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Cases Paperback – August 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446677930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446677936
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,514,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Joe Gores, who has won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award three times in his long career, says about his latest book, "In Cases I have tried to mix fact and fiction so thoroughly that nobody--not even myself--can now untangle them." No wonder this wide-ranging saga of a young man's entry into the life of a San Francisco private detective has a fragmented, often familiar feel to it. Bits of real life and enhanced memory seem to have become mixed up with the many films noir that Pierce Duncan enjoys on his journey from Notre Dame to Baghdad by the Bay.

There's the Georgia chain-gang movie, where convicts murder a cruel guard; the Las Vegas crime-and-boxing movie, where an honest pug dies rather than throwing a fight; the Los Angeles religious cult movie, where a young man finds love among the loonies. And finally, there's the movie that Gores has been acting out, and writing down so well, for most of his professional life: the San Francisco private-eye film: part homage to Hammett, but mostly his own richly detailed vision of the world of skip-tracers, hired guns, sexy dames named April and Sherry, and corruptible gumshoes like the memorable Drinker Cope.

Cases may be a less-than-perfect novel, but it's definitely a valuable addition to our knowledge of Gores. It reads best as the source of local color for his greatest hits--from Hammett and Dead Skip to the more recent Menaced Assassin and Contract Null & Void. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"In Cases I have tried to mix fact and fiction so thoroughly that nobody?not even myself?can now entangle them," writes three-time Edgar winner Gores in an author's note to this intermittently gripping, semiautobiographical saga of a young man's entry into the life of a San Francisco PI. The entanglement is part of the problem: on his journey from Notre Dame to Baghdad by the Bay, bits of real life and enhanced memory seem to have become mixed up with the many films noir that Pierce Duncan enjoys. There's the Georgia chain gang movie, in which convicts murder a cruel guard; the Las Vegas crime and boxing movie, in which an honest pug dies rather than throw a fight; the Los Angeles religious cult movie, in which a young man finds love in a cloud of cuckoos. And, finally, there's the movie that Gores (who has worked as a PI) has been acting out, and writing down so well, for most of his professional life: the San Francisco PI film?part homage to Hammett, but mostly his own richly detailed vision of the world of skip-tracers, hired guns, sexy dames named April and Sherry and corruptible gumshoes like the memorable Drinker Cope. Gores is a master of noir fiction, an exuberant practitioner of staccato prose deepened by occasional moral reflection. This novel, while rich in atmospheric pleasures and sharp character sketches, is less meaty with plot. It reads best as the source of local color for such Gores classics as Dead Skip. Agents, Henry Morrison and Danny Baror.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is basically a pretty flimsy excuse to remember being young and strong and smart and free as a bird in Las Vegas and San Francisco in 1953, but I loved it. The plot strains credulity, but read it for the atmosphere.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In 1953, Pierce Duncan leaves Notre Dame University to gain inspiration a an author by touring the United States, planning to keep a notebook as a precursor to his career as a writer. Just like Joel McCrea, Pierce finds the underbelly of America. The Georgia police arrest Pierce and place him on a chain gang. On another trek, he meets a killer in Texas. He tangles with a heavyweight in Nevada and finally comes to San Francisco without flowers in his hair.
Instead of writing, Pierce becomes a private investigator working with veteran "Drinker" Cope, who teaches him the business of locating missing persons (especially bail jumpers) and midnight stakeouts. What Pierce has learned from his travels and his association with Drinker is that America is the land of the avarice and the home of the deadly.
CASES is an interesting period piece that seems to revere the under side of the early Eisenhower era. The well-designed story line and the characters, especially Pierce, are intriguing in a retrospective sort of way. Joe Gores pays homage to the 1950's. However, at times his writing seems a bit disjointed, which is not surprising since segments were previously published elsewhere. Still, Mr. Gores shows the talent that has won him an Edgar as he scribes a warm semi-autobiographical private investigatior tale that would have pleased Hammett and Gardner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By andrewb521@aol.com on February 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is hard to put down for a moment, after the first chapter. Joe Gores writing is superb: tight, interesting, intelligent. While containing an abundance of unlikely coincidence at a couple of points, it also pursues each end result of the complex plot to its reasonable climax.
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