Not Quite Parker: Son of Parker? The Joe Kurtz Series by Dan Simmons

Hardcase by Dan SimmonsThe Joe Kurtz series consists of three novels by Dan Simmons, who is likely better known for his award-winning science fiction.

Joe Kurtz is a tough-as-nails (or hard-as-nails, I guess) private eye and this violent series seems to be Simmons’ attempt to write the hardest-boiled crime fiction ever.

The first book, Hard Case, contains this dedication: “This book is for Richard Stark, who sometimes writes under the wussy pseudonym of Donald Westlake…”

The third book, Hard as Nails, contains the following exchange:

“I never knew my father, did you?” said Rigby.

“You know I didn’t,” said Kurtz.

“But you told me once that your mother told you that your father was a professional thief or something.”

Kurtz shrugged. “My mother was a whore. I didn’t see much of her even before the orphanage. Once when she was drunk, she told me that she thought my old man was a thief, some guy with just one name and that not even his own. Not a second-story guy, but a real hardcase who would set up serious jobs with a bunch of other pros and then blow town forever. She said he and she were together for just a week in the late sixties.”

“Must have been preparing for some heist,” said Rigby.

Kurtz smiled. “She said that he never wanted sex except right after a successful job.”

Unfortunately, Dan Simmons has announced that there will be no more Joe Kurtz novels.

The Joe Kurtz series

  • Hardcase (2001)
  • Hard Freeze (2002)
  • Hard as Nails (2003)

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