Hardcase is a 2001 mystery/crime fiction book by Dan Simmons, the first of 3 featuring the detective Joe Kurtz. This was a quick, easy read, and I liked the main character enough to keep an eye out for the other two books. This is a hard, solitary man with a job to do.
from the back of the book:
Once Joe Kurtz needed revenge —and revenge cost him eleven years in Attica. Now he needs a job, and the price is going to be even higher. Out of prison, out of touch, Kurtz signs on with Byron Farino, don of a Buffalo, New York, mob family whose son Kurtz had been protecting on the inside. Farino enlists Kurtz’s help to track down the family’s missing accountant —a man with too much knowledge of its business to have on the loose.Publishers Weekly says it's "hard to beat for a pulp-fiction beach-read". Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Genre-hopping Simmons, who made his bones in SF before switching to thrillers ... handles the carnage here as confidently as if he’d teethed on a .45."
But someone doesn’t want the accountant found —and with enemies inside the family vying for his throne, and turf warfare just around the corner, Farino needs an outsider like Kurtz to flush out the culprit behind this latest affront. As the story twists and turns and the body count rises, Kurtz no longer knows whom he can trust. Everyone seems to be after something: the mob boss’s sultry yet dangerous daughter; a hit man named the Dane; an albino killer good with a knife; a dwarf who is armed to the teeth and hell-bent on revenge. Kurtz has always been an ace investigator. Now he’s about to discover that to get at the truth, sometimes you have to go after it —hard.
The Crime Fiction Lover reviewer says,
Hardcase remains my personal favourite. The others are no less exciting or well written, but I read the series in order and the first few chapters of Hardcase, where I was introduced to this crazy force of nature and the criminal world around him that Simmons created, will always be extra special for me.SF Book Reviews opens with this:
Dan Simmons certainly gets around. He has written straight horror, epic SF, thrilling espionage and with this book he has opened a door the the hard-boiled Private Investigator genre. Hardcase is the first book in a series of books, about the former PI Joe Kurtz. I can's speak for the next two books, but this one works and Simmons does seem to be a master of all trades.