book of Running, Aching God, The Murderbot Diaries, Lies Sleeping, The Consuming Fire, and Rendezvous with Rama.

Las Vegas trip report

Did you know Las Vegas is kind of nutty?

Book roundup, part 27

Includes Hollywood Dead, Tales from the Loop, Things from the Flood, The Court of Broken Knives, and Port of Shadows.

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle

“Cancel everything. You’re going into emergency surgery today”

Nic has a retinal tear and has his vision is saved by a laser.

Book roundup, part 26

Includes The Storm Before the Storm, White Trash, Calypso, Tell the Machine Goodnight, Prince of Fools, and Provenance.