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max_payne
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Hard Case. Best of the Best.

What book takes the cake?

I would have to say that one of the books that really stood out to me was TWO FOR THE MONEY by MAX A. COLLINS.

Action packed...and it could have ended half way through the book but it just kept taking turns. Nolan. Ha...Nolan is the KING, definetly the baddest crook on the label (IMO).

Grifters Game....What an ending, eh??

Lawrence Block.
Seriously...Why is Lawrence Block the man??

I want to meet Keller and Bernie in a bar.
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Lord_Jim
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-03-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Not to sound too effusive, but Grifter's Game was so good I could hardly believe it. It's still one of the most beautifully-engineered crime novels I've read. And it turned me on to Lawrence Block, so I'm forever in its (and Charles') debt.
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CharlesArdai
Posts: 264
Registered: ‎09-05-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

I certainly appreciate your launching this thread, guys -- and for obvious reasons it probably wouldn't be right for me to weigh in with my own favorites (how do you choose among your children?). But I will mention that it's not an accident that Max Allan Collins' TWO FOR THE MONEY "could have ended halfway through the book" -- the two halves of that book were originally published as separate novels, BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY. They told a single continuing story, and the first novel ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, but they were separate books once upon a time...

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
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max_payne
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.



CharlesArdai wrote:
I certainly appreciate your launching this thread, guys -- and for obvious reasons it probably wouldn't be right for me to weigh in with my own favorites (how do you choose among your children?). But I will mention that it's not an accident that Max Allan Collins' TWO FOR THE MONEY "could have ended halfway through the book" -- the two halves of that book were originally published as separate novels, BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY. They told a single continuing story, and the first novel ended with a bit of a cliffhanger, but they were separate books once upon a time...

--Charles




Ha! That explains it. TWO FOR THE MONEY is a perfect CRIME novel. Nolan should hook up with ms. Tree.

Grifters Game??? Whoa. I love the cover of that book too. Its probably my favorite cover of all the HCC books I own. That got me hooked to Mr. Block....Thanks to Hard Case Crime for that. I cant stop buying his books!!!
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max_payne
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Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

I bet Lawrence Block could hold a couple of the top positions if one were to rank the Hard Case collection.
The man has got skillz. He also has versatility in his writing...he could give you a hard core noir (GRIFTERS GAME) or a modern almost sophisticated novel (Hit Man series/Bernie) or also a classic PI story with toughness and shock (Mathew Scudder).

I cant say enough about Lawrence Block. I am on a mission to read every novel he ever wrote. Has anyone read ALL his work?? Any hardcore fans in here???

Would love to know the top 10 Block novels....at least in your opinion.
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buddy
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎12-17-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

I am very curious what people will say the best is.

I just started reading the hard case series and think it's great. I started with "The Gutter and the Grave" by Ed McBain and was blown away. After 50 + of the 87th precinct novels its fun to remember the other stuff he does.

That said I read "Slide" and "Dead Street" and was a little underwhelmed. "Slide" was very funny but the two stories didn;t seem to have much of plot and then felt jammed together to make an ending. I was never a fan of Spillane but I know that I am in the minority there and recognize that a series like this does owe a debt to him. I thought the book picked up the end but found out that it was where Max Collins took over so I can say that it a least sparked an interest in him.

However, with my last shipment there was a year end sale and manged to get five Hard Casr books for $5! Waiting for me after work at the post office is "361", "The Girl with the long Green Heart", "Branded Woman", Dutch Uncle", and "Top of the Heap".

Any advice on where to start?
Contributor
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-04-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Flying home from New York City to San Francisco two weeks ago, I picked up Robert Terrall's KILL NOW, PAY LATER for the trip. I would bet this isn't one of the best HCC books out there, but I enjoyed it tremendously. The narrative was clean and snappy. The characters, even the bad ones, were fun. It was a nice way to spend a five-hour plane ride. Even now, when I see it on my bookshelf, it makes me smile.

Meanwhile, I just finished reading LITTLE GIRL LOST/SONGS OF INNOCENCE back to back. More comment on these two books later...
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max_payne
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

THE GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART!!!

Start there. Lawrence Block again. This one is a MUST read. Crooked Con's, man; You never can tell who is getting Con'd when there is more then one Con man.

This one will have you guessing the whole way through.

I too started with THE GUTTER AND THE GRAVE....I thought it was a good read. Though it wasnt really my cup of tea, due to the fact that we are living through the detectives POV instead of the criminals.

I like being the criminal. Living their life...following their dialougue.

Damn I love these books!!!
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CharlesArdai
Posts: 264
Registered: ‎09-05-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

> Waiting for me after work at the post
> office is "361", "The Girl with the
> long Green Heart", "Branded Woman",
> "Dutch Uncle", and "Top of the Heap".

You won't go wrong with any of them, but I'll mention that BRANDED WOMAN is a particular personal favorite. It's one of two titles on our list that was responsible for my wanting to launch Hard Case Crime in the first place, to bring back great books from the 1950s that no one but hard-core collectors knew about. (The other was Charles Williams' A TOUCH OF DEATH.)

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

One of my personal favorites, and one you should pick up Max (if you haven't already), is Max Allan Collins' The Last Quarry.

Quarry puts the killer in the term "Killer for Hire". He's one bad dude with a sort of twisted moral code to boot. I believe there's some plans for more Quarry in the Hard Case future. Right, Charles?




max_payne wrote:
What book takes the cake?

I would have to say that one of the books that really stood out to me was TWO FOR THE MONEY by MAX A. COLLINS.

Action packed...and it could have ended half way through the book but it just kept taking turns. Nolan. Ha...Nolan is the KING, definetly the baddest crook on the label (IMO).

Grifters Game....What an ending, eh??

Lawrence Block.
Seriously...Why is Lawrence Block the man??

I want to meet Keller and Bernie in a bar.


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max_payne
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Yep. Last Quarry was an excellent title. That was one of the 1st 3 books I read on the HCC label.
I think there are other books with his character...From Collins.

I havent read A DIET OF TREACLE yet. The only L.Block title on the label I havent grabbed up yet.

Anyone have a go at A DIET OF TREACLE??

Your take on it?
Author
CharlesArdai
Posts: 264
Registered: ‎09-05-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Yep, we do have more Quarry on the way -- Max is working as we speak on THE FIRST QUARRY, a prequel to THE LAST QUARRY...

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
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buddy
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎12-17-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Well I started off with "361" as I love Westlake's stuff too much to resist it.

Charles, I know you've dropped little tidbits about other books on this thread. Anything about "361"? How did you first hear about the book?
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max_payne
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Actually Charles...What Was the 1st book you chose for your new label? What Authors were contacted early for your Crime book production.

What was the 1st book you read that made YOU a criminal?

I know mine was actually CRIMINAL (comic) from Brubaker. I started there and have ventured to all kinds of paper backs. Starting with Hard Case of course. Now I think I own 12 or 13 of your books. Also about 10 50's & 60's beat to hell paperbacks I picked up at Powells Books here in Oregon.

If anyone ever visits Oregon...GO TO POWELLS! Its a whole city block of nothing but books...largest independent book store in the country!! They got all the goods....especially old crime stuff.
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CharlesArdai
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

> Charles, I know you've dropped little
> tidbits about other books on this thread.
> Anything about "361"? How did you first
> hear about the book?

Lawrence Block mentioned it in an essay he wrote about Westlake for an Edgar-winning collection of biographical and critical essays about crime writers. (As it happens, I wrote the essay about Block for the same collection. But that's neither here nor there.)

In the essay, Block wrote that 361 was his favorite book from Westlake's early hard-boiled period, and that was a strong enough recommendation to make me want to track down a copy and read it.

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
Author
CharlesArdai
Posts: 264
Registered: ‎09-05-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

> What Was the 1st book you chose for your
> new label? What Authors were contacted
> early for your Crime book production.

Max Phillips was the first author I told about the idea for Hard Case Crime. But if you leave Max off the list, I believe the first authors I contacted were Lawrence Block (who wrote our first reprint, GRIFTER'S GAME) and Domenic Stansberry (who wrote THE CONFESSION, the first original novel for the line that wasn't written by one of me or Max).

GRIFTER'S GAME was the first book we published; whether it was the first book I *chose* I can't remember, but I think it probably was.


> What was the 1st book you read that made
> YOU a criminal?

Not sure exactly what you're asking here. I won't say I've never broken any law (I've jaywalked, certainly), but I don't think I can blame any crime novel for turning me into a criminal. Although Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr sure did make it sound like fun to be a burglar.

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
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max_payne
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Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.



CharlesArdai wrote:
> Not sure exactly what you're asking here. I won't say I've never broken any law (I've jaywalked, certainly), but I don't think I can blame any crime novel for turning me into a criminal. Although Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr sure did make it sound like fun to be a burglar.

--Charles




I am using the term "Criminal"....as in Crime lover. Not REAL crime. Literature. Brubakers CRIMINAL pointed me in this direction. I never knew I was a crime lover. Now I cant get enough of it.

Buy the way...I am reading BLOCKS: A DANCE AT THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE (Matthew Scudder) right now & cant put the sucker down.
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buddy
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Registered: ‎12-17-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

The books that hooked me on crime fiction were Gregory Macdonald's Fletch series. I read them as a teenager because I liked the movie but I thought they were about a hundred times more clever. Anyway, I don't know how much respect they get but I thought they were great (but the books you read a teenager always seem the best.) All the dialouge seemed really cool at the time.

I finished "361" and loved it. I would love to read Block's essay on it (as well as Charle's essay on Block) What book did you say that was in?
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CharlesArdai
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Registered: ‎09-05-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

It's in a two-volume hardcover collection called MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE WRITERS, published by Scribners.

--Charles


Learn more about Songs of Innocence.
Visit www.HardCaseCrime.com.
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max_payne
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎12-08-2007
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Re: Hard Case. Best of the Best.

Well...We have had a lot of suggestions as to what Hard Case book takes the cake.

I will go out on a limb and say (after some thought) that the best (IMO) book is GRIFTERS GAME.

TWO FOR THE MONEY a close 2nd.

THE LAST QUARRY is up there as well is GIRL WITH THE LONG GREEN HEART.

2 M.A.C's
2 L.B.'s

Those are my top 4...I think.
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